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Amalgam Separation Q & A

  • I have been using an amalgam separator for a few years now. I switched to a new company a couple of years ago, which has an electric timer. I am not happy with it. I am looking to switch to a basic, non-electric system that is low cost per year. The amalgam separator is by my vacuum, sump pump and compressor. I currently have four operatories. Can you recommend an amalgam separator?

    Your best bet would be a central system then, the Asdex AS-9 23" would be your most economical choice given the number of rooms you have.

  • I have been changing my Solmetex HG5 Cartridge every 5-6 months. I find the cartridges to be fairly costly given the life. Do I have any better alternatives?

    There are other systems with longer life cartridges which will save you. Naturally, this would require investing in a new system too, although the savings in cartridges would make up the difference in less than two years. Depending on the total number of operatories, one of the Asdex systems (AS-9 11" or AS-9 23") or the Eco II may be a better fit for you.

  • What is the minimum flow rate that an amalgam separator should have?

    The minimum flow rate as dictated by ISO 11143 should be 1 litre per minute.

  • My state requires my amalgam separator to have a 95% efficiency or better. Do the separators that you sell meet this requirement?

    Yes! All of our amalgam separators are rated at 99% or more. The ISO standard 11143 requires a 95% efficiency so any amalgam separator certified under the ISO standard will achieve this removal rate. Many local regulations require removal rates as high as 99% so all of the amalgam separators we carry operate at that level or above.

  • How do I dispose of my old amalgam filter after replacing it?

    Some filters come with a mailer to send it off for recycling and the company will mail you back the appropriate paperwork for your records. The shipping and recycling is included in the price of the replacement cartridges with these systems. If recycling is not included with your replacement cartridge, you will need to contact someone in your area that recycles hazardous waste. We have products that you can purchase that helps dispose of hazardous waste.

  • Can you provide the ISO certification information on the amalgam separators that you carry?

    Yes. We have that information available upon request.

  • I've replaced my Solmetex amalgam separator canister three times in a year. We switched waterline cleaners and replaced the canister. It immediately filled up with debris. How do I stop this from happening when I change it again?

    It is possible that your new waterline cleaner has freed up loose debris that was stuck in the lines. Solmetex systems operate primarily with sedimentation, so it can be clogged by non-amalgam debris. Switching brands of cleaner isn't the answer, however. Sometimes amalgam separators can get clogged up with prophy paste, alginate, or other similar dental materials. Perhaps it might be time to switch the brand of separator, especially if cost is a factor.

  • I am a dental hygienist and have never changed the amalgam separator. How do I change a SolmeteX filter without making a mess?

    The replacement cartridge should come with instructions, but if not there is a pair of pins at the top of the cartridge holding it on. Be careful pulling them out and slide the cartridge off.

  • What is the difference between an amalgam separator and a vacuum system collection canister?

    The purpose of a canister trap is to filter out larger chunks from exiting through your plumbing. An amalgam separator is more sufficient and will have an efficiency of 95% or higher. Separators use filtration and gravity to process the amalgam even further.

  • Does the type of my amalgam separator depend on whether or not I have a wet or dry central vacuum?

    No it doesn't. All of the amalgam separators we carry will work with a wet or dry vac.

  • I noticed the suction on my amalgam separator was discharging oddly. The people who originally installed it had hooked up the inlet and outlets on the wrong ports. It has been running this way for a few months. Has this damaged the rest of my set-up?

    Your central vacuum has probably been overworking, but it shouldn't be damaged because of it. If there was a problem, it would've shut down already, due to nothing being separated.

  • Does the EPA require an amalgam separator to be changed when it is full or at the one year mark?

    Always refer to the separators manufacturer guidelines, first. Some units have a finite life cycle and some have an indicator mark when they need to be switched out. If it does have such an indicating "fill" line, that will override the fill indication time period. For example, if it is a Hg5 separator, it must be replaced annually—no matter its fullness.