Dust Collector Design Features for Easy Maintenance

How to avoid the mistake of purchasing a dust collector that requires more maintenance than it’s worth.

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Don’t get lured in by a low price or a name brand, and then forget the long term costs of maintenance on a dust collector.  To avoid the hassle of excessive and costly change-outs you will want to consider the benefits and features of each dust collector you look at, and how it can save you money now but also in the future.

Listed below are some of the easy maintenance design features to look for. These design features will help you save time and money over the lifespan of the dust collector, and you are going to want them included.

-On-demand cleaning for reliable performance and reduced wear and tear

-Cold climate kit to protect valves from freezing

-Modular design with low profile options for easy expansion and access

-Filter change-outs performed outside the collector

-No special tools or equipment required to perform change-outs

-Quick removal access filter covers

-Change-outs performed in 30 minutes or less

-Multiple cartridge filter options for a variety of applications

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What’s the right MERV Rating for my Dust Collector?

You’ve heard the term MERV rating before, but what is it exactly and how does it affect your dust collector?

What is a MERV Rating?

The term MERV is actually an acronym and stands for “Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value”. To put in in simpler terms it’s asking the question “How effective is your filter?”. MERV ratings are assigned numerical values based on the how efficient they are at capturing dust particles. The numerical values are typically rated between 1-16.

MERV & Dust Collector Performance

Now how does MERV rating impact your dust collector’s performance and why should it be important to you? To relate how we use MERV ratings in an everyday life scenario, you can simply think of it like a car rating on the website Kelly Blue Book. Kelly Blue Book is a website that allows you to check the rating and value of new and used cars based on their performance, price, mileage, and other factors that may be important to you as a consumer. When you go shopping for a new car you end up choosing one that’s going to have the characteristics to match your personal wants and needs. So how does this all relate to MERV ratings and your dust collector? Well, when it comes down to choosing the right filters for your dust collector you are going through the same process; you choose your filters based on the characteristics that most suit your facility’s needs. You’re going into the process knowing that you need to get the most optimal performance out of your filters.

Choosing the Right MERV Rating

Choosing the right filter and MERV rating for your dust collector is based on your application and the dust particles you need to capture. Higher MERV ratings are suited best for very fine particulate filtration applications.  For example, if you operate a dust collector in a woodworking shop and your dust particles are larger, a higher MERV rating isn’t important. However, if you operate a dust collector in a plant that has a plasma cutter which emits smoke and very fine dust particles, your application would benefit from filters with a higher MERV rating. You would see a performance difference because a filter with a higher MERV rating is more efficient at capturing small fine dust.

Tips & Tricks

One tip to avoid blinding your bags and causing your dust collector to work inefficiently is to change your filters frequently.  Don’t make your filters or the dust collector equipment work even harder than necessary, just because you are operating on an inefficient MERV rating.  Some other tips and tricks to avoid this and a baghouse emergency can be found in our related posts below.  You can also get our helpful MERV rating application chart if you are looking at a specific industry’s rating.

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Dust Properties and Choosing a Collector

Do you know your dust?  Consider your dust properties carefully to identify the best dust collection solution.

When you’re looking for dust collector equipment or filters you’ll need to get up close and personal with your dust!  Choosing the right collector based on your dust properties is really going to help you narrow down the diverse selection of equipment that can be daunting to choose from.  Consider the following dust properties carefully:

-Size: What is the size of the dust particles being filtered; fine or large?

-Density: Is the dust low in density like wood chips or heavy in density like fine steel dust?

-Chemistry: Will you be filtering any abrasive dust? Corrosive dust? 

-Temperature: Will you need to operate in a high heat environment?

-Moisture: Is there any moisture or oil present in the dust?

Now that we’ve considered your dust properties we can narrow down the selection of dust collectors that may be the best fit for your facility.  These are the three main types of collectors and what industries typically use them:


Baghouses are usually suited for large volume applications.  They will perform best when you have a large area or high volume of dust that needs to be captured.  For example, collecting more than one 55 gallon a drum per day and an airflow exceeding 1000 CFM would be considered high volume.  You will also see baghouses in high temperature applications.  Here are some industries that use baghouses:




Cartridge Collectors

Cartridge collectors can be more compact and modular than baghouses.  When you have height or space restrictions in your facility, a cartridge collector is going to be one of your best considerations.  A cartridge collector will work best when you are collecting a low volume of dust and  when you have a CFM of 500 or greater.  For example, less than one 55 gallon drum a day would be considered best.  The more common industries that use cartridge collectors:



-Paint/Powder Booths

Bin Vents

Bin vents are going to work best in applications where you are moving product from location to the other, and the dust being produced from that movement needs to be captured.  Just like a cartridge collector, bin vents are quite compact.  They handle a lower volume of dust and can handle between 400 – 10,000 CFM.  Some of the environments they work best in are:




Now that you have an introduction to dust properties, the most common dust collectors, and which one may work best for your application, you have enough information to get started on your next dust collector project.  You can also take advantage of our free Dust Collector Purchasing Guide that will help direct you to buying a dust collector that will provide you with the most optimal performance for your needs.

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How to Get the Right Air to Cloth Ratio 

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How To Get the Right Air to Cloth Ratio


Dust collector air to cloth ratio is a critical measure to ensure your air filtration system is performing efficiently at your operation.

Let’s first start in explaining what air-to-cloth ratio means. Air-to-Cloth ratio, which can also be known as Air-to-Media, is defined as a measurement of the amount of air passing through one square foot of filter media.

Generally the lower your air-to-cloth ratio, the more effectively your system is at removing dust -from the work environment. If operate on a higher air-to-cloth ratio, one of the common issues you will encounter is a decrease in suction. This is because there is too much dust being captured by an insufficient amount of filter media. The filter cake on your bag eventually builds up too quickly; resulting in a decrease in air velocity and suction. From there it becomes a domino effect; plant air quality decreases, filters clog quicker, valve life expectancy is impacted and you’ll be performing change-outs more frequently.

To calculate air-to-cloth ratio in your existing system, the simple formula is to take the amount of airflow (CFM) and divide that by the amount of filter area within your dust collector.  For example a cartridge collector would have a normal range of 4:1 air to cloth ratio.  Environments with a large ventilation area or more pick up points require a system with a higher CFM to provide adequate suction.  To see which air to cloth ratio may be right for your project, download our air to cloth guide which provides the recommended ratio for a wide variety of applications.

Why is right Air-to-Cloth ratio important?

  • Extend your filter life
  • You minimize your operating costs
  • Meet air quality goals and requirements
  • You are running your dust collector system at it’s peak efficiency

What are the negative effects of improper Air-to-Cloth ratio?

  • Poor venting causes damage to equipment
  • Incur high pressure drops
  • Impacts your air velocity
  • Excessive use of compressed air

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What to look for in a Dust Collector Supplier

Have you ever experienced late orders, high prices, and inconsistent customer service with your supplier?

Finding a reputable and responsive supplier is going to be important to you when you are trying to minimize production costs and emergencies while still staying within budget. Some of the characteristics that stand out when you deal with a quality supplier are:

Direct Phone Access to Dedicated Account Managers

Your time is valuable. Having your account manager’s direct phone number as well as receiving a live person when you call in is one of the distinguishable traits in a quality supplier. We hear too often people expressing their frustration that they simply can’t get a hold of a real person to talk to. In this world of voicemails, emails,and text messages it’s nice to hear a friendly voice that can help you out immediately.

In-Stock Products and Same Day Shipping

In the case of a dust collector emergency, you need a supplier who has a variety of replacement kits, valves, and filters in-stock and ready to ship that same day. You minimize production loss, avoid fines, and can solve your problem in less that 24 hour.

Warranty on Equipment and Parts

A reputable supplier is one who will stand by the product they sell. With a 1 year warranty you’ll be worry free knowing that you are able to get costs in workmanship issues repaired or replaced.

Above and Beyond Customer Service

The relationship you have with your supplier is important. You work with your supplier over the years and trust them to provide you with the best options for your dust collector at the lowest cost. A company you work with should strive for partnerships built on trust and long term customer satisfaction.

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