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plnelson
02-08-2019, 10:55 PM
My studio is in New England in the US where in winter it routinely gets very cold outside - consistently below freezing and for a couple months of the year often below 0F. On top of that it has 6' casement windows so it's hard to insert a panel with a fan and get a good seal like you can with sash windows. So getting good ventilation in the winter is a challenge.

My painting style involves layers and to maintain fat over lean I usually thin my bottom layer with OMS or Gamsol but as I'm working now with larger canvases I'm concerned about toxic exposure.

Recently I set up a Winix room air cleaner - really for its HEPA filter because I have cats and an allergic GF. But it also has a carbon filter and I noticed recently when I had used some Grumtine (Grumbacher's Limonene solvent) which usually makes the place REEK with orange smell, the Winix air cleaner erased that smell really fast, which I assume was due to its carbon filter.

So is a carbon filter good for OMS solvent toxins, and if so how do I scale it for my studio?

Thanks in advance.

Seaside Artist
02-09-2019, 07:43 AM
Going Solvent Free in your studio is the best solution. This is happening with artist around the world. Those toxins absorb into everything (carpets, walls, curtains, furniture, the cats and GFs. Even when we think we aren't smelling it, it is there. I am currently using Gamblin Solvent Free Gel and Liquid...no odor. I clean my brushes with Walnut oil and then soap and water. Lungs are extremely expensive to replace...we are now up to $5 million, so I personally know. I have been able to use Liquin Lt Gel and detail with no odor when in a rush. Turps, OMS and other toxic painter's materials do not come in the door. I use Williamsburg paints primarily and get ZERO fumes in the room. When a reputable company comes up with an even better solvent free replacement for painting mediums I will choose to change. More artist are complaining of not only feeling physically sick, but also depression. The only systems I have used to filter fumes out were very expensive and primarily purchased by art schools. Wishing you the best with your search.

Pinguino
02-09-2019, 11:54 AM
Activated charcoal, a form of carbon, is the active ingredient in many gas masks. I have used it in large quantity in an industrial setting, to remove volatile organic compounds such as acetone and styrene from the indoor air. Yes, it works. I assume that it is also working in your situation.

Still, better to be solvent-free. Note that the pleasantly scented limonene is bad for you, in sufficient quantity.

plnelson
02-09-2019, 12:13 PM
Going Solvent Free in your studio is the best solution.
How do you thin an underpainting in oils consistent with fat over lean principles without a solvent?

Anyway, back on topic . . .

plnelson
02-09-2019, 12:29 PM
Activated charcoal, a form of carbon, is the active ingredient in many gas masks. I have used it in large quantity in an industrial setting, to remove volatile organic compounds such as acetone and styrene from the indoor air. Yes, it works. I assume that it is also working in your situation.
Yes, I assume that too, which is why I posted the question. But commercial paint studio air cleaners are much more expensive than my Winix so I assume that there's more to this than just running some air through a charcoal filter. If this is going to be part of my safety process then I need some technical detail like how many passes through a filter at what CFM and how often the filter needs to be replaced or how to tell when it needs to be replaced, etc. I assume the charcoal filter wears out faster in a chemically dirty environment like a studio filled with solvent fumes than a clean one, but how do I tell? That's why I posted this to the technical forum.

Still, better to be solvent-free.
I paint in layers and I always do an underpainting. I've tried doing underpaintings in acrylic but in the winter the RH here is <20% so the acrylic dries too fast - literally right before your eyes - I don't work that fast. Oils thinned in OMS or Gamsol stay open long enough for me to complete an underpainting from a study in an evening.

People who advocate thinning paint in oil (walnut or linseed) don't understand the concept of fat over lean.

Richard P
02-09-2019, 01:24 PM
You could try GOLDEN OPEN acrylics which might last long enough for you to do the underpainting with.

The other option is Water Mixable Oil paints with using water as a solvent.

There are pros and cons of both approaches, but you might want to look into them. :)

contumacious
02-09-2019, 01:41 PM
People who advocate thinning paint in oil (walnut or linseed) don't understand the concept of fat over lean.

There is often a bit of confusion about the Fat over Lean rule. Many think that you MUST paint fat over lean, as in you must START with a lean layer. That is not true. You do not have to paint Fat over Lean - painting Fat over Fat is perfectly OK. Lean over Fat is the problem.

Thinning paints with oil is a Fat method. Plain oils out of the tube are already Fat. The ratio of oil to pigment from one tube to another can be significant, depending on the maker and the pigment used, so adding a bit of oil to thin your oils rather than solvent is not going to end up making the mixture too lean for the layer below or too fat for the next layers. Thinning paint with Alkyd Mediums is also a Fat method and can be layered over each other with no concerns RE Fat over Lean. Thinning with solvent is, as most realize, a Lean method and should not be used over fat layers. It can leave the layer underbound and prone to cracking as it cures. One exception to using a lean / solvent thinned layer over a fat layer is if the fat layer is completely cured, but that can take over a year sometimes. Unless you are drenching your paint with gobs oil, if you keep solvents completely out of the equation, you are painting fat over fat for the entire painting and you are good to go.


Straight oil paint over solvent thinned paint = Fat over Lean - OK
Paint thinned with oil or alkyd medium over solvent thinned paint = Fat over Lean - OK
Paint thinned with oil or akyds over paint thinned with oil or alkyds = Fat over Fat - OK
Paint thinned with solvent over paint thinned with oil or alkyds = Lean over Fat - NOT Ok.


You do not EVER need to use solvent in your paintings to follow the Fat over Lean rule.

RomanB
02-09-2019, 01:43 PM
Unfortunately, activated charcoal filters have limited resource and are not very effective. In gas masks they work for about an hour.

Remember, Van Eyck had no turpentine in his time. You can paint without solvents too.

Pinguino
02-09-2019, 02:50 PM
1. If you have a lot of time on your hands and like to read technical works, search the Internet for "activated charcoal adsorption." Note spelling of the word "adsorption."

2. Fat over lean may be over-rated, especially if you paint in very thin layers, and like to use paint straight from the tubes. You can also use a siccative to hasten drying of the initial layers.

3. I firmly recommend that those who live in cold climates with limited ventilation, or who have sensitivity to any paint ingredients, should use something like pencils instead of paint. Problem solved.

plnelson
02-10-2019, 08:10 PM
1. If you have a lot of time on your hands and like to read technical works, search the Internet for "activated charcoal adsorption." Note spelling of the word "adsorption."

2. Fat over lean may be over-rated, especially if you paint in very thin layers, and like to use paint straight from the tubes. You can also use a siccative to hasten drying of the initial layers.

3. I firmly recommend that those who live in cold climates with limited ventilation, or who have sensitivity to any paint ingredients, should use something like pencils instead of paint. Problem solved.
I'm a painter; I don't want to use pencils.

The title of this thread is "Indoor air cleaning for solvents", not "fat over lean" - there are plenty of WC threads about fat over lean.

Art supply houses (e.g., Blick) sell all sorts of air cleaners with activated charcoal to remove VOC's so it appears to be a standard piece of equipment for artists studios, so I posted this question to the WC Technical forum to get actual artists input, feedback, experience, knowledge about "Indoor air cleaning for solvents". If you don't have any knowledge or experience relating to this topic, then just don't respond - don't hijack my thread and change the subject! When you do that you're wasting the time of other WC members who do a subject-search and get a link to this thread, only to discover that it's been hijacked and has nothing to to with the title.

Pinguino
02-10-2019, 11:32 PM
The title of this thread is "Indoor air cleaning for solvents"...don't hijack.... OK. But I note that your OP mention cats and GF (grandfather?) among other things. Wasn't sure where you were at. I missed the part about studio (as opposed to any random room in a house).

I do indeed have industrial experience (just some) involving indoor air cleaning for solvents. But it did not involve art, and was backed up by electronic sensors that measured the hydrocarbon content of air.

Incidentally, the Blick page for air purifiers is here (https://www.dickblick.com/categories/studioenvironment/airpurifiers/details/).

plnelson
02-11-2019, 12:30 AM
OK. But I note that your OP mention cats and GF (grandfather?) among other things. Wasn't sure where you were at. I missed the part about studio (as opposed to any random room in a house).

I do indeed have industrial experience (just some) involving indoor air cleaning for solvents. But it did not involve art, and was backed up by electronic sensors that measured the hydrocarbon content of air.

Incidentally, the Blick page for air purifiers is here (https://www.dickblick.com/categories/studioenvironment/airpurifiers/details/).

Yes, that's where I saw them. But Wet Canvas is the world's largest discussion forum of actual artists so I want to get some real-world experience, knowledge, etc, on products like these. We have some very smart people on the technical forum with degrees in chemistry and members who work full time as artists.

I've retested my Winix and it still knocks down the Grumtine Limonene solvent smell very fast. I'm not sure it's the carbon filter doing it, because it also says it has something called "Plasma Wave" which the literature says is responsible for eliminating the VOCs (what does it do with them?). It also has a VOC sensor which comes on when I soak a paper towel with the Grumtine and it goes off when the smell goes away. But the Winix was about half the price of the units at Blick.

BTW GF = "girlfriend".

(NB I don't actually use the Grumtine much, but because it has a strong smell it made a good proxy to test with since I have no way to test the OMS because it has so little smell)

Harold Roth
02-11-2019, 03:08 AM
I was living over a motorcycle repair shop where the owner was incredibly sloppy about using gasoline and various other solvents when he was cleaning engine parts and the fumes came right up through the floor, sometimes in enough concentration to cause vomiting. So I looked into finding air cleaners that can remove volatilized solvents. They are expensive, anywhere from around $700 to $3K, from what I found, unless I wanted to jerry-rig a carbon block filter like pot-growers use, which as I remember would run at least $300. The kind of air purifier that has carbon sprayed on sheets will not work.

I ended up solving this problem the same way others have recommended you solve your problem--by getting rid of the source. I got that motorcycle shop kicked out. I recommend you do the same with your solvents. Get rid of them. Yes, it is pertinent to your thread. I use fat over fat. It works just fine. I can paint a drawing just fine with oiled up oil paint.

You can use acrylics with a medium called Open that Golden makes and that someone else mentioned above. This will keep them from setting up quickly. I live in New England, as you do, and used it in the past and it works wonderfully.

Sometimes we have to change the way we paint. It's not the end of the world.

Kelvin
02-11-2019, 09:36 AM
Here is an excerpt from https://www.airenhancing.com/winix-air-purifier-review/#What_is_WINIX_PlasmaWave_Technology

What is WINIX PlasmaWave® Technology?

It is a relatively new electric oxidizing system using plasma ionizers. Developed by Mitsubishi and Sharp Electronics. Winix adopted the technology and created it’s unique version called PlasmaWave.

Explaining how plasma technology works gets technical and requires more than a few words.

If you skipped the technicals, that’s ok. But be aware of the concerns about the impact of the technology on your health.

Which after all is why you’re looking at an air purifier in the first place.

The concerns relate to whether ozone is produced by PlasmaWave in enough quantity to harm you.

Ozone is an oxidant. Long-term exposure to it increases the risk of death from respiratory illness. An air purifier operating at extremely high voltages can create ozone.

But the PlasmaWave operates at low voltages. It uses the corona discharge method in its operation and produces some ozone. It’s hard to know how much. Presumably, it comes under EPA recommendation levels. Otherwise, we’d have a lawsuit in the works, and I’ve not heard of any.

It does produce oxidants known as “hydroxyls” that eliminate pollutants. Unlike ozone which takes a long time to decay, Winix plasma-ions don’t last long and disappear as soon as the power is off.

If this leaves you concerned about ozone or oxidant levels, the best approach is to follow what reviewers have said they do. Turn the PlasmaWave on only when the room is empty. When you want to clean the air before occupying the room.

This approach may also help address the noise that occurs when the PlasmaWave is operating.

Harold Roth
02-11-2019, 02:20 PM
If this leaves you concerned about ozone or oxidant levels, the best approach is to follow what reviewers have said they do. Turn the PlasmaWave on only when the room is empty. When you want to clean the air before occupying the room.
When I worked in hotels, they would use an ozone generator to clean the air in a room that had been stunk up, but no one was to go work in the room with the thing on.

That said, ozone generators do not decrease the amount of volatiles in the air:
"In tests by Chen et al. [45], the concentration of only one of 16 volatile organic compounds was substantially decreased by operation of three air cleaners emitting substantial ozone. Also, the chemical reactions driven by the increased ozone concentrations are a source of potentially harmful pollutants [37, 41]."
https://iaqscience.lbl.gov/air-ozone

plnelson
02-11-2019, 04:37 PM
I ended up solving this problem the same way others have recommended you solve your problem--by getting rid of the source. I got that motorcycle shop kicked out. I recommend you do the same with your solvents. Get rid of them. Yes, it is pertinent to your thread. I use fat over fat. It works just fine. I can paint a drawing just fine with oiled up oil paint.

You can use acrylics with a medium called Open that Golden makes and that someone else mentioned above. This will keep them from setting up quickly. I live in New England, as you do, and used it in the past and it works wonderfully.

Sometimes we have to change the way we paint. It's not the end of the world.
I don't like acrylics because they dry to a different color than when they're wet, which makes smooth blending of tones on a painting done over many weeks too hard.

This thread is about indoor air cleaners and solvents used by artists. If you have no knowledge or experience to contribute to indoor air cleaning for solvents please stop hijacking my thread.

plnelson
02-11-2019, 05:03 PM
When I worked in hotels, they would use an ozone generator to clean the air in a room that had been stunk up, but no one was to go work in the room with the thing on.

That said, ozone generators do not decrease the amount of volatiles in the air:
"In tests by Chen et al. [45], the concentration of only one of 16 volatile organic compounds was substantially decreased by operation of three air cleaners emitting substantial ozone. Also, the chemical reactions driven by the increased ozone concentrations are a source of potentially harmful pollutants [37, 41]."
https://iaqscience.lbl.gov/air-ozone
California's tests of my Winix found ozone emission to be negligible. (https://www.arb.ca.gov/research//indoor/aircleaners/certified.htm) I have no idea whether it was the carbon filter or the "plasma wave" that got rid of the limonene smell but whatever it was it seemed to work well, which suggests that an indoor filter/cleaner might be useful. Since some artists DO use solvents and some artists DO use indoor filters/cleaners (as evidenced by Blick selling them) I want to hear from artists who have some actual experience on this topic. The rest of you can paint a sign (in acrylics with a window open) warning us that the end is near and go walk around a city sidewalk.

I've asked the moderators to delete this whole thread because so far everyone who has responded to it has no actual experience with the subject, and just posted to proselytize about the dangers of solvents or ozones.

Harold Roth
02-11-2019, 07:19 PM
This is not the customer service department at Amazon, pinelson. This is a forum composed of artists with their own experiences and knowledge about various topics. The dangers of ozone and solvents are pertinent to your question. It seems what you want is for people here to tell you that your air purifier is just fine and will keep you from being exposed to anything. Well, just go ahead and use it and don't ask for people's opinions then. Sheesh.

Pinguino
02-11-2019, 08:36 PM
This is not the customer service department at Amazon, pinelson. This is a forum composed of artists with their own experiences and knowledge about various topics. ...
Well put. This may be called the "Technical Forum" but even those of us with advanced science degrees would not necessarily know much about any particular product, unless we are using that actual product. But that was really the original question, wasn't it?

Anyway, I read through the tech brochures on a couple of those products. It seems that the plasma wave isn't primarily generating Ozone. Instead, it is generating OH- radicals and some other stuff. These radicals react with VOCs, breaking them into innocuous gases such as CO2, and pieces which in turn can combine with other pieces to form larger molecules. The resulting larger molecules are trapped by materials such as zeolites (not necessarily carbon). Something like that should work just fine.

A good model will also have a detector for the quantity of VOCs in the air. Don't know the technology used in these units, but one method in industry is to put the air through a chamber that has appropriate radiation in the far infrared region, which will be selectively absorbed by certain organic bonds. Then it's a matter of measuring the absorption.

The point is that if the technology is well-made by a reputable manufacturer, it should work. It's not wishful thinking. Whether, in your instance, you can circulate the air through the filter with sufficient frequency, is another issue. Your face is next to the canvas, whereas the filter is somewhere else in the room. In industrial applications known to me from years ago, workers did not have their faces adjacent to VOC-producing materials; in fact, the filter was between the VOC source and the humans.

stapeliad
02-12-2019, 07:22 AM
I've asked the moderators to delete this whole thread because so far everyone who has responded to it has no actual experience with the subject, and just posted to proselytize about the dangers of solvents or ozones.


I did not receive a message from you? :confused:

In any case, there are SO MANY oil painters in New England (and other cold places around the world) who are working year-round. I dont know anything about air purifiers for solvents. You should contact the manufacturer of the air purifier for specific info. Or go solvent-free. Or work small and use gamsol which evaporates very slowly and is the safest solvent available. Use a respirator if you want, they are around $30 on amazon.

Raffless
02-12-2019, 11:11 AM
My studio is in New England in the US where in winter it routinely gets very cold outside - consistently below freezing and for a couple months of the year often below 0F. On top of that it has 6' casement windows so it's hard to insert a panel with a fan and get a good seal like you can with sash windows. So getting good ventilation in the winter is a challenge.

My painting style involves layers and to maintain fat over lean I usually thin my bottom layer with OMS or Gamsol but as I'm working now with larger canvases I'm concerned about toxic exposure.

Recently I set up a Winix room air cleaner - really for its HEPA filter because I have cats and an allergic GF. But it also has a carbon filter and I noticed recently when I had used some Grumtine (Grumbacher's Limonene solvent) which usually makes the place REEK with orange smell, the Winix air cleaner erased that smell really fast, which I assume was due to its carbon filter.

So is a carbon filter good for OMS solvent toxins, and if so how do I scale it for my studio?

Thanks in advance.


Could you use a combination of a powerful air conditioner and the Winix. That way you extract everything. You only need one tube between the two. More power for your upscaling. You can make a DIY sash window kit to seal in winter. Just use the Winix for an hour then a quick 5 min blast with the air conditioner.