Best Practices for Dust Collector Maintenance

Environmental Filter | May 20th, 2020


Have you ever heard the phrase a “well-oiled machine?” This means that the equipment is operating effectively and functions correctly. But to do this you must make sure your dust collection system and filters are maintained.

Importance of Inspection

When it comes to any sort of technical know-how, any engineer will tell you that it is crucial to check everything regularly to prevent problems with your filters or collector. For example, cars are regularly checked to make sure the engine is running smoothly and has proper tire pressure. You don’t want to go for long periods without checking these things because it can cause you trouble in the long run. A car’s job is to get you from point A to point B. The slightest thing out of place can cause issues. A dust collector’s job is to control and clean the air of particulate. But if something is out of place, it cannot perform its’ job correctly or efficiently.

With any piece of equipment, regular inspection and maintenance can prevent accidents and keep it working in proper condition.

Saving Money and Saving Lives

Repairs cost money, so don’t let a problem persist. Money will stack up to do what it takes to fix the problem. Maintenance of the equipment will save not only money but time as well.

Some issues, if not prevented, can be dangerous. There are dust collector standards in place through OHSA, NFPA, and other organizations. Facilities can be heavily fined and can even be sued if failure to follow regulations result in injury or death. Things like dust collector fires can be prevented if the collector is of high quality and is always inspected and maintained.

Listed below are some tips on maintenance for your collector. We recognize that all systems are different and what may work for one application won’t work for everything. However, these are basic techniques that can keep your collector and filters operating efficiently and smoothly.

The Collector

The collector, which requires inspection as well, is the fortress that houses the filters. Without it working properly, you are pretty much out of luck.

1. Make sure pulse controls, diaphragm valves are working correctly. Pulse controls are what controls the air pulses. This is when the burst of compressed air pulses the filters during the operation. Diaphragm valves go hand in hand with the pulse controls. They are the machinery that help control the pulses. You need to make sure both are working correctly.

2. Make sure door gaskets are in good shape and seals are maintained. Typically look for dust trails around door(s) perimeter. Gaskets prevent outside air and moisture from entering the collector. Always check for dust trails. This will let you know if there isn’t a proper seal.

3. Drum ducting: Insure clamps are tight, look for dust trails. This is how the “bad air” is transferred. You don’t want there to be leaks allowing particulate to escape into the open air. Dust trails will tell you if there is something that needs to be tightened.

4. Ducting (Outdoors): Check for water leak. You can check at inlet for water trails on inlet to collector.

The Filters

The filters are what are used to filter out the pollutants. They are inserted into the collector and should be maintained as well.

1. Inspect new filters thoroughly, for damage caused by shipping or handling. Damaged filters won’t do you any good, so it is important to be sure the filters you have are of high-quality.

2. Insure filter seals are under correct compression, alignment is correct, basically installed correctly. If incorrect, can lead to dust on clean side of filter, leading to other complications. This information can usually be found in the “Collector IOM” manual.

3. Recommend keeping log of new filter install and start up differential pressure. Then routine logging of Dp. Spikes or drops in Dp., usually indicates an upset condition has happened. Differential pressure is the pressure difference between two systems/volumes. (Between the clean and used sides of the collector.) It can be referred to as pressure drop or “DP” for short. It is the key to seeing if your collector is operating correctly.

4. After new install, ensure fans/dampers are adjusted for design flow of collector/filters. A lot of times, these have been adjusted to get more life out of filters, then never set back to original. This causes premature plugging on filters, leading to shorter life on replacement set and complaints the new ones don’t last as long as the first set.

5. Insure “all” pulse valves are working correctly, one valve not functioning correctly can ruin up 6 filters. These valves help in sending the pulses of air. You need have all of them working right. After all, damaged filters will cost you more money.

6. Insure control settings for pulse timing and duration are set correctly. Use continuous pulsing only when needed. Excessive pulsing can prematurely damage filters. Again, you don’t want damaged filters.

7. In heavy filter loading applications, may want to consider “Offline Pulsing” to prevent too much dust build up on filters, from shift to shift.

8. Change filters when recommended changeout Dp is reached. Excessive run time or too high Dp can cause filter failure.

Engineering Support

At Environmental Filter, we have top of the line engineers to help answer any questions you may have about your collector, filters, or other technical issues.