Drying Tips

Box Fan Use and Maintenance

I have a confession to make. I sometimes use box fans and floor dryers to dry dogs with in my shop.

Anyone who has read my blog or my posts on any groomers forum knows I am FOR hand drying dogs and AGAINST heated cage dryers. You should also know that I realize not every dog can be dried 100% by hand and sometimes a cage dryer is needed. That is where my box fans come into play.

I know people think that it is cruel to blow cool air on wet dogs, that it is inefficient and that those of us who choose to use these fans do so because they are cheap. None of that is true!

First of all, I use them because they allow for a nice airflow of room temperature air that provides lift for the hair and safe temperatures for the dogs. The air is quiet, and soft enough in force not to scare dogs that do not like air moving. The box fans are also very safe and even if left to run on a dog all day long they pose absolutely no danger of overheating the pets. Box fans DO NOT add heat into the air. They do not heat up dogs or the room they are used in. As long as the room temperature is comfortable, the air moving over the dogs will be comfortable as well. 

I begin the drying process by wringing out what water I can while the pet is in the tub. Then I towel dry really well. I transfer the dog to my grooming table and I use two towels usually and maybe three or four if needed to remove as much water as I possibly can. Then I use the force dryer for as much as the pet will tolerate.

Most of my client dogs do really well with the dryers. They do not fight. They do not argue. They let me dry them completely with the force dryer.  For those that do not allow even the variable speed dryer to be used to dry them completely, or those that have way more hair than I can dry efficiently and quickly, I use box fans. 

These dogs are force dried as much, or as little, as they will tolerate. I then brush the dogs hair into the way I want it to lay when dry. Ears, faces, bodies, legs and tails. I brush the entire dog out before using the dryer UNLESS its still really wet. If it is really wet (as in not force dried) I will place it under a fan for a while, then pull the dog out, brush it out, then place it back into the cage to dry the rest of the way. The brushout makes the hair lay better after drying, and that can make the difference between a nice groom finish and a bad groom finish. 

How the dryers are placed for drying also helps in the quality of finish. I have 6 fans being used in my shop currently. Two are on top of cages, two are hanging on the end of the 6 pack of cages, and the other two we use where needed. They are "floaters". I can move them to whatever cage needs it and in whatever room.

I use grooming loops that are, for whatever reason, not usable as grooming loops anymore, to hang the box fans on wire cages. Maybe they are frayed, maybe they are missing a lock, or I bought the wrong style for my preference. They work great for hanging the fans on cages.

I wrap the loop around the handles and then attach them from the wire cages on the top, blowing down, or the fronts blowing on the dog, depending on what type of coat we have.A full coated shihtzu for example I would put the fan on top blowing DOWN. For Schnauzers as well that need their faces finished up. A fan in the front will blow the eyebrows and beards backwards. Putting the fan on top will dry them, and not affect the direction they lay in when dried. 

A shorter coated dog I would hang the fan on the front to lift the coat and add fluff. I also use a General Cage 6 pack wire cage bank. It has wire grates and I took out the pans in the middle row. I use a Sahara Dryer from underneath pointing UP to dry heavy coated dogs (cockers) that need extra drying time or dogs that cannot stand up well for drying. It works great because it lifts the coat and dries them from below. It also gives me sides and fronts to place box fans to assist with drying.

Fans are also very helpful when blow drying (HVing) a double coated dog. They push cooler room air towards the dogs assisting with drying as well as reducing the chance of overheating. They can also assist with blowing the flying hair away from the person drying. Win Win!

The fans however do have problems. They get dirty. They get collect hair. I try to vaccumm them daily, wipe them off weekly and clean them monthly but once in a while I don't get to it, and then, well as you can see in the photos below, it gets dirty. The holidays resulted in needing these fans more and as a result they got dirtier than usual. 

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 Dust and grime on the outside...

I use Lysol Hydrogen Peroxide wipes to clean the outside of the fans and the blades inside as well.

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Hair builds up on the grills and the motor itself as well.

It takes 12 screws on most fans to remove both front and back grills. I take them off, pop them in the tub and using my shampoo that is left over from the days grooming I spray down the grills and rinse well.

I then take a HV dryer and blow them off, then blow off the motor as well. That removes all the packed hair.

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See the hair clogging the motor?  

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Hair gone now after being blown out with the HV Dryer.

Wipe off the inside of the case and it's clean. 5 minutes maybe. Start to finish.

You can also use a heavy duty screen mesh, available at any home improvement store, and put it INSIDE the back grill. Cut it about 2 inches larger than the fan, screw the back on and trim the screen to the fan. It will make it much easier to remove the hair and vaccumm it daily to prevent it from building up in the motor.

There are two video clips below detailing how to do this. I wish I had done the screen on the fans I bought last year, but I forgot and then got busy, so they never got done. If I had, however, you would not have this blog post!

 

 

 

Some people who have read this blog post have suggested Furnace Filters on the back of the fans. Simply buy the size you need to fit your fan and tape or zip tie them to the fan back. Someone else said they used J brackets used in vinyl siding to hold the furnace filters in place. Simply cut them to size and screw them to the frame. Slide the filter in. Easy and quick.

So now you have all the in formation you need should you choose to use box fans to aid in drying. Hope you are able to save some money and save a dog's life!


Nozzles part two: Sound levels

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Every force dryer is loud. Some moreso than others. There are numerous ways to lower the noiselevel from the motor of the dryer but there will always be air noise to deal with. There are many things you can do to reduce that noise level as well.

The way each nozzle is designed will result in a distinct sound and more or less decibles being created by the air noise. 

Cone shaped nozzles tend to be more high pitched (think whistling) due to the air being forced at a high rate of speed out of a  small, circular opening. Also, the way they hit the skin of the dog in such a concentrated way makes for more noise. They have their benefits, when removing matting or undercoat however because of the concentrated airflow. It will literaly push the mat away from the skin with the circular motion the air is creating.

Flat thinly shaped water strippers make much less noise because they are flat, which prevents the air from spinning and because the area is wider, the air makes less nosie when it hits the skin. Because it acts like a "peeler" the narrow flat action of the air moving sweeps water ahead of the nozzle, off the dogs. It will remove more water faster than a round or cone nozzle will.

Then there is the wider flat nozzle. It is the most quiet of the three types of nozzles I have been discussing. Because the nozzle is flat and wider it disperses the air over a larger area, softening the air pressure as it hits the skin. Since the air is dispersed it makes it a great nozzle for fluffing coats and for puppies or dogs that dislike the drying process.

Another issue to take into account when reducing noise levels is the table top material. Flat or pebbled surfaces will be much quieter than a ribbed table top. The air bounces off the ridged tops, making more noise whereas it slides across the smoother tops.

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To avoid the air hitting the table top at ALL I use a table cover. tht provides an absorbent material to catch and hold water that is removed from the dog as well as making a smooth surface for the air to hit. By hanging a quilt or womsehitng like it, on the back of the drying area you reduce the backflow of water onto the dogs, reduce noise because the fabric absorbs the noise and it also catches water. Add into it that it makes cleaning the wall behind the staion a breeze because you simply toss it into the washer as needed.

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Drying in a tub is less efficient AND louder than drying on a table. The tub surface allows for the air to bounce all around the tub echoing and amplifying, making the noise level much more of an issue than the table creates.  Also, because of the hard surfaces in the tub, the water bounces back up onto the dogs, making drying less efficient in my opinion.

I made this small video clip to show you the loudness differences in the drying nozzles. 

 

You can also see the size of the area covered by the nozzle on the drying table.

The next article on this subject will discuss how the different nozzles affect the lay of the coat as well ashow to dry correctly for the best results.