Since the EPA’s Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule regarding lead-paint dust and debris went into effect in 2010, remodelers, installers, and painters working in houses built before 1978 have been in need of HEPA vacs that meet the requirements of the rule. In the latest issue of Tools of the Trade, Michael Springer tests six models, evaluating them for their worthiness on RRP sites, as well as how they might fare for everyday job-site cleanup.
He ran the vacs through a battery of tests devised to evaluate strengths and weaknesses, including their ability to pick up silica dust.
Concern for the safe pickup of dust containing crystalline silica from drilling and grinding concrete has also pushed the development of these jobsite vacs. With OSHA regulations requiring more-stringent exposure limits for crystalline silica currently in the works, HEPA filtration vacs like the ones in this test may soon be required for jobs involving concrete and masonry. As wet/dry vacs, each of these units can be used for dry dust extraction through a tool shroud, or for collecting the slurry created when working wet. There are even special slurry filter bags that contain the muddy particles for disposal, but allow the bulk of the water to be drained from the vac’s canister.