10 Reasons to Empty Your Dust Collector

I have a single-bag dust collector which is situated in a small room adjacent to my machine shop to isolate the noise.  However, it’s also out of sight so I sometimes forget to check the bag.  Here are some reasons not to forget emptying it:
  1. It is hard to handle a full bag, especially if it contains more fine dust and fewer shavings;
  2. A full bag can be heavy and is more likely to tear;
  3. If the bag is allowed to fill and the dust collector continues to be used, dust accumulates in the upper filter;
  4. If dust is allowed to accumulate in the upper filter, it often needs to be dug out and makes a bigger mess;
  5. A full dust collector, especially with dust in the upper filter has less airflow;
  6. Low airflow may not be enough to keep ductwork and hoses clear;
  7. A dust collector with restricted airflow is less effective at extracting dust;
  8. Dust not collected at the source ends up on the floor or in the air;
  9. Un-captured dust is tracked around the shop (or house), breathed in, and settles on every horizontal surface; and
  10. Cleaning the shop and emptying an overfilled dust collector takes several hours and makes you look like this.

5 thoughts on “10 Reasons to Empty Your Dust Collector

  1. You must have been in my shop last Friday! That’s pretty much how I looked after first emptying the overfilled DC, then having to empty the overfilled Dust Deputy I used to clean up the first mess, then using the DD again to clean up the left-ove mess from its cleaning. [Minor note: My hair is shorter than yours… ;-) ]

  2. Reminds me of when I was emptying the dust collector and someone else turned it on by remote. What a mess! Lessoned learned now I always lock it out when cleaning it out.

  3. Sounds advice, I know exactly what you mean!

    When I do need to clean the top filter bag, I find it best to turn it inside out and to remove the dust with a vacuum. Some recommend washing them in a machine! It’s not foolproof and I still wear a mask but, it’s less messy than shaking or banging it.

    1. Olly,

      Good idea to use a vacuum.

      My dust extractor has a cannister top with a pleated filter inside. To clean it, I turn a handle which knocks off the dust. I think that there was a good amount of dust caked on the inside and cleaning the filter increased the airflow, and hence the suction!


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