When it comes to safety, one should always check all boxes. And when it involves working with sparks and fumes, you need to be extra careful. A little bit of negligence and carelessness can cause a lifetime of harm. One such work is welding, where the workers fuse metals using heat or high temperature.
Welding is considered a very dangerous tasks, and preventive measures are required. And to do so, the first thing one should get is an auto darkening welding helmet. It not only saves your eyes but also increases the efficiency of your work.
But as soon as someone wears the bulky helmet on their head, one question that arises in their mind is. Are auto darkening welding helmets safe or are they just a gimmick to sell you expensive products? Keep reading as we debunk all the myths about the safety of helmets, how it works, the different kinds of them, and how you can maximize your safety while on a budget.
Are Auto Darkening Welding Helmets Safe?
Whether riding a bike, constructing a building, or just welding metals, wearing a helmet is safe at all costs. If anything goes wrong, any helmet can help you save your head, eyes, and face. So, yes, wearing an auto dimming welding helmet is completely safe. Whenever you are face to face with sparks, it is mandatory to wear one so you can be efficient and save yourself.
Any welder needs a helmet as it saves the eye from burns, which becomes the reason of permanent vision loss. The eyes of any laborer are the most important part of their body and help them earn a living. And it is mandatory to safeguard them.
However, some people are skeptical regarding the safety of auto dimming welding helmets. The primary reasons for such doubt are the helmet size, the lenses, and the power source. People are afraid of wearing something so big on their heads that it has batteries in them.
But they should remember that it can save them from any mishap if things get bad. Any simple helmet can also protect your eyes, then why invest in an auto-dimming welding helmet? The answer is simple as it takes things to the next level. In contrast to a simple helmet, the helmet doesn’t require to be taken off after every session. Consumers can keep the helmet on after they finish their work.
The lenses auto-dim and lighten up when not in contact with fumes. It allows welders to inspect their work while wearing a safety helmet. Also, if numerous welders work at a single sight, you take off the helmet to review your work. There are chances that the sparks of someone else’s work hit you in the eye and cause damage to the cornea.
Why Wearing an Auto Darkening Welding Helmet is Recommended?
Welding is done with the help of high voltage that causes sparks from the metals. It can be the reason for various kinds of harm. For starters, the ultra-violent rays that spark out damage your eyes. Think of these sparks as sun rays, which are equally disturbing for your cornea. They will permanently damage your eyesight if you look at them for a long while. Moreover, these rays can also affect your face and skin and cause rashes. By wearing a helmet, you ensure that no bad stuff happens to your face, skin, or hair.
Arc eye is known as the most common issue faced by welders all around the globe. The sole reason is exposure to harmful rays for a long time. Even so, it can become a reason for eye cancer and make you lose your vision. All this can be handled by wearing a dark-shaded lens helmet that prevents UV rays and dims bright light. In many parts of the world, wearing an auto-tint welding helmet before starting work is mandatory, and the reasons are solid.
How Does Auto Darkening Welding Helmets Function?
The simple answer to the question is an auto-dimming helmet makes the light dim to protect your eyes. It automatically detects sparks or arcs and dims the lens to prevent harm. The sensors perform their duty within seconds, which makes them quite efficient and a smart choice.
The first layer of any welding helmet is the UV/IR interference filter, which prevents harmful rays from attacking your eyes. It works even if you have turned off the auto-dimming and works as the first layer of defense.
Then comes the second layer of the polarization filter, which works hand-in-hand with the interference layer. It dims the light, so it doesn’t affect your eyes in any harmful way.
Things don’t stop here as another layer of Liquid Crystal (LCC) is present in the self-darkening welding helmet. It works hand in hand with the other layers to lighten the light based on its intensity.
The layers also repeat to make the safety helmet more effective and efficient. And to make all this happen, various sensors are all over the helmet. Sensors are triggered as soon as the arc is pointed toward the welder. And accordingly, adjust the shade to a fixed dark level.
All these sensors also require some power to make all this happen. And for everything to work, the helmets are either battery-powered, solar energy, or a mix of both.
Auto Darkening Welding Helmets Care and Maintenance
Things only work best when they are taken care of. And same is the thing without darkening welding helmets. One has to take extra care of them if they want a longer life from them; it is something to be taken care of so you can enjoy your investment for a long time. Moreover, the better you care for it, the better protection it will provide to your face and eyes. The process is simple to follow and can be done even at home.
Checking the Lens
The only important part of any welding helmet must be its lens, as it does most of the work. When you finish the job, inspect if everything is all right with the lens. Look for some cracks or any marks that can be the cause of trouble. Also, clean off the lens thoroughly so it shines every time.
Keep Checking the Helmet
One must avoid entering the battlefield with a broken sword, which is the case with welding helmets. One should carefully consider checking the helmet now and then to make sure it is working fine. There are several ways to do so, and they are mentioned here.
- Use a torch light when you point a torch towards the helmet. It should sense it as sparks and automatically darken the lens. If that happens, it means your helmet is in fine condition.
- Look at the sun. The sun is the leading source of rays in the world and is the best way to determine if your helmet is fine. Wear the helmet and look directly into the sun if it darkens the lens. It means that the helmet is in perfect condition.
- Remote control. Now that we have confirmed that it senses light, detecting rays is also an important method. Use any remote control, and the small bulb ahead of it produces UV rays. Point it toward your helmet; the lens is alright if it darkens.
- We are testing with arcs. It is the method we don’t recommend to all. However, some people are into it and like to try the helmet with the sparks. The only issue with this method is if the helmet doesn’t work and you get exposed to arcs. It will cause damage to your eyes.
- The knobs and sensors. Make this a habit of yours to check all the knobs and sensors carefully and inspect them before starting the job. It is better to look for errors beforehand to avoid mistakes.
- They are keeping it neat and clean. The best way to prolong the helmet’s life is to ensure it is well-clean. To do so, one must use only a soft cloth, as the sensors are quite sensitive, and you do not want to damage them while cleaning. Also, clean them from the inside so they don’t smell when you wear them for longer hours.
- The storage location. Helmets must be kept in a clean and tidy space as you wear them on your face. In addition, the temperature of the storage area must be optimal. Any extreme weather can cause the helmets to malfunction and must be avoided at all costs.
- You are charging the helmet. Auto-dimming helmets only work best when they are changed. Before you start the work, your helmet is all juiced up, so you don’t have to stop your work in between. If your helmet supports replaceable batteries, carry an extra one, as it will increase the efficiency of your work.
Considerations When Buying an Auto Dimming Welding Helmets
We want you to be safe, be in style and make the best decision when buying a helmet. All that is only possible when you carefully consider all your needs when making that decision. And invest your money in the best possible way.
- Safety Standards
The first and foremost thing to consider whenever purchasing any helmet is to look for the correct safety measures. Make sure that the helmet you choose complies with national safety regulations.
In the US, the ANSI Z87.1 is the industry standard for safety regarding helmets. However, the law does not require manufacturers to make helmets according to this standard. Therefore, one should look for the label when buying protective gear for their head.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is another department that works hand in hand with making the workplace safe for everyone. Suppose you are someone who is in the business of hiring welders for work. Ensure that you follow the guidelines by OSHA to prevent any mishap.
- Size of the Helmet (Viewing Area)
Another important factor to consider when buying any helmet is its size. One should ensure the helmet suits the head, is comfortable, and looks cool. The bigger the size of the helmet, the more viewing angle it has. However, as the altitude increases, the comfortability decreases. The welders must wear it for a long time, so the helmet must be light and exactly fit for their head.
On the other hand, choosing a smaller helmet (one that fits you perfectly) allows you to work on a dedicated area of work carefully. Moreover, it can be worn longer and help you get stuff done without tiring yourself.
As discussed earlier, weight is very important when choosing a helmet. One thing to understand is never to consider the importance as just a one-time thing. Because welders have to wear it all day long, even if it weighs less at a glance, wearing it longer can cause neck strain.
It must be comfortable if one has to wear the helmet long. Otherwise, you will only get fatigued more quickly. Apart from being lightweight, helmets have pads and straps to make the experience smoother. Ensure any helmet you get has soft cushioning to protect yourself from fatigue.
- Light Sensitivity
The light sensitivity determine how long the sensors can activate. It means how many sparks start the dimming of the lens. These settings are sometimes available inside or outside of the helmet. Welders must know where these settings are and how to make the most of them.
- Arc Sensors
The magical part of any auto-darkening helmet is the arc sensors. They determine how and when the helmet has to dim to protect your eyes. The more the number of sensors, the more efficient the helmet is. A regular auto-dimming helmet usually has 2 to 4 sensors that work together for an optimal experience. However, one can get a helmet with more sensors to protect your eyes from damage. Or, you can get a helmet with just one sensor if your job is simple enough.
- Power Source
As discussed earlier, every helmet has to have a power source to work. It can derive its power from either battery, solar, or a mixture. Moreover, users can also choose between helmets with replaceable and not replaceable batteries. A fixed lithium battery can last up to good 7 years. On the other hand, if you work for longer hours. Try getting an auto-dimming gear with a replaceable battery. This way, you can easily carry extra batteries, and the work never stops.
- Reaction Time
The reaction and delay time of the helmet allow how fast the lens darkens and how long it takes to return to normal. Consumers can easily adjust the timing of this function according to their usage. If your job demands you to quickly change between projects and inspect them, getting a quick reaction time helmet might be a good choice.
Auto-dimming helmets are expensive compared to regular helmets. And therefore, they must come with a warranty so your investment is safe. Usually, helmets have a guarantee for around 3 to 5 years. But ensure you read how long the company is willing to back up its products. It will help you in making the final decision.
- The Variable vs. Fixed Shades
Auto-darkening helmets come with the option for both variable and fixed shades. The fixed shadows only dimmer to a certain level, such as 8 or 10. However, the variable shades are smart and adjusts themselves to the demand of the light. It senses how much light is coming out of the weld and works to save you. The most common range for a variable shade is 8 to 13.
Now that we have discussed everything in detail regarding the welding helmets, their working process, and the different types of it. The decision might become easier for you. There are self dimming welding helmets with some of the craziest designs to make you look cool. And also some helmets with extra padding with extreme comfort. Make sure you choose the helmet wisely and make the best decision for yourself.
Passive Helmet vs. Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
Helmets have been around for a long time, and passive helmets pioneer safety. The passive helmets had a thick dark layer inside of them that protected welders from harsh lights. However, the sole issue with them is when the sparks stop, the helmet becomes useless. As it is so dark, it becomes impossible to watch anything through it. Therefore, every time a welder stops their work to inspect. They have to take off the helmet manually and look at their job. Not only is it dangerous, but it also decreases their work efficiency.
The one good thing about passive helmets is their simplicity and affordability. It is way cheaper because nothing special is going on. Moreover, consumers can buy various shades depending upon the demand of the job. Passive helmets are easier to handle because of their lightweight. They don’t have the sensors, batteries, or other gimmicks to increase the helmet’s weight. Also, it is very easy to handle the auto-darkening pipeliner hood; even if something breaks, one can easily repair it cheaply. The operation of the helmet is also very simple, and even a layperson can understand it.
But there are reasons why the passive helmet falls short, and the auto-dimming helmet was introduced in the market. The first issue with the passive helmet is the viewing and visibility. As it has only a dark shade, it is impossible to see anything through it when the sparks are not coming out. Welders have to take off their helmets every time, which becomes a nuisance and decreases the efficiency of the work. Moreover, they are exposed to damage whenever one takes off their helmet. There are chances of someone else’s spark hitting you in the face or eye, leading to permanent damage.
On the other hand, an auto-dimming helmet is a smart option, and welders can work without taking it off. When the sensors detect sparks, they dim the shade and lighten it when the job is finished. It allows the welder to keep on working at a better speed. The constant acceleration and ADL feature make it the choice for all the best welders out there. Furthermore, consumers can work even in tight spaces as they don’t have to take off or flip their helmets. For say, working under the hood of a car or someplace where everything is packed. No one has to worry about anything; they get the best protection at all costs.
Undoubtedly, auto-dimming welding helmet has a long list of features they are known for. But there are some cons to it as well. The first reason people stay away from auto-darkening pipeliner hoods is the price of it. As a complex device, it is far more expensive than a regular helmet. It has batteries, sensors, layers, etc., making it the choice for only those who can afford it. Speaking of batteries and sensors, it is another reason people don’t purchase ADL helmets. They are far more complex to use and not easily repairable. If anything goes wrong, users have no choice but to get it repaired, which might cost money. Also, all the batteries and sensors make the helmet quite heavy. And it can cause neck and head pain if you wear it for a long time.
Different Auto Darkening Welding Helmets
- Passive Helmets
As discussed earlier, passive helmets are the most basic and old-school protection method for your safety. It is something with something other than fancy buttons and features. But a rigid solution to keep you safe. The built quality is tough; it can prevent light from entering your eyes and is affordable. The price has to be the leading reason why people buy it.
- Auto Darkening Helmet
The most effective method of saving your eyes is the ADL helmet that can automatically detect the light and work its way. It has features, sensors, knobs, etc., that make the magic happen. However, the one reason people stay away from it is the complexity and price of these helmets. Anyone new in the welding field likes to save money and buy cheaper options.
- The Solar Powered Helmet
It is an auto dimming shield with a fixed battery and can be recharged by solar energy. The one key feature of the helmet is it only needs the battery to start the safety helmet. After it starts, the helmet takes its power from the sun. So you can keep working without the need to keep charging it here and there.
- The Battery Powered Welding Helmet
The welding safety helmet uses a battery to work that is replaceable. It uses lithium-ion batteries to increase efficiency and battery timing. The best part about these helmets is that consumers can carry extra batteries. It allows users to work extra hours by replacing the batteries as soon as one runs out of juice.
It is very beneficial if users work in an area where the sun doesn’t shine too bright, or the workstation is inside a building.
- The Fixed Shade Lens Welding Helmet
As the name suggests, it is the kind of welding helmet with only a shade of dark lens. Most of the time, it is set to 10 dark levels. When the sensor detects any spark, it adjusts without worrying about doing it manually.
Suppose someone is just starting and has a fixed job of welding. It can be a good choice to keep things easy and simple.
- The Variable Shade Lens Welding Helmet
This welding helmet is more suitable for people in more complex jobs. The variable shade lens has a wide arrange of dark lenses, from 8 to 13. And consumers have the option to select what they want from it. If one of your jobs requires too much dark lens and the other requires a light lens. The variable lens is handy, providing a one-stop solution to all your needs.
Diagnosing and Treating Arc Eye
If you read this article, you know the eye damage arcs can cause you. And you like to use a helmet to protect yourself. Even so, if something goes wrong and you start to feel pain in your eyes. There are several ways to check if you have an welder’ flesh and how to treat it before something bad happens.
Arc eye, commonly known as welder’s flash, is where the cornea becomes damaged due to prolonged light penetration. When our eyes cannot fight against the heat and UV rays, they get damaged.
The first thing to notice is, itching in your eyes. Whenever you weld metals, if your eyes start to get watery or you feel a burn in them. It is the first step to knowing that your auto darkening helmet is malfunctioning. The first step is to stop welding and rest to prevent permanent damage.
According to various sources, more than 25% of injuries at welding places are related to the eye. Often the welders need help finding it necessary to wear a helmet and start working without it. They need to learn the importance of protecting the eyes. Organizations should also work to make this rule always to wear helmets. Several reasons why pain happens are
- You get stuck in the eye by flying sparks. Even if , one is safe from their sparks, someone else’s will likely hit you in the eye and cause damage.
- Intense blue light and radiation from UV and long exposure to them become a reason for pain in the look.
- The chemicals and smoke from the fuse are also a reason for becoming a pain in your eye.
The worst issue with the disease is that it needs to be evident initially, and welders often misunderstand them. They think of it as just fatigue and nothing serious. However, it should not be taken lightly. We have listed some of the most common symptoms to help you identify the issue.
- Soon after you are done welding, the eyes start to itch badly. Or if you are stuck directly with the sparks, it irritates you.
- It is also a symptom if your eyes hurt when the light changes.
- The eyes of the welders tend to become red, often known as bloodshot eyes.
- Blurred vision is another symptom, even after your work is done. You might be having some issues with your eyes.
- It is also a symptom of this disease if it feels like something is constantly stuck in the eye.
As soon as your eye starts to hurt, there are some prevention techniques to make your life easier.
- Rest your eyes. Make sure you close your eyes and lie down for a while. The rest is the best way to make anything getting serious.
- Antibiotics. If the pain is too much, try seeing a doctor and check yourself. And take some medicines under the supervision of a health officer.
Wrapping it Up
One should take no chances regarding health; only the best products must be chosen. And when it comes to blessings like our eyes, one has to be extra careful. As they are the source of all joy in this world, they help us see the beauty of the world. Then why not spend some extra money to prevent them from any damage?
Welding involves all the harm that can damage your eyes and even lead to permanent vision loss. One can get a self-darkening safety helmet that provides comfort and increases efficiency to stop that from happening. We have discussed why a welding helmet is safe for you, the different types of it, its working process, and it is safe to use one.
This article was helpful for you in making the right decision for you. And will help keep you keep your eyes safe. And remember, precaution is better than cure.