Seriously: Why not vent dust collectors outside?

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Forum topic by JasonWagner posted 09-15-2009 04:50 AM 70297 views 6 times favorited 182 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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555 posts in 4156 days

09-15-2009 04:50 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

EDIT This post has been up for over a year now and has just become somewhat popular again. I have had the outdoor exhaust with no problems since then. I do have a chip separator (that actually collects most visible dust as well) before the impeller. I have not seen appreciable dust outside my house, much less any “pile” of dust. I am a hobbyist and do not use my DC for long periods of time. You’re situation may be different. I do not inhale CO from my furnace or blow dust on my neighbors. You’re situation may be different.

Original Post-
I think this could be a good discussion. Who cares about spending $2K on a dust collector if you can collect chips inside and blow all that less than 30uM dust outside? Speaking as an amateur and not a commercial shop. i.e. limited hours per week with the collector on. I made a three-gang blast gate box today and was messing around with my Jet DC1100 when I thought of removing it from the mobile base and mounting it to the wall/floor. It’s tucked away in a corner anyway. Then I started thinking about upgrading the crappy 30uM bags with some low micron canister filters. I have the 19.75” Jet so the Wynn filters still need retrofitting. Then I started thinking…why not just vent the whole thing outside. I have a chip separator so only dust goes in the bag. I have a low-level deck on the back of the house and I guess I would just vent under the deck. Has anyone done this? Then I can mount the motor on the wall and skip the bags. It wouldn’t be too loud with the motor inside, everyone’s got more than an acre around me. Also, the small amount of time I use it wouldn’t affect the negative air pressure much. I guess I could crack a window. So any advice or experience with this topic would be great. Seems to me like a fairly quick and beneficial solution.

-- some day I hope to have enough clamps to need a clamp cart!

182 replies so far

View Durnik150's profile


647 posts in 4298 days

#1 posted 09-15-2009 05:34 AM

You are not alone in venting to the outside. I was very surprised to see that The Wood Whisperer vented to the outside at his old shop. I’m not sure what he will be doing now that he has relocated. It appeared he had a little land around his house so it’s not like he would have been blasting his neighbors with the dust either.

I did learn a little something about Walnut dust a few weeks ago. Walnut trees create a chemical in their roots that prohibits growth in other trees. They do this so there is less competition for the sunlight in the canopy. The chemical remains in the wood and the resulting sawdust can actually kill trees if it is spread around the yard. Just something to keep in mind if you work in a lot of walnut or if your vent would blow material on other trees.

-- Behind the Bark is a lot of Heartwood----Charles, Centennial, CO

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

3639 posts in 4413 days

#2 posted 09-15-2009 05:39 AM

Hmmm.. what if one vented outside with an elbow facing downward into a trash can. Some of the dust would scatter but I’d think most of it would end up in the can. A cleaner shop, no dangerous dust and no back pressure from the open port. Hmmm.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View JasonWagner's profile


555 posts in 4156 days

#3 posted 09-15-2009 05:42 AM

Thanks for the reply. I wish I worked with a lot of walnut! I’m just a “for fun and function amature” and mostly use MDF/pine/plywood/poplar/maple. Also, I’m thinking that this ejection under my deck on plain old dirt won’t have much of an effect on the neighboring plants (all around 12 feet away).

I mean, most of the noise of the motor is still inside and it’s not too loud anyway. Second, only dust being blown onto dirt that I don’t want stuff to grow on…can’t be bad. Only problem is how to vent to the outside. I’ve got a poured concrete wall and a small basement window I can probably make a jig for. I can vent the basement when the DC is on.

-- some day I hope to have enough clamps to need a clamp cart!

View JasonWagner's profile


555 posts in 4156 days

#4 posted 09-15-2009 05:43 AM

not a bad idea Craftsman…why not do a little effort for a big reward…

Does anyone else vent outside? Seems like the ultimate answer to dust collection!

-- some day I hope to have enough clamps to need a clamp cart!

View fredf's profile


495 posts in 4686 days

#5 posted 09-15-2009 06:07 AM

If you forget to open the window during heating season you will get a shop (house) full of CO. not sure I’d want to risk it. also here in Hew England (or anyplace else with cold winters) you would be venting a lot of expensive heated air out side

-- Fred, Springfield, Ma

View a1Jim's profile


118155 posts in 4553 days

#6 posted 09-15-2009 06:14 AM

I vent mine outside to a drum inside a dog house . Works great no problimo.


View JasonWagner's profile


555 posts in 4156 days

#7 posted 09-15-2009 06:15 AM

OK, so I’ve seen similar posts. I don’t heat or cool my shop. In the summer it’s cool in the winter it’s warm enough. Yeah, I’ll lose some heat or cool in the summer but does it ever add up to no fine dust in the workshop/house? I mean, pushing some A/C or heat out of my house isn’t much more than any other little woodshop expenditure. I’m really starting to form a strong opinion that we should vent dust outside.

-- some day I hope to have enough clamps to need a clamp cart!

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 5075 days

#8 posted 09-15-2009 06:21 AM

Fredf provides one of the best points. The dust collector would create a negative air pressure in the shop and it would require a fresh air intake. If a large enough air intake is not provided, the negative air pressure will pull air back down the flue for the hot water tank and the furnace if they are gas fired. This will drag carbon monoxide into the living space.

If fresh air is provided to prevent this it is not a problem.

I have seen pro shops and hobbyists do this and there is always a layer of dust all over the area. It gets on everything and I was put off by it but they seemed fine with it. Before I saw this I had considered doing the same.

In all reality, given the safety consideration you could always try it and see how it works with your equipment.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View bruc101's profile


1384 posts in 4518 days

#9 posted 09-15-2009 07:00 AM

If I vented my dust outside it would land in a mountain stream that is now protected by all the environmentalist so I would be..”up my creep without a paddle”. But, my neighbors ride their lawn mowers over with their trailers connected and we empty the bags into them so they can mix it with other stuffs and use it for mulch in their gardens. They want all the cypress we run for their flower beds so they take turns on a list we have. I’ve known them all my life so maybe that helps to keep their mouthy comments down when I’m making a lot of noise late into the night sometimes. Relief that the closest neighbor is about 75 yards away with plenty of trees between us and I think the youngest is about 78. Guess who they call when in need…especially when we have to use our generators…US! lol but we sure love all of them.


-- Bruce Free Plans

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 4850 days

#10 posted 09-15-2009 08:07 AM

I vent mine out the back wall. My shop is on three acres of family land. And my back wall faces down a steep-sloping hill. I also dump a lot of my dust/chips/wood waste down the hill too. Its perfect for my situation but cant work for everyone. I live in coastal California so the heating/cooling is not a problem, and my shop is 100 yards away from the house.

Good discussion. Interesting note about walnut dust killing trees. I never thought of that.

-- Happy woodworking!

View BTKS's profile


1989 posts in 4440 days

#11 posted 09-15-2009 04:21 PM

I’ve been considering the same thing. I was going to vent under the wing shed but considered the dust layer. I was going to use a baffled box to slow the air and let dust settle before exiting. I know it wouldn’t catch it all but it’s mostly garden stuff and stored lumber anyway. Was talking to the wife while reading this, she suggested just letting it vent between the barns and letting it settle in the yard that may become horse lot anyway. I don’t have immediate neighbors to worry about, yea!!!!!!!!!
Another advantage I’ve been told, is when the bags and exhaust resistance is removed, the static pressure goes way up and dramatically increase collection ability.
There’s my rambling and two cents. I’m going to give it a try. BTKS

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

View JasonWagner's profile


555 posts in 4156 days

#12 posted 09-16-2009 01:24 AM

I’m going to be mounting the blower up near the ceiling on a concrete wall, run the exhaust a few feet with 6” pipe and out some sort of self-closing vent. The intake will be a straight shot down to the floor where my separator is with a three gang box nearby. This might take a week or two but I’ll post some results when I’m done. Not a huge loss if I don’t end up keeping the setup.

-- some day I hope to have enough clamps to need a clamp cart!

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

3639 posts in 4413 days

#13 posted 09-16-2009 12:10 PM

I just had an inspirational mindstorm. Run the dust collector outlet into the attic. Let the rafters fill up with shavings. Apply for an energy credit for adding insulation and doing it the ‘green’ way. Use the money to purchase a proper dust collector with a high capacity filter.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View rustfever's profile


797 posts in 4286 days

#14 posted 09-17-2009 06:06 PM

Wow, I thought everyone felt the long arm of the ‘Air Quality control Board’ as I do in Central California. Were I to be caught without adequate collection system in position, I would surely be shut down and fined.

It is my understanding the complete nation will soon be under similiar air quality standards.

I would be fearfull of building a layer of dust under a deck, as a small spark may turn into a major event, all-to-quickly.

Just my $.02

-- Rustfever, Central California

View Mike Gager's profile

Mike Gager

665 posts in 4243 days

#15 posted 09-17-2009 09:29 PM

another thought about heating and cooling is you will in affect be sucking climate controlled air down the tubes so to speak

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