Pwalter5110

A two fold dust collection question

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Recently my furnace quit working. After talking to the HVAC guy, and paying $450 he said that the circuit board went bad because the furnace was overheating due to the A coil being clogged with dust. A month later, the furnace quit working again. The HVAC guy came out again, and this time a blower went bad, and when he took it out, he was full of dust. And all this was with me barely doing any woodworking the past 2-3 years since my daughter was born.

Now that my daughter is getting a little older, and I'm getting more time in the shop, I need to make sure I am keeping the dust down.

I have a rockler dust right dust collector directly connected to my drum sander

I have a shop vac connected to my miter saw.

I have a harbor freight dust collector connected to my jointer and planer.

But the thing that needs dust collection the most is my rigid r4512. SO much dust comes out of the top when I am working.

Do you have any suggestions on dust collection on the top of a table saw?

And do you think this is good enough to collect dust, and help protect the furnace?

 

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I run dust collection under the saw and above the blade with this shop made arm - it collects almost all the dust at the source.

 

You should also run an overhead air cleaner - it really helps get the dust that escapes the collector.

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+1 on the air cleaner.   If the furnace is in a separate room from the shop do all you can to limit air flow out of the shop around over or under doors and walls.  If there is a return air gill or intake in the shop put tape over it.  if it won't make the shop too cold, close heat vent to the shop.  You want less air pressure in the shop than in the rest of the house.

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dust shouldn't be able to make it to the blower or the A coil.  There should be a filter in the airflow before all of that, so you should check to make sure it's there (some people take them out when dirty and don't replace them) and that it fits properly.

+1 to what Ronn said.  Close any and all vents/grilles that might be in the shop area.  Think about air flow - you need to keep your dusty shop air from flowing into the heating system.

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29 minutes ago, Jfitz said:

dust shouldn't be able to make it to the blower or the A coil.  There should be a filter in the airflow before all of that, so you should check to make sure it's there (some people take them out when dirty and don't replace them) and that it fits properly.

+1 to what Ronn said.  Close any and all vents/grilles that might be in the shop area.  Think about air flow - you need to keep your dusty shop air from flowing into the heating system.

The furnace is actually only about 6 years old and Ive made a habit of constantly replacing the filter. I'm not exactly sure how the dust got in there, but it WAS in there. The A coil was so full, that I was pulling the dust off in layers. It was disgusting. 

There isn't a return in my shop either, so I have no clue how all of the saw dust even got in there.

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You have a filtration issue. Either the filters are of poor quality, or there is a leak allowing dirty air to bypass them. In the filter section at the store you will find filters that range from a buck or less to $40 or $50 each. The cheap ones are not much better than nothing & won't stop anything much smaller than a cat hairball. You need to spend some bucks to get decent filters.

If you go electrostatic (a good one) then your ongoing cost are nothing, but they're expensive up front.

Probably the most common casualty of a plugged filter or coil is the high limit switch failure. When airflow is reduced, the furnace overheats & the high limit cuts out. Those sensors will fail after several high limit events. Never heard of a circuit board failing because of that though.

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I'm with drzaius, if dust is getting where you describe, something is fundamentally wrong.  No air should reach your coils without passing through the filter.  If the unit was installed or closed up after service correctly (foil tape on all seams if there are not built-in gaskets) you need to look to the filter.  I had to chase down the guy after my last service since he tried to re-use the old tape.  You would think the walk out to the truck for a roll of tape to do the job right was going to kill him.

Your HVAC guy should have quizzed you about your filter type and schedule.  Like slapping a 40 tooth general purpose blade on your tablesaw, a "standard" filter will offer sub-optimal results in many situations.  If your pathways are sealed from non-filtered air and your filter type is the recommended type for your typical use then you just need to change them more often.  As you have learned, consuming $200 worth of filters is cheaper than consuming $50 worth of filter in the overall scheme of things.

I live in a desert basin.  Things are dry, hills are scrub, rock and dirt.  I need good weatherstripping and good filters and I need to change them monthly.  Skipping a filter change for a few months can result in the experiences you are having.  Find the sweet spot for your filter type and schedule and your general problem will be greatly reduced.
 

12 hours ago, Pwalter5110 said:

Do you have any suggestions on dust collection on the top of a table saw?

And do you think this is good enough to collect dust, and help protect the furnace?

You have learned what not taking action can cost you.  If you are generating that much spoil you are also damaging your health.  Unlike your HVAC problem, your health problem will show up later and there's no spare parts. DAMHIKT.

The rule of thumb is to get the best DC function you can afford.  I find that with adequate draw from below I only have problems with spoil at the top of the saw when cutting sheet goods which is rare.  For those times I have an overarm collector.  there are a range of these products to choose from as well as many shop-made versions on the web.  All are useless if you do not have a blower capable of moving enough air to operate them.

For a time I used a DC for below the table and just hooked up a shop vac to the overarm on the rare occasions that I used it.  My current overarm hangs from a peg near the tablesaw.  I can get it down, use it and hang it back up easily enough that I do use it.  This is important since you can have the coolest thing-a-ma-bob ever but, if it is a pain to use, you won't use it.

An ambient cleaner is a great add-on to an already well working system.  It is in no way a substitute for a collection system and I would spend on that last.  If you Dust Right is a bag unit, get a decent bag. A 5 micron bag!?! Seriously!?! Ground coffee has 5 micron particles in it.  Mold spores are only twice that size.  That is a dust spreader, not a dust collector. Save yourself! :D.

Seriously, consider a better filter element.  Sure .3 microns is good but, even if you only filter to 1 micron it will only be like working in a shop full of cigarette smoke.  When you think about it that way you can understand why dust collection is always the FIRST item on my suggested list of tools to get when starting out.

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I use a mid quality, electrostatic filter on my furnace (25-30 bucks for a 3 pack i think). If I get a really high end filter, isn't it much harder for the furnace to pull in air?  Is this a concern with really high end filters?

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This really depends on your system. I replaced an ancient Lennox static system with pleated high quality filters. The filter location is four inches deep where the old system cartridges were housed. Four inch deep pleates give a massive surface area to load. I did not notice a drop off in furnace effectiveness. At 30 years old, the furnace did not quickly fail either. 

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I appreciate all the advice. I do grab a value pack of filters everytime I'm at the hardware store. I honestly didn't think it would be a problem because the only return in my entire house is in my living room. And I didn't think that much saw dust was getting from the basement, to the upstairs, being sucked back down through the return. But the furnace was for sure full of dust. I do know that none of my duct work is taped off. Maybe I should tape off all the seems.

 

And as far as my table saw. I truly feel like the harbor freight dust collector is a huge upgrade to the dust right. And it is connected directly to the bottom of my table saw, but I still get a STREAM of saw dust from the back of the blade. After just a couple of cuts, my woodshop is full of dust in the air.

 

But the dust collector does a great job with the planer and the jointer

The dust right should get a better bag. The Dust Right collector is within 2 ft of my furnace right next to my drum sander. Probably isn't helping the situation at all.

 

 

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Is this furnace also heating your home? If it is, the furnace is also blowing this sawdust all over your house and affecting your whole family's health, not to mention the mess it;s leaving on everything. You need separate heating/cooling for your shop, and the very best quality pleated air filters that you can buy for the furnace. Seal the shop off from your home as best as you can and install a separate spark free heating/cooling system for your shop if you find that you need it..

Your furnace service man should have vacuumed out the unit as much as possible and suggested what to do to keep it from filling with sawdust again. He's a hack if he just replaces the broken parts and doesn't do anything to solve your problem. You need to buy top qualitypleated filters to keep even the smallest particles of sawdust from getting inside your furnace and into your house. It's going to be a big job to clean the furnace and ducts of all of the sawdust that is already in it, but you will need to or it will still be getting into the house..

There are companies that do duct work and furnace cleaning. They connect a huge vacuum system to your duct work with large hoses and then use extendable brushes and compressed air to get the dust loose from the inside of the furnace and it's ducts so it gets removed by the large vacuum system.  Have this done when the outside air temperatures are moderate, because your whole house will need to be open to allow air back in to replace what is being removed by this huge vacuum system.

When my shop was in the basement of my former home, keeping sawdust out of the heating/cooling system and out of the house was a constant battle. So much so that when I moved, I vowed to build a shop completely separate from the house. To heat and cool this new shop I have a window style heat pump mounted high and thru the North facing wall. I replaced the original foam filter that came in it with a top quality pleated 12 X 20 furnace filter that just fits under the plastic face cover of the unit. It now does double duty of not only keeping my shop at a comfortable temperature year round, but it cleans the shop air too. The filter needs to be changed often, like about once per month when I'm using the shop a lot, but the coils inside the unit and the motor area have stayed clean. I still give the whole unit a complete inside cleaning and lubricate the fan motor every Spring though.  

Whenever I work in the shop, I also take the time to brush and blow the sawdust off of me, my clothes, and my shoes before heading to the house. This has now completely solved my "sawdust in the house" problems.

Charley

 

 

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