Using a dust collector as air cleaner?

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Forum topic by Sk1pp3r posted 01-01-2014 12:07 AM 1693 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Sk1pp3r's profile


66 posts in 2739 days

01-01-2014 12:07 AM

Topic tags/keywords: garage dust dust collector collector air cleaner cleaner

Just as the title suggests, would it be a effective to keep it running to clean the air in my small shop, (two car garage)? Can I take off the hose from whatever machine and just let it collect the surrounding air?

17 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10916 posts in 4614 days

#1 posted 01-01-2014 12:12 AM

To some extent, yes. Best practice is to vent the dust collector
outside and let it suck all the air out. This may not be
practical for you. Air cleaners capture finer dust particles
generally but it you can blow all the air to the outdoors
that’s almost the best solution. That’s why some
commercial woodshops put the dust collectors outside
(huge ones).

View b2rtch's profile


4921 posts in 4014 days

#2 posted 01-01-2014 12:13 AM

All depends on how good your filter is.
If you have a good filter (2 microns or less ) it should work just fine fr a small garage.
Or you could do as I did , build a air filter.

-- Bert

View Sk1pp3r's profile


66 posts in 2739 days

#3 posted 01-01-2014 12:27 AM

I’m thinking of getting the harbor freight 2hp collector and Wynn filter. I was thinking of just propping the hose up and let it run.

View Grandpa's profile


3263 posts in 3641 days

#4 posted 01-01-2014 04:18 AM

why not take the HF dust collector and fashion a big gulp type end on it with a filter system. This would stop the dust there but it would also give a larger are to draw into. It should work for this. Support the filters to keep them from going into the collector.

View Sk1pp3r's profile


66 posts in 2739 days

#5 posted 01-01-2014 04:35 AM

I still want to use it as the dust collector on machines, just wondering if after the cuts it would work ok to unplug the hose and keep it on?

View The Box Whisperer's profile

The Box Whisperer

678 posts in 3036 days

#6 posted 01-06-2014 03:43 AM

I was thinking something similar, and was going to build a box to hold furnace filters, and have a 4” access port. When Im not using it on other tools, or when Im finishing, I would run the air cleaner for 15 min at a time.

-- "despite you best efforts and your confidence that your smarter and faster than a saw blade at 10k rpm…. your not …." - Charles Neil

View CharlesA's profile


3458 posts in 2764 days

#7 posted 01-06-2014 04:07 AM

Interesting idea. Wouldn’t it be loud?

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View The Box Whisperer's profile

The Box Whisperer

678 posts in 3036 days

#8 posted 01-06-2014 04:35 AM

yes, it sure would! But I wear hearing protection anyway, and the air cleaner units Ive seen cost more then my DC. They probably work better too, but 300 bucks better?

-- "despite you best efforts and your confidence that your smarter and faster than a saw blade at 10k rpm…. your not …." - Charles Neil

View gmal's profile


19 posts in 2588 days

#9 posted 01-08-2014 02:11 AM

I bought a attic ventilator at BORG and built a box, with HEPA furnace filters. Total cost <$100 all told. Works great, as well as you are able to tightly fit those filters.

View Paul Mayer's profile

Paul Mayer

1146 posts in 4031 days

#10 posted 01-08-2014 02:27 AM

I do this all the time. If I am using a tool with poor dust collection like a belt sander, or just using the leaf blower to clean out the shop, I open up a couple blast gate and it does a great job of clearing the air. I have an air filtration unit that I almost never use because I fell that my dust collector does a better job. I have a .5 micron filter on my cyclone. As Bert suggested, I wouldn’t do this with a filter over 2 micron or so, or it will just serve to keep the fine dust particles airborn.

-- Paul Mayer,

View Krudwig's profile


51 posts in 2980 days

#11 posted 01-08-2014 02:38 AM

I just bought the hf 2 hp dust collector and have a small 16×20 shop and put the collector in a separate 3 foot closet for noise issues. I have the trash can thien chip separator and I’m really surprised at the amount of air it moves. I have built a separate ceiling air filter system that I copied out of a magazine , but it doesn’t move as much air as the
Hf dust collector moves. I think if you were to make a box with a filter and a 4 ” port in back you would be surprised how much ain’t you could filter. I ducted my collector outside and just plan on emptying the chip separator when needed. If you heat or cool your shop you would be dumping that air outside but with me it was not really and issue.

View bondogaposis's profile


5926 posts in 3317 days

#12 posted 01-08-2014 02:44 AM

In theory it should work, a typical 2 car garage is 7200 cu ft, at least that’s what mine is. I think the HF duct collector is rated at 1500 cfm. If you reduce to that to 1000 cfm for hose resistance and HF’s optimism, then it would be able to completely filter all of the air in the garage every 7.2 minutes. If you can vent it outside that would be a plus. For those of us that live in the North and spend a lot of money to heat our shops that is not viable.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5328 posts in 4926 days

#13 posted 01-08-2014 02:50 AM

Big Gulp or not, you’re only gonna use a 4” opening.
I use felted bags from Highland Woodworking on my HF DC. They do a good job, but my ambient air cleaner is on when I’m creating dust.

-- [email protected]

View Toller's profile


64 posts in 2566 days

#14 posted 01-08-2014 03:11 AM

It works, but why use a 20a dc when a 3a af works as well?

View Grandpa's profile


3263 posts in 3641 days

#15 posted 01-08-2014 03:23 AM

Bill, I think the reversed Big Gulp would give a larger target to draw air into. It would funnel down and I think it will pick up velocity as it goes through the 4”. If you place a 4 ” hose on the table top, you have a very small target. You house hold vacuum has a larger head that goes into a small hose. All other vacuums too I suppose. I think for cleaning the air you could have a decent volume of air going through some filters then funnel it into a 4” hose.

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