De-soldering Fumes & Respiratory Safety

De-soldering an electrical component is sometimes necessary when repairing a computer or correcting a previous bad solder job.

Although additional tools are available and useful techniques are readily shared, it seems many solderers find de-soldering more demanding than soldering. Evidence can be found on youtube, where de-soldering videos garner 30,000 to over 100,000 views each.

Sentry Air's Stainless Steel Solder Sentry SS-100-ST on a workbench.
Sentry Air’s Stainless Steel Solder Sentry on a workbench.

Added ingredients: conformal coating and de-greasers

At Sentry Air, where we think it’s a good day when workers breathe clean air, we’d like to call attention to this: you’re not de-soldering the same board you originally soldered.

The Stainless Steel Solder Sentry SS-100-SS-ST offers up to 80 CFM air volume.

It may look the same; however, final manufacturing processes, such as de-greasing with solvents and the application of conformal coating to protect circuitry from contaminants, may change the composition of the PCB surface.

These products – which may be fluorinated and include solvents and polyurethanes — were not on the component when it was originally soldered.

De-soldering will heat those products and hot air rises. If you are leaning over that component, concentrating on de-soldering, fumes may move into your breathing zone.

We’ve blogged about conformal coating processes in the past to discuss their typical ingredients and associated respiratory hazards.

Don’t let down your guard: protect your breathing zone

We offer several styles of fume extractors that capture solder fumes at the source. They are compact, quiet, energy-efficient and easily moved throughout your workspace. Here are a few:

Three Sentry Air soldering fume extractors: Table Sentry SS-200-TS, Custom Stainless Steel Exhaust Hood, Winged Sentry SS-200-WS.
Left to right: Table Sentry SS-200-TSCustom Stainless Steel Exhaust HoodWinged Sentry SS-200-WS.

Two Sentry Air models for soldering fume extraction: Mounted Sentry Singe SS-200 MSS and a Sky Sentry SS-200-SKY.
 Mounted Sentry Single SS-200-MSS and Sky Sentry SS-200-SKY

As you can see, configurations include benchtop, wall-mounted, hooded enclosures, portable, and floor models. Filtration media include HEPA and/or Activated Carbon and are selected per customer depending on the materials involved in the process. All models shown provide air volume of up to 100 CFM (cubic feet per minute). Additional configurations are also available.

ESD-safe unitsare available for those concerned with electrostatic discharge while working with sensitive electronic equipment.

For a guide on selecting the best solder fume extractor for your application, see Choosing the Appropriate Solder Fume Extractor.

For information on solder fume capture options, give us a call at 1.800.799.4609, email us at sales@sentryair.com, or fill out this online form to have a Sentry Air Systems Applications Specialist contact you to discuss your process.