Question: Can we store and use the PIG Aerosol Can Recycler outside to minimize the smell of the paint fumes inside our building? Perhaps the unit should be covered with plastic when not in use to protect it from the elements, like rain and snow? What are the regulations (if any) for having it located outside the building?
Answer: At the federal level, I am not aware of any regulation that prevents you from storing the PIG Aerosol Can Recycler outside. In fact, we know of many facilities who puncture cans outside as a standard practice. When you get down to the state and local level, there are occasionally ordinances stemming from interpretations of NFPA 30 or UFC codes for flammable materials that could prohibit you storing and using it less than 50 feet from your property line.
One note, however, is that your unit shouldn’t be emitting excessive paint vapors if it is functioning properly. The coalescing media and carbon cartridge in the filter should be scrubbing those to minimize the VOC emissions (and smell). If the smell is overwhelming, it may be because the filtration media is spent and needs to be replaced. It could also be that you are puncturing a can that contains a product that can’t be scrubbed by activated carbon, but that’s pretty rare.
If you have recently replaced the carbon filtering media and you’re still getting a lot of emissions, another trick is to leave the last can that you punctured in the puncturing chamber to prevent the vapors from escaping through that bung opening in the drum instead of the bung opening that has the filtering media. Another option is to remove the puncturing unit and filter after use and replace the bung caps.
If you do choose to store it outside, I would recommend covering it. The body of the puncturing system is aircraft aluminum, so there isn’t a worry of the puncturing unit itself rusting, but if rain or snow gets into the drum, which produces a larger volume of waste that will need to be handled and, eventually, the steel drum could rust. Excess humidity from rain or snow can also cause the filtering media to wear prematurely.