Dust Collector fire hazard question

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Forum topic by RussJohnson posted 07-22-2014 02:48 AM 1916 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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57 posts in 2632 days

07-22-2014 02:48 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question dust collector harbor freight fire safety

I just got my Harbor Freight 2hp Dust collector and I’m planning how I’m going to set up my basement dust system. I’ve found the optimal corner to set up my collector and run pipes to my tools. The only problem is that it is right next to my house’s fuse box.

Is there any danger of sparking from my breaker panel being right next to a large plastic bag full of wood dust?

Any other tips people have for setting up a basement dust collection system would be greatly appreciated.

6 replies so far

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6646 posts in 2530 days

#1 posted 07-22-2014 03:01 AM

dust combined with the right quantity of air can burn fast enough to look like an explosion. I’ve only heard of this with static electricity through the use of PVC (or similar) ducting pipes as they can allow for a voltage potential to build up to the point of arcing an igniting the dust. If you’re just using a regular plastic bag it’s extremely unlikely you’d ever come even close to generating a voltage potential that could generate an arc (even if you didn’t have a grounded plug). Hand held sanders with universal motors sparking away have had dust and air blown through them for half of forever and fires are few and far between to say the least.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

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#2 posted 07-22-2014 03:09 AM

I don’t think you can find an actual case of an explosion cause by static from PVC pipe on a HOME dust collection system. In a factory it is different but never in a home situation. if you use PVC pipe you may get static discharge from it and get a mild shock when you touch your machines. Do some personal study and see how many fires have been cause by such. If you have static or arcing in your circuit breaker panel you have other problems already.

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21127 posts in 2666 days

#3 posted 07-22-2014 03:18 AM

If you’re asking whether your breaker panel is gonna spark and set your sawdust on fire I would say, if your breaker panel is sparking you’ve got major electrical problems. If it is the case it may catch anything in the area on fire. Also, your dust collector runs on electricity, perhaps even 240 volts. There’s no more risk from the panel as from the electric that is running the equipment no matter where you locate it. The hazards with sawdust are that of a dust explosion as already noted and having wet sawdust that may spontaneously combust. You can avoid both of those pretty easily. Don’t throw it up in the air around a flame and don’t put water in the bag.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

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57 posts in 2632 days

#4 posted 07-22-2014 05:49 AM

Thanks guys.

firefighterontheside, you explained that in a way that makes a lot of sense.

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Shawn Masterson

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#5 posted 07-22-2014 02:28 PM

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513 posts in 2774 days

#6 posted 07-22-2014 02:38 PM

I agree with firefighterontheside (I retired after 31 years as a firemen), you have nothing to be concerned about as long as your panel is properly configured. When we moved into our current shop, it had been a cabinet shop several years prior. Some of the wall outlets were in need of replacement due to age. More than once, when we opened the outlet box we found them completely packed with sawdust.

In all my years, the only dust related fires I ever saw were in commercial shops and were caused by malfunctioning machines throwing sparks into the collection system.

-- Artisan Woodworks of Texas....

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