Welding safety tip
One of the things you may think about while welding, is possible electrocution. Yes, that is a possibility, or at least a moderate shock may be experienced if safety practices aren’t followed, but that is something we all know. But did you know that if you own a MIG or TIG welder, you could suffocate, especially if welding in a tight shop or closed garage. Yes, there are dangerous gases in the air, which could eventually cause cancer, but this is not the immediate concern with welding.
Argon and CO2 are heavier than air gases and tend to settle to the floor while welding and build up as welding continues unless it is actively ventilated. Both of these gases are odorless and colorless, and in small amounts not a problem, but when welding on a floor, under a car while laying on your back or while kneeling, you may begin to inhale dangerous amounts of these relatively harmless gases that are already found in air. The concentration of these gases displaces air and can literally suffocate you without you being aware of it until it is too late.
Be sure to keep garage and shop doors open while welding. Another thing that you should be aware of is that a closed shop may also trap these gases for an extended period of time. If a cylinder valve were to suddenly develop a leak, enough gas may leak out to flood the garage with unbreathable air. This is one reason cylinders are subjected to pressure testing regularly. But if a cylinder is passed its test date or you notice bubbles when a soapy water test is conducted, get this cylinder back to your local welding gas supplier as soon as possible after removing it from service and tagging it as defective.
Remove it to the outside and chain it upright until the cylinder can be transported back to the dealer. Have them test it and fix it, or replace it as the case may be. It’s tempting to close up the garage or the shop doors when the weather doesn’t want to cooperate, but keep in mind that you may trade the likely manageable discomfort of cold with the sour taste of death. It’s not something that I would recommend that you risk.