When to change welding helmet filters and consumables

Blackwoods

Friday, 22 April, 2022


When to change welding helmet filters and consumables

No two welders are the same — but, every welder needs a welding helmet. And every welding helmet needs to be properly maintained to perform at its peak.

Here are the recommended change frequencies for PAPR filters and core spare parts for a 3M Speedglas welding helmet.

It is worth noting that the recommendations provided here are based on a minimum of four hours’ usage per day.

PAPR Filters

Pre-filter

It is recommended that a pre-filter be changed once or twice a week, as this will have a direct knock-on effect on the other components of the Adflo system. Most notably, regular turnover of the pre-filter will lessen the workload of the particle filter, saving money and helping to extend the Adflo PAPR battery life. This in turn will ensure the wearer receives the best possible value for money in the long run.

Particle filter

As soon as the indicator on the filter turns red, it is time to source a replacement. Alternatively, the wearer may need to swap out for a fresh filter when the battery operating time becomes too short, or when the low airflow alarm is triggered by a fully loaded filter. It is most likely that the wearer will need to change their particle filter monthly at the very least.

Gas filter

The rate at which a gas filter needs to be replaced will be dictated by regulations at the wearer’s workplace. Please note that smell and taste are not recommended as a measure of change.

Odour filter

At the risk of stating the obvious, the minute an unpleasant odour can be detected is the minute that an odour filter needs changing. When it is time to change, it is also possible to purchase an odour filter replacement pad instead of a whole new filter, saving the wearer on costs.

Consumables

Outer cover lens

As the helmet’s first line of defence, it is inevitable that the outside cover lens will accumulate scratches and spatter during the course of its working life. As such, the wearer should look to change it out whenever the lens becomes deeply scratched or too dirty to clean with a soft cloth. This will most likely be necessary once or twice a week, though this does of course depend on the conditions under which welding is taking place.

If the wearer is working in particularly extreme conditions and finds that the standard lens is constantly needing to be replaced, they may consider upgrading to either the scratch-resistant or high-temperature lenses. Built to withstand harsher environments, these should provide more longevity for heavy-duty welding applications.

Inner cover lens

The inside cover lens should require less turnover, provided it is looked after and regularly cleaned. Typically, it should only need to be replaced once a month, though again this will vary from welder to welder. Put simply, the lens should be replaced whenever it incurs damage or when visibility starts to decrease. It is worth noting that the wearer should never weld without the inside cover lens inserted, as it protects the auto-darkening lens from any dust, sweat or particulates that may cause damage.

Grinding visor plate

A flip-front welding helmet is designed to provide uninterrupted, clear viewing while the wearer grinds. Grinding sparks and particles can cause damage to the grinding visor and impact its clarity, so it is a good idea to replace this every two weeks, or more often in the event that visibility is reduced.

Sweatband

The sweatband inside the helmet can make all the difference, so be sure to put in a fresh one when things start to drift into unhygienic territory. The wearer should be making this switch at least once a month, or more regularly depending on the nature of the work and surrounding environment. For people who sweat more than most, they will need to swallow their pride and stock up accordingly.

Face seal

For welders using a Speedglas respiratory welding helmet, this is another item where replacement is largely tied to hygiene. While the recommendation is to replace the face seal every two months, this may need to be done more often — particularly for those working in an especially dirty environment.

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