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How to tell if Your Paint Booth Is Working Right and Things You can Do if it is not

There are a few common reasons why people may think their paint booth is not working properly. The first and most common is that overspray doesn’t seem to be being removed from the paint booth. The other less common reason is that the fan doesn’t seem to be as loud as expected.  It is important to verify if your paint booth is working because if it is not properly working it can create safety concerns as well as problems with overspray getting on things it shouldn’t. There are two primary ways to determine if your paint booth is working properly and ideally you will use both methods for best results.

Method 1 – Use a vaneometer

A Vaneometer like this one provides a visual way to determine the speed which air is moving in a given area. If you have a crossdraft paint booth you can use the vaneometer in the booth with the 0 facing toward the direction air is being pulled from (away from the filters). With a typical cross draft paint booth you should see air moving around 100 feet per minute inside the booth. If you are only using an exhaust chamber you will still see airflow but the speed may be slower as there is no booth around the chamber to channel air effectively. In general, an exhaust chamber will only move air effectively within a few feet of the booth filters.

Method 2 – Use a Wind Checker

While a wind checker like this is often found at sporting goods stores and used for hunting to determine the way wind is blowing it is also a great visual way to see if your paint booth exhaust fan is working well. While the use of a vaneometer is better at determining if the booth is moving air at the speed it should be, a wind checker can help, especially when trying to determine air flow near an exhaust chamber.  If the booth is moving air effectively you will see the wind checker powder drift toward the filter bank, if air is not moving the powder will typically just fall to the floor.

What to do if the booth is not working

If the paint booth is not working at all there are a few places to start.  First, check the disconnect to the power feeding the booth, has it been disconnected?  Next, you can verify the booth power switch is on. After checking the booth power if it is still not running you can turn power off and open the booth control panel. Inside the panel you should check for any fuses that have blown. If none of these are the issue, you can consider talking with the booth provider.

What if I think the booth is not moving air fast enough

If the air flow is significantly less than 100 feet per minute in a crossdraft or approximately 50 feet per minute in a downdraft your booth may not be performing at its best. First, you should ensure there is a way for air to be supplied to the booth.  If you are in a closed off area like a smaller room the booth may not be able to pull sufficient outside air which will cause the fan to not be able to properly exhaust air from the paint booth. If this is the case you can try to open a door and see if the paint booth performs correctly and long term will have to think about how to provide an opening for air to get to the booth. If that is not the issue you should check the status of your tube axial fan blade. If there is excessive overspray that has built up on the fan blade it can significantly reduce paint booth fan performance.To help fix this issue you can clean off the overspray on the paint booth fan blade. If you have a variable pitch pulley you can adjust the fan speed by adjusting the pulley so that the fan belt sits higher in the channel between the pulleys.  If you have an older paint booth fan you can consult with the fan provider to see if the pulley can be made bigger which could help improve performance, though be careful to not oversize the pulley thereby putting to much stress on the paint booth fan motor. Finally, you should always consider changing out the paint booth filters as this will help reduce resistance on the paint booth fan.

By understanding how to check the air flow in your paint booth you can determine if the booth is performing well. You can also use the tips provided to do some basic troubleshooting to potentially see why your booth fan is not working or is not moving air fast enough.

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