6 Soldering Safety Tips to Follow
From repairing home appliances to creating custom cables and working on circuit boards, there are all kinds of applications in which soldering plays a crucial role. Whether you are a soldering expert or this is your first time soldering circuit boards, it is always a good idea to ensure that you are up to date on the latest standards for soldering safety practices.
In fact, there are a variety of potential health hazards stemming from soldering and the materials used in this practice. Fortunately, you can avoid being negatively impacted by these hazards if you follow proper safety measures whenever you need to solder something.
The Best Practices to Follow While Soldering
Beyond the skill, patience, and expertise that soldering demands, it is also important to have an adequate understanding of safety measures when you are about to take on a soldering project.
While some soldering safety practices may be obvious, others may not immediately stand out. Regardless, the more that you know about soldering safety, the better off you will be.
The following are some of the most helpful tips to keep in mind to stay safe while soldering:
1. Always clean, clear, and dry your workspace
When you are soldering something, any distraction could also be a potential safety risk, which is why it is crucial to always keep your workspace clean and clear of unnecessary objects. Any such objects that are occupying your workspace can also become fire hazards since you are working with heat.
As your soldering iron is powered by electricity, you should also ensure that your workspace is always dry and that there is no potential for liquid spills, as this could lead to equipment malfunction or even electric shocks.
2. Maintain a clean soldering iron
Believe it or not, not only will a dirty soldering iron perform to a lesser degree than one that is clean, but it could also become a fire hazard. Thus, keeping your soldering iron as clean as possible is necessary for your safety.
Before turning on your soldering iron, you should remove any debris that has collected on it with a clean cloth and some rubbing alcohol. When your soldering iron is still hot, you can also clean it with a wet sponge or some metal wool. Additionally, you should always dip the tip in some new solder after such a cleaning to avoid oxidation.
3. Keep your hands away from the soldering component
When you are hyper-focused on your task, it can be easy to lose focus on other things, such as where your hands are. Therefore, when working with a soldering iron, you should always be extra careful not to touch the soldering component.
When it is in use, the tip of your soldering iron can reach temperatures that are up to 400 ℃ (752 ℉), which means you could get a severe burn if it touches your hand or any other part of your body.
4. Always return the soldering iron to its stand right away
A crucial tool to make use of when you are doing any kind of job that involves soldering is a tabletop soldering iron stand. Such a stand is the only way to safely store a soldering iron while it is still hot.
During the soldering process, there may be times when you do not need to have the iron in your hand. However, you may not be quite done with it yet. Rather than just leaving your soldering iron on the table during times like these, you should place it in its tabletop stand to keep it away from you and potential fire hazards.
5. Protect yourself from rosin and lead fumes
If you are dealing with soldering electronic components, rosin-core solder is a common type to use. When you melt this kind of solder rod, the flux core melts first, removing oxides or impurities that could hinder bonds before it becomes molten. Although this type of solder is convenient to use for this reason, the melting process can also be a safety hazard, as it can expose you to toxic or irritating fumes from within the solder to your eyes, nose, and throat.
This can lead to eye and throat irritation, congestion, breathing difficulties, and in some extreme cases, adverse effects stemming from overexposure to lead. To stay safe and limit the potential for these risks, it is wise to install a local exhaust ventilation system at your soldering station, as this will help to eliminate the fumes as they appear.
6. Protect yourself from colophony dermatitis
Another rather common health hazard that can come from using rosin-based solder is colophony dermatitis. This is basically a response to a rosin allergy that could result in an eczema-like outbreak on your skin whenever it comes in contact with rosin.
This reaction can occur anywhere from a day to a week after touching rosin, and can escalate to involve serious itching, redness, and inflammation. If you suffer from a rosin allergy, the best approach to avoid colophony dermatitis is to wear close-fitting but flexible non-conductive gloves while you solder and avoid touching your face as much as possible.
How Circuits Central Can Help You Avoid Soldering Safety Hazards
If you need to work on a project that involves soldering a circuit board, but some of the safety risks mentioned above have you concerned, do not worry; the experts at Circuits Central would be glad to help! We have ample knowledge and expertise when it comes to matters involving soldering, especially in relation to printed circuit board (PCB) design and assembly and electronics manufacturing.
Our production facility is flexible by design. It is equipped with some of the most advanced and innovative technology and equipment in the industry because we always aim to provide top-quality products to all our customers.
No matter what aspects of the electronics or PCB manufacturing process you require help with, we can be of assistance. Our services cover everything from the early stages of design to prototyping and quick turn assembly, product upgrades, and post-manufacturing development. After gauging your needs and desires, our team of designers and engineers will come up with a strategy for providing you with everything you are looking for and more.
For more information about how we can help you with soldering circuit boards or to learn more about our other PCB assembly and manufacturing services, call Circuits Central at 1-(888)-602-7264 or contact us here.