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  • garage ventilation

    Hey, I could use some advice. I live in Alaska and want to weld in my garage through the winter. The garage isn’t a designated welding area so I’d like go keep it as smoke free as possible. What is my best option? Should I just slightly open the garage door? Or is there some other better option, so I could keep it warmer while I’m working.

  • #2
    Depends on how much cross-ventilation you get with the doors/windows cracked/open. It also depends greatly on what welding process you are using. Flux-cored wire or stick welding will make a lot more smoke than MIG and TIG.

    You're just gonna have to learn the hard way how much ventilation you need and how to stay warm while getting it.

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    • #3
      Not Alaska but what I do is wait until it gets really smokey, then open the garage door all the way for a few minutes to clear it out and then start again. Not the best way I can tell you that. I think the best way would be an exhaust fan mounted directly above where you are working piped to the outside. Any smoke would get sucked in there with the least chance of floating around the shop. Kind of like a range hood on your stove. Second best would be an exhaust fan in the wall somewhere, that seems to be most common in shops I have been to. Many years ago when I worked in a fab shop we were given two hanging electro static smoke eaters, pretty big units. We installed them and they clogged up quickly. After a few cleanings we never used them again, to much hassle. We went back to our old stand by which was a barn fan sitting in the doorway that we would turn on once in a while.
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      • #4
        If you have the budget and the space, your best option is a commercially available welding fume extractor. Since they’re quite expensive, it’s generally out of reach for small shops. You could build a smaller version of one using a squirrel cage fan and some flexible duct work then just exhaust it out through the wall. I’ve considered making one over my welding bench, but the winters here are probably warmer than your summers.

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        • #5
          Your best option is to eliminate all electric welding that requires flux. Not sure what you plan on welding but without more info TIG welding any clean material is a good option.

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          • #6
            I've contemplated a DIY fume extractor using large carbon filters. They're cheap or free around here, and often come with attached inline fans. Just need to rig up an adjustable arm on the inlet...

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            • #7
              There’s no keeping the heat in in winter and removing the smoke unless you get a commercial air filtration unit installed. That isn’t going to be cheap.
              Why not weld outside?
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              • #8
                Holding your breath is cheaper.

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                • #9
                  I just installed a DIY setup in my garage. I'm in MA and don't want to lose my heat every time I weld so I popped out a window pane, inserted a piece of plywood, and installed an iLiving shuttered 900 CFM exhaust fan from Home Depot. I attached a 10" round HVAC duct behind it with a 25' hose from Amazon clamped on. Then I attached a pet recovery cone from Amazon to the other end and strapped the hose to the ceiling with bungie cords and can move it anywhere I need it in my 2 car garage. The whole thing cost me about $180 and it works great.

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                  • #10
                    Thanks guys, I’ll see what I can make. I definitely can’t afford a real fume extractor lol. And @snoeproe I don’t weld outside because during the winter it’s between like 10 degrees and negative 20 Fahrenheit, so it’s pretty miserable to weld in.

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                    • #11
                      Holding my breathe....That’s what I do and look at me, I’m perfectly normal.

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                      • #12
                        Not to beat a dead horse, but here are some pics of the setup I described. Good luck.

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                        Attached Files

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                        • #13
                          I do the same as cdub67, except I use a harbor freight ventilator with an 8 ft. piece of flexible ducting. Living in Arizona, I don't have to worry about cold temps, so I just open the back door to the garage and set the ventilator on the door step. Works well.

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                          • #14
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                            Some photos which may help.
                            I would be careful to use alum flex hose to minimize fire risk and keep a spray bottle of water handy.
                            Only takes one spark.
                            Attached Files
                            Miller Dynasty 350, Dynasty 210 DX, Hypertherm 1000, Thermal Arc GTSW400, Airco Heliwelder II, oxy-fuel setup, metal cutting bandsaw, air compressor, drill press, large first aid kit, etc.

                            Call me the "Clouseau" of welding !

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                            • #15
                              Awesome, thanks for all the advice, and thanks for the pictures @CDUB67. I’ve decided to do a similar thing to what you showed. I’m just using a inline duct fan with flex hose leading to my welding area and the another flex hose running out the door. It was the most affordable thing I could find, and it seems to do the trick.

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