Moving along our Blog Series on how to read the User manuals of the Top Six Amalgam Separators sold in North America. We are down to our second last amalgam separator, the Air Techniques Acadia. So far we have reviewed the Pre-Installation, Assembly, Installation, and Inspection of this unit.
What is left to review on the Acadia are the Troubleshooting solutions during a clog or failure, any maintenance required on the system and the disposal procedures. For those of you following this series, our first segment started with the amalgam separator that requires the least amount of work, maintenance, cost, or inspection, the M.A.R.S LibertyBOSS.
Today, we will be discussing the Troubleshooting and Maintenance of the Air Techniques Acadia.
Troubleshooting an Air Techniques Acadia
On Wednesday, we discussed the required inspection of the Acadia amalgam separator. Reviewing the measures Air Techniques recommends to ensure their amalgam separator works at its highest efficiency. As discussed previously, there are two main reasons for inspection;
1) Check when the filter requires maintenance (filled)
2) Check to see if the system needs troubleshooting (clogged)
The most common issue with filter based amalgam separators is a suction loss, often caused by a clog due to neglect. The following procedures will assist you in correcting the issue that was discovered during the inspection process.
Clogged Upper Chamber
You may notice the photo taken from the Acadia User Manual above; Air Techniques suggest checking the solids collector (the Large Particle Inlet Filter Strainer) first. Unfortunately, this task would be moot if the upper chamber of the Acadia is clogged.
As seen in the photo above, use a flashlight to shine into the upper chamber. The entire upper portion of the Acadia should be clear at all times if light cannot be shone through the upper chamber, the system is most likely clogged by sedimentation.
Small Amount of Sedimentation in the Upper Chamber
If your Acadia filter is not full and you have a small amount of sedimentation in the upper chamber, there is a simple procedure to unclog the system.
Step 1: Where Personal Protection Equipment; gloves, goggles, respirator rated for mercury gases.
Step 2: Leave the suction running
Step 3: Twist the filter halfway down the filter channel. Allow air to travel into the upper chamber to dislodge the clog. Step 4: Twist the filter in the opposite direction to lock it back in place. Step 5: In roughly 24 hours, check the upper chamber to see if the sediment moved to the filter Step 6: Check to see if the filter needs replacing. After this procedure, if the filter is full replace the filter.
A Large Amount of Sedimentation in the Upper Chamber
When replacing your amalgam separator, consider a system that does not require maintenance or have a chance of clogging, the M.A.R.S LibertyBOSS.
Filled Solids Collector
If the upper chamber of your Acadia is clear, the next step is to inspect the “Large Particle Inlet Filter Strainer,” we will call it a solids collector.
The solids collector is used to protect the Acadia from clogging with material larger than the inlet to the filter. As mentioned in previous portions of this blog series, anything located in front of an amalgam separator is considered toxic waste, anything after the system is considered sewer safe. It is important to remember when you are troubleshooting any suction issues and you are checking the Solids Collector on the Acadia; that material should be handled and disposed of as toxic waste.
If the solids collector is empty, or you have cleaned the trap, and there is still suctions issues, check the contents of the filter.
Below is a photo of the Acadia filter.
The inside of the filter has a foam barrier that retains the solids while allowing the liquids to flow up the sides and out the top of the canister. The issue with examining the filter, the foam makes it extremely difficult to examine its capacity. Below is a replacement chart provided by Air Techniques, it is recommended to replace the filters as often, or sooner, as listed.
The “users” in the chart refers to all users, especially Hygienists, as it is their use of prophy paste that fills amalgam separators faster than any other substance.
Check for Clogged Fittings or Collapsed Hose
Depending on the installation of your amalgam separator and the type of evacuation line cleaner you use, your lines can develop large chunks of biofilm that will cause suction issues. Wear the appropriate safety equipment when inspecting your lines.
Often the most effective and economical way to remove the build-up from your lines is to switch to a good neutral pH, non-foaming evacuation line cleaner. It is important to be aware, during the cleaning portion of your lines, you may notice a significant build-up of bio-film and sediment in your amalgam separator and solids collector. A cleaner like CleanLINZ, by M.A.R.S Bio-Med, will break up the material in your lines, alleviating your suction issues. The pitfall, most amalgam separators lack the capacity and large open flow design of the LibertyBOSS to handle such a release, often cost thousands of dollars in filters in a short time frame.
That cost is why M.A.R.S recommends only to use the M.A.R.S LINZ Program when you are about to upgrade your practice to a LibertyBOSS amalgam separator. The combination of M.A.R.S products has been proven to improve on suction issues, reduce costs, and significantly decrease the mercury discharge from Dental Practices.
Preventative Maintenance, Inspection, and Troubleshooting Video
To review much of the material covered in this blog, please review the Preventative Maintenance video below.
Due to the complexity in the design, maintenance, and inspection of the Air Techniques Acadia, the last segment of this blog series will be on the maintenance and disposal of the Air Techniques Acadia.