I am looking for safe ways to purge solvent fumes from a basement workshop. First let me say that I am not spraying solvent based finishes. I'm only trying to deal with the fumes given off by slow evaporation. For example, using mineral spirits on the corner of a rag to clean something. The smell will linger for hours or days, but the concentration is not high enough to be a serious respiratory risk or an explosion risk.

Two things I've considered: Buying or building a "safety lamp", as used by miners in the 19th century. Burning up the solvent vapors safely might be a quick way to solve the issue.

Charcoal based filter combined with a fan to move air across or through the charcoal.


Exhaust fan.

Explosion-proof preferred, but if you're quite sure you don't need that...

If you set up an area as a low-tech fume hood it will be more effective if you can keep the solvent work in that area.

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  • Remember that this will result in drawing in fresh air, at whatever temperature it is outdoors. Consider the effect on climate control. This may affect which finishes you use, at what time of year, and how you apply them. Especially if your heating system is direct vented so it isn't drawing combustion air from the basement. Unfortunately I don't know of a heat-exchange ventilator designed for this use – keshlam Dec 24 '16 at 20:54
  • Sure, ventilation does that whether it's workshop, bathroom or kitchen range hood. It's a tradeoff one makes for effectively removing the things one is ventilating to get rid of. – Ecnerwal Dec 25 '16 at 4:09
  • An exhaust fan is of course one solution. However as keshlam points out it evacuates warm air which is undesirable in my case. – cathode Dec 27 '16 at 21:25

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