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Thread: Free-standing dust attractors/filters any good?

  1. #1

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    Free-standing dust attractors/filters any good?

    Luckily I haven’t ever had out-of-the-ordinary dust problems, but if there is anything that can potentially cut down dust it certainly couldn’t hurt. Those floor/free-standing devices of various types (electrostatic etc.) that supposedly capture some airborne dust:

    1. Do they work at all or are they just junk? and/or…
    2. Maybe some of them work but you have to constantly buy replacement filters? and/or…
    3. In addition to one in the darkroom do you basically need to commit to having them everywhere?

    Anyway you get idea. Worth looking into at all?

    Note: I’m not about to tear my place apart and turn it into a clean room with a custom lab HEPA HVAC system and suit up before entering a-la-Drew W.

  2. #2
    jp's Avatar
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    Re: Free-standing dust attractors/filters any good?

    I have a <$100 hepa (some would argue it's not truly hepa, but whatever...) air cleaner on my darkroom floor. It's basically a fan and hepa filter. I keep it on low and have only changed the filter once after a few years. Once clean I doubt the filter adds much dirt. Since the room has no air change when not occupied, the room stays clean and the filter does not get dirtier.

    It keeps the air free of dust. I can develop/dry/print/scan and load film holders without dust problems. The darkroom door stays closed when I'm not in there to keep the cat out. The rest of the house is unsuited to handling negatives in comparison. I gladly recommend such things.

    If your darkroom has any sort of forced air flow, do put a filter on that too.

    I used to have an electrostatic one at work and the theory was that you need not change filters. It was quieter, but it made some ozone which would not be good for confined places like a darkroom.

  3. #3
    Moderator
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    Re: Free-standing dust attractors/filters any good?

    Consumer Reports has tested air purifiers. Although the product ratings are reserved for subscribers, the overview with general guidance is outside the paywall:

    https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/...uide/index.htm

  4. #4

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    Re: Free-standing dust attractors/filters any good?

    Mine electrostatic burns the dust, the static keeps the burnt stuff + other smaller stuff. Needs a good rinse from time to time. But more importantly is to choose the clothing well and keep the humidity high enough and even clean every spring

    Sent fra min SM-G975F via Tapatalk

  5. #5

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    Re: Free-standing dust attractors/filters any good?

    I use a Germ Guardian AC4-100 in my darkroom, which is an upstairs room, roughly 12x12x8. It includes a UV bulb as well as HEPA. I use it to filter and simply to circulate air, as some corners occasionally grow mildew in the summer (not central AC). I run it sometimes while using the room and sometimes otherwise. It does help keep down the dust, etc., requiring only infrequent wiping-down of surfaces. I use a strip of soft material at the door bottom to help keep out dust as well.
    Philip Ulanowsky

    Sine scientia ars nihil est. (Without science/knowledge, art is nothing.)
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/156933346@N07/

  6. #6

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    Re: Free-standing dust attractors/filters any good?

    Thanks everyone so far for the detailed experiences. I must say this seems more encouraging than I expected Seems I should really look into this some more.

  7. #7
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Free-standing dust attractors/filters any good?

    In my Civil War cabin I use Merv 16 , changing huge filter once a year

    I never open my windows, but have a very leaky home, which I prefer

    I run a big humidifier inside my darkroom in that house all winter, it drinks 5 treated gallons a day

    My 'LEEDS' no fresh air Chicago condo, I had to punch drywall holes to access the roof and ran roof humified all winter

    Still had dust, so I used a 5 filter canister filter, $1000 per filter change

    Best in World IQAir

    After 5 years, it cured my factory cough

    Then I gave it to my daughter to use in their moldy basement

    Really glad I made money on the ART COOP disaster

  8. #8

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    Re: Free-standing dust attractors/filters any good?

    IQAir seems like overkill for my application. I’m just interested in reducing the amount of visible dust strictly for photographic purposes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tin Can View Post
    In my Civil War cabin I use Merv 16 , changing huge filter once a year

    I never open my windows, but have a very leaky home, which I prefer

    I run a big humidifier inside my darkroom in that house all winter, it drinks 5 treated gallons a day

    My 'LEEDS' no fresh air Chicago condo, I had to punch drywall holes to access the roof and ran roof humified all winter

    Still had dust, so I used a 5 filter canister filter, $1000 per filter change

    Best in World IQAir

    After 5 years, it cured my factory cough

    Then I gave it to my daughter to use in their moldy basement

    Really glad I made money on the ART COOP disaster

  9. #9
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Free-standing dust attractors/filters any good?

    I have a big old industrial air cleaner containing a bank of many sheets of copper, which would be very expensive to make nowadays. It was salvaged from a sound studio where musicians were typically smoking, and once dissembled, all that old nicotine grime was easily pressure-hosed off. It's distinctly more effective than these new filter type canisters, and never needs replacement filters because it works on an entirely different principle, electrostatically attracting particles, then removing that electrostatic charge from the outgoing air. I also have a miniature cleaner I loaned to my wife for her office desk, but now back in one of my other darkrooms if needed, which does need to have its charcoal element periodically replaced. And hypothetically, I could just borrow one of my true hepa vacuums from the shop or print mounting room if needed. I sold thousands of those over the years, mainly Fein and Festool, including to regional museum display workspaces where extreme dust control is mandatory. And yes, they're expensive; but the replacement filters aren't so bad, and they run quiet. Don't confuse these with so-called ordinary hepa vacs; these are true sealed 2-stage devices and officially EPA certified.

  10. #10

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    Re: Free-standing dust attractors/filters any good?

    I have used the same negative ion generator for at least 30 years. My dust problems are minimal.

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