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Author Archives: Joyce Nagy

  1. Dust Collection Start-up Guide

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    To download a free PDF version of this Dust Collection Start-Up Guide simply click this link here.

    As factories and industrial plants resume production after a shut-down period, employers are faced with the responsibility of minimizing work hazards by instituting best practices and safety measures. This is where a dust collection start-up guide will help.

    Starting up your dust collection system the right way will make sure your equipment is operating properly while also protecting the safety of your workplace and workforce. The steps in this dust collection start-up guide will also ensure your system is in good working order so you don’t have to worry about an unexpected shutdown.

    To streamline your start up process and make it as hassle-free as possible, we’ve prepared a comprehensive checklist and action item notebook. These resources can help you address any issues promptly. Our guide is broken out into four sections:

    1. Best Practices for Dust Collection Start-Up
    2. Dust Collector Start-up Checklist
    3. Action Item Checklist
    4. Maintenance Questions to Consider

    Dust Collection System

    Part 1: Best Practices for Dust Collection Start-Up

    Power Down & Lock Out

    Before you begin start-up, maintenance or troubleshooting on your dust collection system, your first and most important step is to power down and lockout any machinery. Securing your baghouse for personnel entry can include locking down your rotary valve, locking your blower, or sealing off any adjacent baghouse compartments. Taking these initial steps provides a safe working environment and will
    ensure that accidents are minimal.

    Additional Watchman & Communication Plan

    Designate an additional crew member as a watchman. They should be present to ensure safety procedures are being followed and can immediately assist should any complications occur. It’s important to let your team know what work is being done, where, and at what time. This allows others to re-schedule any work that could impede on a safe start-up of your dust collection system.

    Combustible Dust

    If you are working with combustible dust, make sure the dust levels inside of your system are well below being explosive. Perform all hot work, like welding, well outside of the perimeter of your dust collector.

    Emergency Plan

    A total shut down and lock out of your dust collector will minimize safety hazards, but you shouldn’t hesitate to formulate a retrieval plan should an emergency occur.

    PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)

    OSHA requirements for protective gear will vary based on your application. Basic protection can include a hard hat, safety glasses, gloves, and a face mask. Before start-up or entry into your baghouse system, make sure that your crew is supplied with and compliant in wearing safety gear required for your application.

    Learn more about Baghouse Entry Procedures

    Part 2: Dust Collection Start-up Guide Checklist

    You can print,  electronically download the PDF, or  access the dust collection start-up guide on your phone or mobile device by clicking below.

    Click here to complete the checklist online

    Dust Collection Start-up Guide Checklist


    • Power down and lock out your dust collection system with lock in place before proceeding further.
    • Inspect hopper to ensure the discharge, including screw and rotary valve (if applicable) are free
      of debris.
    • Check the interior of your collector for signs of moisture. Is condensation inside the unit?
    • Perform visual inspection of filters. Filter should be as clean as possible with minimal
      dust cake. Dust cake should be dry, not sticky or caked on.
    • Check your cleaning system.
      • If you have a pulse jet unit – check your pulse cleaning system.
      • If you have a pulse jet unit – turn on header and listen for air leaks coming from your valves.
      • If you have a shaker unit – check your motor assembly.
      • If you have a reverse air unit – check to ensure bags are taut.


    • Make sure your fan is securely bolted to your unit.
    • Check to make sure the fan is sealed.
    • Check tension on all belts and drives
    • Check belts and chains for signs of wear, including cracking and stretch.

    For more detailed instructions download our Fan Maintenance Guide here>


    • Start up your system by powering on your control panel and your fan.
    • Check fan for excess vibration.
    • Check your controller to ensure all valves are running.
    • Check your differential pressure to make sure pressure is within limitsDust Collection Start-Up Guide Differential Pressure Chart
    • If your differential pressure is in the blue range noted above, perform a leak detection test.

    Part 3: Maintenance Action Item Checklist

    Record maintenance issues you’ve encountered during your start-up inspection that require attention below. Note the issue, part type, part number and quantity impacted. Download a PDF copy here.

    Part 4: Time Saving Maintenance Questions to Consider

    1. To eliminate unexpected plant shutdowns due to baghouse issues should you consider a spare set of filters and diaphragm repair kits
    2. Do you have an ongoing maintenance schedule in place? Download our standard maintenance checklist if you need one.
    3. Do you need to adjust your preventative maintenance schedule? If COVID-19 has altered your production and maintenance schedule, consider what you need to adjust going forward.
    4. Do you have the specs for each of your dust collector parts listed in one central location? If not, here is a sample spec template for Filter Bags and Cartridge Filters. Having this ready can help your dust collection supplier get you the right parts quickly, affordably and accurately.

    For more complimentary dust collection maintenance resources, visit our blog with over 50 articles on dust collection design and maintenance. You’ll find additional help on the following topics and more.

    About U.S. Air Filtration, Inc.

    U.S. Air Filtration was established in 1987 to serve the needs of industries requiring air pollution control systems. We aim to meet and exceed United States EPA standards for air quality. Over the years, we have worked on projects ranging from $20,000 to over $3 million. Our Founder, Engineering and Sales Personnel has been active in the industry for over 30+ years.

    To help our customers achieve peak production by providing exceptional service, products and expertise in air pollution control.

    Our values are the foundation for our actions as leaders, colleagues, employees and citizens. At U.S. Air Filtration, our values incorporate our conduct towards our customers, our suppliers, our fellow employees, and the general public.

    US Air Filtration Core Values

    U.S. Air Filtration Customer Service


  2. Baghouse vs Cyclone Dust Collector

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    Choosing the Right Dust Collection System

    There are two common approaches for using cyclone dust collectors, as a stand-alone system or as a pre-filtration unit paired with a larger dust collector. This article includes information on:

    Understanding these variables can help you identify whether a standalone cyclone system is best for your application or if you need to pair your cyclone with a larger dust collection system.

    US Air Filtration Baghouse Dust Collection System

    How Does a Cyclone Dust Collector Work?

    Cyclone dust collectors are small-scale stand-alone units that work to remove large dust particulates from the air using centrifugal force. The filtration process starts with dirty air being drawn into the cyclone dust collection system at a high speed. This high-speed motion works as a controlled “hurricane” inside of the cyclone. The “hurricane” motion allows larger particles to be pushed out and up against the cyclone walls. Then once the dirty air hits the walls of a cyclone, momentum slows down, which is enough to permit larger particles to drop out of the airstream and into a hopper beneath.

    Dust Characteristics, Capacity, CFM, and Cyclone Dust Collectors

    Understanding your Dust characteristics is the first step to understanding whether you need a baghouse, cyclone or both? 

    Cyclone dust collectors are ideal for applications dealing with large, coarse dust particulate. If your application contains a mixture of large and small dust particulate, you’ll likely need tofilter larger dust particulate out first with a cyclone and then direct the remaining gas stream to a larger baghouse that uses filters to handle finer particulate. This two-step filtration process helps prevent large particulate (e.g., wood chips) from creating unnecessary wear and tear on baghouse filters.

    Beyond dust characteristics, dust loading rates and CFM are factors when considering which dust collection system is best for a specific application. Because cyclone dust collectors are small-scale units, their capacity to handle dust particulate is finite. General dust loading rates can be between a 5-to-30-gallon drum. In terms of CFM, most cyclones operate anywhere around 1000 CFM or below.

    Baghouse Dust Collector for an Industrial factory

    Common Applications for Cyclone Dust Collectors

    Applications for Stand-Alone Cyclones:

    • Woodworking applications with only large dust particulate 
    • Agricultural applications with only large dust particulate

    Applications for a Baghouse or Baghouse and Cyclone System:

    • Woodworking (all)
    • Agricultural (all)
    • Mining & Minerals
    • Recycling
    • Pharmaceuticals
    • Paper Products
    • Chemicals
    • Rubber Plants
    • Food Manufacturing
    • Bulk Powder
    • Industrial Equipment and Machinery
    • And More!

    Food on a conveyor belt at a food manufacturing plant

    Advantages and Disadvantages of a Cyclone Dust Collector

    Cyclone dust collectors  are designed as a simple steel structure with no moving parts or filters. Because of this simplicity, the main advantages and disadvantages are:

    Advantages of a Cyclone:

    • Low up-front investment. There are a wide variety of models, but generally you can find a cyclone dust collection system ranges anywhere from $500-$3000.
    • Long-term cost savings on maintenance and repair
    • Paired with a larger baghouse, can increase the efficiency and life of filter bags or cartridges

    Disadvantages of a Cyclone: 

    • Low dust loading rates
    • Limited CFM capabilities
    • Low efficiency at capturing fine particulate
    • Unable to process sticky materials 
    • Application use is limited

    Benefits of a Cyclone with a Baghouse Dust Collection System

    In specific cases, an engineer may determine that your plant can benefit from pairing a cyclone with a larger dust collection system. Typically, processes that have a mix of large and small particulate are the ideal candidates for this type of setup. 

    A cyclone could be implemented as a pre-filtration system to eliminate any large, coarse particles that could damage a dust collector’s filter bags or cartridges further downstream. The result is an increase in the performance of a dust collection system and the service life of the baghouse filters. In certain cases, cyclones can also help to reduce dust loading into a baghouse with a high inlet entry. This method reduces internal velocities (e.g., can velocity) resulting in improved efficiency and increased filter life.

    To determine whether your application would benefit from a combination cyclone and larger dust collection system, some questions you may be asked include:

    Questions to Consider:

    • Do you have a dust analysis or DHA (dust hazard analysis)?
    • What’s the size of your particulate? Is it big? Small? Mixed?
    • How much dust are you filtering out in a given work shift?
    • Could your dust collection design incorporate an end inlet as an alternative? While there is no cyclonic action with an end inlet, the attributes are similar. An end inlet helps bring in the dust high, but as it hits a baffle, it redirects the air directly downward. In this scenario, heavy particulate hits the baffle, then slows down and drops out. Then rest of the air is kicked down below the bag, allowing your system to still have can velocity. The disadvantage to an end inlet is these types of baghouses tend to be considerably larger because there must be space for air to hit the baffle.

    Even in similar industries, plants will have different requirements and variables from one another that will determine the right dust collection solution. To get beyond the basics, we recommend speaking to an engineer who can help with your specific application and needs.


    To summarize, cyclones are limited in their capabilities. In certain conditions you could add a cyclone to be helpful and reduce dust loading on larger systems, but cyclones alone are not typically adequate for most industrial applications. At U.S. Air Filtration our engineers can help determine if the dust collection system you’re looking for would benefit from adding a cyclone. Our goal is to do what we can do to help save you costs, while also ensuring we are designing a solution that will perform long term.

  3. High Inlet versus Low Inlet Baghouse Design

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    A critical part of the dust collection design process is where to position your baghouse inlet. The purpose of the baghouse inlet is to draw dirty, dust laden air into the system so the air can be filtered.  In this article, we will focus on the design factors that help determine a system’s inlet placement (high versus low), can velocity, and the advantages of a high inlet versus a low inlet baghouse.

    Dust Collection System Design Factors

    When designing a dust collection system, we consider your dust properties and the characteristics of your work environment carefully to identify the best solution.  Below are the five most critical dust collection design elements.

    Dust Collection Design Factors

    During the design process, we consider two primary characteristics that influence baghouse inlet placement:

    • The amount of dust you are bringing into the collector
    • The heaviness of the dust

    When you have a large amount of dust and that dust is heavy, a dust collection system may benefit more from a low inlet design. When heavy dust enters the unit at the bottom of the system, the natural force of gravity will pull the dust down. Conversely when you have light to medium dust loading and very light dust, a dust collection with a high inlet design would typically be best.

    However, even in similar environments the dust loads, work environment, and space can vary drastically. Our best recommendation is to work closely with your U.S. Air Filtration equipment specialist. Understanding all the details and nuances to your specific project will allow us to make the best design recommendations.

    Dust Collection Assembly

    Can Velocity and Dust Collection Design

    Can velocity is the speed at which air moves from low in the baghouse to high. The higher the can velocity, the faster air moves up in the system.  We calculate can velocity based on your CFM, the size of the collector, and your space restrictions.

    During the design process, your equipment specialist can help determine if there will be a high enough can velocity that would require a high inlet. A high inlet will eliminate or counter can velocity. This way, dust can drop or if the dust is heavy enough, the dust will overcome upward air movement and drop out without issue.

    CFM, space restrictions, and dust loads are all straightforward questions. But depending on the answers provided there can be different results. Here are two different scenarios that could occur during the design process that require two different inlets.

    Baghouse Inlet Scenario 1:

    • No design preference for the inlet.
    • No space issues
    • In this case, it’s possible for a customer to have a system that’s designed to hold 700 filter bags, 8’ in length, with a low inlet. This scenario is possible with just about any type of dust. All that is needed to drive that air to cloth ratio down as low as possible, is to eliminate as much can velocity as you can. As a result, your dust collection system will work as intended with a low inlet design

    Baghouse Inlet Scenario 2:

    • No design preference for the inlet.
    • Yes, there are space constraints.
    • In this example, if there is only a 15’ by 15’ space to install a dust collection system, the system must be taller and require longer filter bags of 12’ to adequately handle the dust load. filter bag. By design, there will be a much higher can velocity even though the same air to cloth ratio is being used. This is because the filter bag is longer, the dust collector is thinner, more vertical rather than wider, and shorter. These factors all increase can velocity. Because the can velocity is higher, a high inlet would be required to allow better dust dropout.

    High versus Low Inlet Dust Collector Design Advantages

    When considering a high versus low inlet for your dust collection system, there are certain design advantages that are considered based on dust type and application. There are additional costs for a high inlet baghouse. If your project will allow for a low inlet design, then that’s the route we recommend. Our goal is to help you avoid spending more money than necessary both upfront and in long term maintenance costs.

    However, in certain situations it may be worth investing in a high inlet.  These situations include:

    • When you are worried about the dust not dropping out of the airstream
    • If you’re concerned the bags won’t clean properly
    • If you are afraid you are going to lose suction over time

    In these cases, it may be worth spending the extra money to design a dust collection system with a high inlet, to avoid these issues. You will also have the added benefit of avoiding additional maintenance problems down the road.

    Baghouse Design

    Additional Baghouse Inlet Options

    What if your application has light dust, but high dust loading? An additional option in this case would be an end inlet. This helps bring in the dust in high, but as it hits a baffle, it redirects the air directly downward. In this scenario, heavy part particulate hits the baffle, then slow down, and drop out. Then it kicks the rest of the air down below the bag, so you still have can velocity. However, we reduce the amount of dust in the airstream so much that can velocity is not as much of a concern as if it was just a standard low inlet baghouse. The disadvantage to an end inlet is those baghouses tend to be considerably larger because you must have space for that air to hit the baffle.

    The Design Process with U.S. Air Filtration

    Baghouse Design

    At U.S. Air Filtration, our V.P. of Engineering, generally recommends a low hopper entry or side entry inlet baghouse with a full blast height plate/drop-out box plenum, if the particulate from the process is highly abrasive and/or has a bulk density of greater than 70 lbs./CF. (I.e., Sand, silica, glass, etc.) If you have questions regarding this exception, please contact U.S. Air Filtration’s engineering department for further explanation.

    At U.S. Air Filtration, we understand that a dust collection project may just be one piece of a larger project for you. Our engineers are here to help solve your concerns and design a solution that best fits your application and facility. If you need to speak with an equipment specialist, please feel free to contact us at 888-221-0312 or email [email protected]. If you’re just starting your dust collection project, access our “Dust Collector Purchasing” article for more information on design considerations, airflow, air-to-cloth ratio, and more.

  4. Guide to Calculating Dust Collection CFM

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    CFM is a measurement of airflow related to air conditioning, heating and ventilation environments. In dust collection applications CFM measures the amount of air per minute that can be moved from a space.

    If you’re not familiar with how to calculate dust collection CFM, the process can be intimidating. In this article we will help you understand our approach to calculating CFM requirements for you. Along with the questions you should be asking your dust collection engineering firm to identify the optimal solution for your plant.

    Dust Collector Purchasing Guide

    Dust Collection CFM Questions to Consider

    • Where is your dust being created?
    • Are you using taps or hoods at the points of dust creation?
    • What type of dust are you working with?
    • What are your dust characteristics?

    One of the first questions we ask is, “Where is your dust being created?” This allows us to understand where your pick-up points are, and how many of those need to factor in when calculating your CFM.

    Methods of Dust Collection

    How Much Does a Dust Collector Cost

    Once we understand where the dust is being created, then the next question becomes, “What’s the best way to collect the dust at that dust creation point?” Three common methods are:

    1. Tap
    2. Hood
    3. Articulating Arm

    Many facilities include source taps at every machine. If there are no taps, then a hood or a smaller pickup point can be added. For example, a hood can be added above a table to capture dust if there is a need to constantly maneuver around the table.

    If there is movement happening around the machine in different ways (e.g., leaning over a machine) then there may be a need for an articulating arm. An articulating arm allows a way for the hood or pick up duct to be as close as possible to the actual creation of the dust. As U.S. Air Filtration helps you calculate the right CFM, we will work together with you to gather these details machine by machine.

    What’s Needed to Calculate CFM?

    You may not know the CFM you need, but here are the things you can provide that will allow us to help solve that for you.

    • How close can we get to the machine?
      • For example, if the machine has a six-inch tap, then we would know that would require a six-inch duct. Generally, when the machine is designed, your pickup points are also designed with the intention to efficiently capture dust.
    • Blueprint of your facility or a roughly drawn layout
      • This helps us understand the distances between the machines, walls, and where the dust collection system will be placed.
    • Photos of your machines. This helps us identify if you are using taps or hoods.
      •  Tap
        • If there are no taps, how are people using the machine?
        • Is the machine stationary?
        • Does someone need access 360 degrees around the machine?
      •  Hood
        • If there are no hoods, what is the size of the machine or table that’s creating dust? This helps us properly size a hood and with those dimensions we can look at velocity at the hood.

    Then, depending on the weight of the dust, we get a better understanding of the specific velocity needed to move the dust and the duct size that’s required. These two factors together can help us get to the right CFM for your dust collection project.

    Dust Collection Source Capture versus Room Capture

    Dust Collection CFM

    In the case of a grinding application, you may do all your grinding in one room and want to ventilate the entire room itself.

    While the initial calculations and process to ventilate one room may seem easier, it’s not necessarily the best in terms of cost. Our recommendation is to get as close as you can get to the source of the dust, which allows you to move less air. This can mean a smaller system, which can lower the price tag of your project while also capturing dust more efficiently.

    For an everyday example, let’s say you have dust all over your kitchen floor and you don’t want to vacuum every square inch of it. Then your option would be to try and suck the dust up through a hood. That requires you to pull a large amount of air very quickly, which in turn requires much greater force from the fan to capture the dust. In contrast to that, if you have a vacuum and a hose, then you can pick up everything closely using a very small amount of air and suction requirements.

    While it may be tempting to “just ventilate the room”, keep in mind that every CFM comes with a price tag. Moving 100,000 CFM versus 10,000 CFM is going to be more costly. The details that go into calculating your CFM may be cumbersome at first, but it will save you from spending a considerable sum of money in the long run.

    Negative Impacts of Miscalculating CFM

    The Dangers of an Undersized Dust Collector

    When designing a dust collection system, it’s best to err on the high side of CFM rather than the lower side. It’s very difficult is to make a dust collection system larger once it’s in place. It’s much easier, if necessary, to damper the fan down or add a smaller fan.

    Correcting for a larger than needed dust collection system involves adding more filter media. Upfront costs are slightly higher, but your system will work well, and you’ll be able to remove dust out of the way as you intended. The reverse isn’t true. If your system is too small, it’s very difficult to add filter media. Getting the dust out of your facility will always be an uphill battle. So, to reiterate when in doubt error on the high side.

    • If you underestimate CFM, you won’t capture the dust that you need to capture.
    • The system will not work the way it was designed. Therefore, you will spend a large sum of money on maintenance expenses due to increased wear and tear..
    • If you overestimate CFM, the dust collection system will work just fine, but long term you will pay 20%-30% more for a system.

    Advantages of Working with USAF

    U.S. Air Filtration Dust Collection Engineering

    One of the advantages of working with U.S. Air Filtration is that we have a team of engineers with over 40 years dust collection experience who can gather the details you provide and calculate the numbers to get you to the right CFM.

    Calculating CFM and designing a system is a complex engineering process.  We do all the leg work for you, so you don’t have to.

    If you would like to speak to an engineer about your specific project, contact us at 888-221-0312 or email [email protected]

  5. How to Select the Right Dust Collector Filter Bags

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    To download a free PDF version of this Dust Collector Filter Bags Guide simply click this link here.

    Choosing the right filter bags for your dust collection system is critical to ensuring long term, reliable performance of your collector and the safety of your employees. Our guide will help you understand your facility’s unique dust properties and provide an overview of various filter media, construction, and treatment options available.

    We’ve organized our dust collector filter bags guide into these key topics:

    Top Factors to Consider for Dust Collector Filter Bags

    1. Understanding Your Dust Properties
    2. Dust Testing
    3. Common Filter Media
    4. Filter Bag Finishes
    5. Filter Bag Construction
    6. Air-to-Cloth Ratio
    7. Additional Resources

    Understanding Dust Properties

    Understanding Dust Collection Dust Properties

    Choosing the right filter media for your dust collection system is critical to achieving peak performance while reducing system wear, plant downtime, and extending filter life. The first step is to consider the properties of your dust particulate and review the following:

    • Product – What  you  are filtering?  Does your product contain a moisture or oil? Products with moisture content greater than 25% are not suited for a dry dust collection system (baghouse, cartridge collector or bin vent). Products containing hydrocarbons, including oils, may require the application of special treatment to your filter media for optimal
    • Temperature – What is your typical operating temperature? Max temp? Media temperature ranges for dry dust collection can typically be sorted into three categories listed below:
      • < 275°F – Polyester filter media performs very well for ambient airflow temperatures in this range.
      • Between 275°F and 400°F – Aramid filter media is the optimal choice for temperatures in this
      • Between 400°F – 500°F – Fiberglass filter media is the most economical option for high-temperature applications; however  depending  on the type of dust, another filter media may be a better

    Once you understand the temperature of your work environment, you can narrow down your filter media options and in many cases, apply a special treatment to the media to further improve performance. Treatment application can be an efficient way to minimize costs before considering a more expensive filter media.


    Does the airstream or dust contain chemicals that could damage the filter media? Are their acids or alkalines in the airstream? Often when certain compounds are combined during processing, a chemical reaction can occur, which may require a specific media treatment or coating on your filter bags to protect the bags from accelerated wear.


    How abrasive is the dust being filtered? Consider the hardness of the material that’s being filtered along with the shape of the dust. The velocity of your airflow can also make your dust more abrasive. If you are designing a new dust collection system, it’s important to engineer the ductwork, fan size, and unit placement to ensure the airstream is not entering your dust collector too quickly or too slowly.

    Particle Size

    What size dust particulate are you collecting? Depending on your emissions requirements, your application may require a special membrane. This will apply if your particulate is very fine.

    Is Your Dust Combustible?

    Combustible dust can be defined as any fine material that has the ability to catch fire and explode when mixed with the proper concentration of air. Examples of combustible dust include wood , food products such as grain, sugar, flour, starch, metals, rubber, chemicals, pesticides, plastics, and more. To protect your plant and your employees from the risks of a serious explosion, carefully consider OSHA and NFPA guidelines and be sure to review your state and local regulations for proper identification and management of combustible dust.

    OSHA Standards

    Implement and maintain OSHA’s set of standards regarding combustible dust. When you adhere to OSHA’s set of standards, you are creating a safe work environment, avoiding property and economic loss from an explosion, and avoiding regulatory fines.

    NFPA Guidelines

    Make sure you are meeting codes outlined by the NFPA (National Fire Protection Agency) . The NFPA publishes a list of guidelines that will help you minimize injury or death from combustible dust. The following regulatory codes are related to the most combustible types of dust (e.g., sugar, wood , fine aluminum):

    • 664, Standard  for the Prevention of Fires and Explosions in Wood Processing and Woodworking Facilities
    • 484, Standard for Combustible Metals
    • 61, Standard for the Prevention of Fires and Dust Explosions in Agricultural and Food Processing Facilities

    Dust Testing

    Dust Collection Dust Testing

    Dust testing may also be performed to assess the properties of your particulate and ensure proper filter selection and performance. This option may be ideal for new facilities and large applications . If you have an existing plant and many of your filter bags have failed prematurely with no consistent pattern, and there are no signs of workmanship  error, it  may be necessary to perform laboratory testing to find out if changes in the airstream could be compromising the bags.

    Common Filter Media

    Common Baghouse Filter Media


    Polyester media is an economical option with excellent filtration properties and is widely available. This makes polyester the most common filter media used across many industry applications. Polyester has an operating temperature limit of 275°F and comes in both needled felt and woven medias. Both needled felt and woven polyester  can  be treated with several finishes and membranes  to  increase the efficiency and filter bag performance in varying operating conditions.


    Aramid, also known as Nomex, is used in applications with high temperatures and has excellent filtration and abrasion properties. The operating temperature limit for aramid is 400F which makes it a  great choice for applications such as asphalt batch plants, furnaces, and dryers. Both needled felt and woven aramid can be treated with several finishes and membranes to increase the efficiency and filter bag performance in varying operating conditions.


    Fiberglass is often used in baghouses with temperatures ranging up to 500°F. Since fiberglass media is typically woven, the efficiency of a plain fiberglass media is lower than most felts. However there are several different membranes and finishes that can be added to fiberglass to increase filter efficiency and performance in harsh baghouse conditions. These finishes and membranes make fiberglass a versatile media for  applications  with high temperatures. You’ll see  Fiberglass  media used in industries such as energy, cement/ concrete/aggregates, and agriculture. Different membranes, coatings and finishes can be added to fiberglass media to increase performance in certain applications. This makes fiberglass a versatile media for applications with high temperatures.


    P84 media has a high temperature rating of up to 500°F. This filter media handles acids better than fiberglass and also results in less abrasion to the filters due to filter media flex.

    Teflon (PTFE)

    Teflon (PTFE) is one of the highest performing filter medias available for  a wide range of applications and is also the most expensive. It bears well against chemical and acid resistance, high temperatures, and moist heat. Teflon membrane can also be applied as a treatment on other filter medias to further extend filter life and reduce system wear.

    For more information on other media types in the dust collector industry (e.g. PPS, Acrylic, and Polypropylene) access our Fabric Characteristics Chart below.

    Dust Collector Filter Bag Characteristics Chart

    Filter Bag Finishes

    Filter Bag Finishes

    Benefits of Filter Bag Finishes

    • Lengthen the life of your filter bag
    • Better dust cake release (reduced valve pulsing = reduced compressed air consumption)
    • Achieve more consistent airflow
    • Reduces downtime and maintenance

    Filter media fabrics can be made from both natural and synthetic fibers, although synthetic fibers are more common today. As we have seen in the previous section, different fibers provide each media with different  performance  characteristics. Most medias today are pre-shrunk and include  some type of finish to improve media performance.  Finishes for felt and woven bags can be different as we will see below.


    This process is the scraping  of  the  filter  surface  across  metal points  or burrs on a revolving cylinder. Napping raises  the  surface  fibers,  creating  a  “fuzz”, that provides a large number of sites for particle collection by interception and diffusion. Fabrics used for collecting  sticky or oily dusts are sometimes  napped so they can provide better collection and an easier cleaning process.


    Coatings , or resin treating , involves  immersing the filter  material in a resin which can add certain characteristics to the filter media. For  example,  fiberglass threads can be coated with Teflon to prevent abrasion during bag cleaning and silicon graphite to aid in acid resistance.

    Filter Bag Construction

    Filter Bag Construction

    The construction of your filter bags is dependent on your baghouse style, application, and other requirements specific to your facility. Below is a brief summary of how each type of baghouse works.

    The three main baghouse styles available include:

    • Pulse jet
    • Reverse air
    • Shaker

    In each baghouse style there are a variety of filter top and bottom configurations that can be used. Some top and bottom configurations are meant for a specific baghouse style, and other configurations can be used across multiple baghouse styles.

    Pulse Jet

    Pulse jet baghouses collect dust on the outside of the filter and clean filters from the inside out with a jet or pulse of clean air. Dirty air enters the baghouse and is forced to pass through the filter bags to exit the baghouse. As air pass through the bags, dust is filtered out and collects on the outside surface of the filter bags. This buildup of dust on the outside of the filters is known as a “filter cake.” The filter cake aids in filtration by trapping smaller particles as the dirty air passes through the filter cake and bag. Pulse jet baghouses offer a wide range of filter media, making it an excellent fit for most applications.

    Reverse-Air or Shaker

    In a baghouse using reverse air or shaker cleaning systems, the particulate is collected on the inside surface of the bag. The dust-laden gas enters the dirty side (inlet) of  the  collector  and  flows up through the bag. The particulate is filtered by the dustcake and the fabric, and clean air exits through  the outside of the  bag.  Shaker and reverse  air bag top and bottom designs vary by cleaning system and original equipment manufacturer.

    Reverse air and shaker style baghouse both collect dust on the inside of the filter bag. Reverse air baghouses reverse the flow of air through the baghouse in order to clean the filter bags while  shaker style baghouses clean the filter bags by moving them back and forth in a shaking motion. The buildup of a filter cake is important with these style collectors as it greatly aids in filter efficiency.

    Both pulse jet and reverse air/shaker style baghouse come in a number of different bag constructions and understanding the requirements of your specific baghouse is important to ensure proper filter bag fit.

    Air-to-Cloth Ratio

    Air to Cloth Ratio

    Dust collector air-to-cloth ratio is a critical measure to ensure your collector is performing efficiently.

    Air-to-cloth ratio, also known as air to media ratio, is a measurement of the number of cubic feet per minute of air passing through one square foot of filter media.

    Generally, a lower air-to-cloth ratio, the more effective your system is at removing dust from the work environment. When determining an appropriate air-to-cloth ratio, there are several factors to consider, including application, type of dust, moisture levels, inlet loading, etc. If the air-to-cloth ratio is higher than recommended, some common issues can arise, including increased differential pressure, frequent filter changeouts, and varying or reduced suction at pickup points. These issues are a result of not having enough filter media to handle the air flow and dust load effectively. As the dust cake builds on the filters, the airflow is restricted and slows, resulting in a decrease in air velocity and suction. From there it becomes a domino effect: air quality decreases, filters clog quicker requiring more changeouts, pulse valves see increased wear, and facility production may be impacted.

    Why is the right Air-to-Cloth ratio important?

    • Ensures dust collector is running efficiently
    • Minimizes operating costs
    • Maximizes filter life
    • To meet air quality goals and requirements

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

    • Increases maintenance which can impact production
    • Reduced air velocity resulting in poor ventilation at pickup points
    • Increased compressed air consumption
    • High differential pressure and increased system wear

    Download the chart below for a summary of recommended Air-to-Cloth ratio for a variety of industrial applications.

    Air to Cloth Ratio Chart

    Dust Collector Filter Bags Additional Resources

    Filter Bag Media Quiz

    Finding the right filter bag can be overwhelming, confusing and time consuming. There are so many options and it’s hard to know which  will work best for your application. Or if there is a better option out there that will get you better performance.

    To get you to the right solution, take this interactive filter media quiz. You’ll immediately receive:

    • Recommendations on the best filter media options for your unique application.
    • Filter media characteristics chart with media specs and pricing.
    • No obligation price quote for your filter media within 24 hours.

    Dust Collector Filter Bags Media Quiz

    Selecting the right dust collector filter bags will keep your employees and your operation safe and at peak performance. We hope this information is a helpful resource for you. For tips and troubleshooting guides, check out our article on dust collector maintenance.

    If you have specific questions about your application and filtration needs, call today at 888-221-0312 or email us at [email protected] One of our dust collection specialists can assist you with your dust control challenges. If you have an upcoming dust collection project and need assistance, read Dust Collector Purchasing Guide or contact one of our equipment specialists at the number above.

  6. Dust Collector Maintenance Guide

    1 Comment

    To download a free PDF version of this Dust Collector Maintenance Guide simply click this link here.

    Our dust collector maintenance guide contains troubleshooting and maintenance tips to keep your dust collection system running at peak efficiency.

    Table of Contents

    1.USAF Pulse-Jet Baghouse Dust Collector Features10. Cartridge Dust Collector Change Out Instructions
    2. USAF Cartridge Dust Collector Features11. Dust Collector Troubleshooting
    3. Five (5) Most Commonly Replaced Dust Collector Parts12. Baghouse Entry Procedures
    4. When is it time to change your filters?13. How Differential Pressure Works In Your Dust Collector
    5. How to Detect a Dust Collector Leak14. Guide to On-Demand Cleaning
    6. How to Install a Snap Band Dust Collector Filter Bag15. Dust Collector Preventative Maintenance Plan
    7. My Pulse Valve Is Not Working What's 7. Wrong?16. Dust Collector Maintenance Checklist
    8. How to Replace Your Dust Collector Diaphragm Valve17. Dust Collector Start-Up Check List
    9. How to Replace the Solenoid’s in Your
    Pulse Valve
    18. Maintenance Action Item Check List

    5 Most Commonly Replaced Dust Collector Parts

    5 Commonly Replaced Dust Collector Parts

    Watch Video Above

    Proper upkeep of your dust collector is essential to long term health and performance. As your dust collector ages, system parts will be prone to wear and tear. To keep your system at peak performance, take note of the five most commonly replaced dust collector parts and how you can identify maintenance issues.

    5 Most Commonly Replaced Dust Collector Parts:

    1. Timer board
    2. Solenoid Kit
    3. Diaphragm Kit
    4. Valves
    5. Filters

    To know when it’s time to replace your parts, look out for these common warning signs. The more you are prepared now, the better you will be at avoiding the high costs that quickly escalate with unscheduled downtime.

    Timer Board

    • No power to the timer board
    • Pulse valve not pulsing
    • Pulse valve leaking air due to small electrical charge coming from timer board


    • Leaking pulse valve
    • Pulse valve wont fire/pulse
    • Rubber on plunger is worn
    • Solenoid post is bent
    • Plunger is rusted/corroded and can’t move freely

    Diaphragm Kit

    • Pulse valve is leaking air
    • Weak pulsing
    • Filter bags not being cleaned, increased differential pressure
    • Is your spring broken?


    • Leaking air even after replacing diaphragm kit and checking solenoid and timer board
    • Stripped or damaged threads
    • Cracking on valve housing
    • Stops pulsing
    • Pulse is weak
    • Filters aren’t cleaning properly


    • High differential pressure
    • Loss or reduction of velocity/ suction at pick-up points.
    • Dusting from dust collector exhaust

    When is it Time to Change Your Filters?

    When is it time to change your baghouse filters?

    Watch Video Above

    How do you know when it’s time to change out the filters in your dust collector? The video above walks you through the troubleshooting steps you can take to determine if it’s time for a filter change out.

    There are typically two reasons people change out their filters:

    1. The build-up of filter cake is so excessive that it is blinding your filters.
    2. You have a hole/leak in your filter(s).

    Influences on the Life of a Filter

    The following are several factors that impact the life of your filters:

    Air to cloth ratioCleanliness of compressed air
    Volume of dust loadingPresence of chemicals – oils, acids, etc.
    Size of dustOperating temperature
    Presence of membranes or coatingsFrequency of cleaning cycle
    Dust characteristics (powdery, sticky, shape)Average differential pressure
    Air velocity through the filtersProper cage fit
    Moisture in the dustProper installation
    Ambient air moisture

    How to Detect and Solve a Dust Collector Leak

    Dust Collector Leak Powder

    Watch Video Above

    Have you noticed a continuous emission of dust from your collector? It’s usually indication that the problem is inside your system and a common culprit is a leak in your filters. Here are some of the more common causes to look out for.

    Causes of Leaking Dust Collector

    • Missing or dislodged filters
    • Seal has been compromised or damaged
    • Broken seams on bags
    • Filter(s) have a hole

    If you’re not able to diagnose your problem with a quick visual observation, then a simple die test is your next step. A die test uses fluorescent leak powder and concentrates it at it’s entry points into the clean air plenum. It’s these entry points that are your leaks. Check out the short video guide above that talks about the main causes, how to perform a test, and how much leak powder you’ll need for your dust collector system.

    How to Install a Snap Band Filter Bag

    How to Install a Snap Band Filter Bag

    Watch Video Above

    Time for a change out or need to install new filter bags? Learn how to properly install a filter bag into your dust collector’s cell plate in the video above.

    A double beaded snap band filter bag can be used in a wide variety of dust collectors. In a pulse-jet or reverse air dust collector, you’ll typically see it as the bag’s top configuration. In a shaker dust collector you may see the snap band as a bottom configuration. The snap band is a flexible steel band double beaded gasket that helps create a dust tight seal. You may have also heard of the snap band referred to by other names such as:

    Double Beaded Snap Band Names

    • Beaded Snap Band Top
    • Snap Band Top (Double Beaded and not the same as a single snap band top)
    • Double Beaded Snap Ring

    My Pulse Valve is Not Working, What’s Wrong?

    My Pulse Valve is Not Working, What's Wrong?

    Watch Video Above

    Is your dust collector showing signs of trouble? It could be your diaphragm valve.

    Have you ever had a pulse valve in your dust collector stop working? In this video we will be helping you troubleshoot your dust collector valves and various issues that might be causing the problem.

    Common Symptoms of a Worn Out Diaphragm

    • Rubber has crack or holes in it
    • Diaphragm kit is pitted, allowing air to leak through
    • Any holes tears or imperfections indicate it’s time to change it out
    • Is your spring broken?

    Once you’ve diagnosed your issue down to an old worn out diaphragm, you’ll need to get it replaced. The short video above provides step-by-step instructions on changing out a diaphragm, as well as some helpful tips.

    How to Replace Your Solenoid Valve

    How to Replace Your Repair Kit

    Watch Video Above

    Are the solenoid’s on your pulse valve damaged? Learn the warning signs and how to replace your solenoids.

    In the video above, we’ll walk you through how to replace a broken solenoid. If your has any of these symptoms below, you’ll need to get it replaced before it escalates into a larger maintenance issue with your dust collection  system.

    Warning of a Damaged Solenoid

    • Rubber parts are worn
    • Solenoid post is bent
    • Plunger is get pitted
    • Due to environmental conditions, the coil itself has suffered an electrical short.
    • This results in weakened copper wires.

    Cartridge Dust Collector Change Out Instructions

    Cartridge Dust Collector Change Out Instructions

    Watch Video Above

    Filters are one of the 5 most commonly replaced dust collector parts. Getting your filters replaced quickly and accurately will help you avoid a costly shut down. In this video below, we are showing how easy it is to change filters in a USAF cartridge collector in less than 30 minutes.

    Removing Filters

    1. Remove outer door/handle assembly by turning the outer handle counterclockwise. Set outer door/handle assembly aside once free of dust collector.
    2. Remove inner door/handle assembly by turning the inner handle counterclockwise. Set inner door/handle assembly aside once free of dust collector.
    3. Remove filters by grabbing bottom of filter and pull straight out – being careful as filter may be dirty.

    Installing Filters

    1. Insert new filter cartridge into the dust collector with the gasket facing the cell plate (gasket side first).
    2. Insert second cartridge, if necessary depending on your DC model, in the same manner as the first (gasket side first).
    3. Take inner door/handle assembly and thread onto the rod by turning clockwise. Tighten the inner door/handle assembly so it compresses the cartridge filter gaskets by roughly 50%. This ensures the filters seal against the cell plate and the inner door seals the back of the cartridges.
    4. Take the outer door/handle assembly and thread onto the rod by turning
    5. Tighten the outer door/handle assembly until the outer door gasket is compressed against the dust collector creating an air tight seal.
    6. Caution: Be careful not to over tighten doors as the doors may bend or threads
      on handle and rod may be damaged. Tighten by hand.

    Caution: Do not use sharp instruments or unusual force when installing filters. They are fragile!

    Dust Collector Troubleshooting

    Dust Collector Troubleshooting

    Are you having problems with your dust collector? Troubleshoot your dust collector now.

    Is your dust collector showing signs of trouble ahead? Keeping your dust collector healthy will prevent unscheduled down time, production loss, or a costly shutdown. Here are some of the common indicators your dust collector is having issues, and how you can troubleshoot them.

    High Pressure Drop

    1. Check timer indicator lights to see if it is functioning properly and pulsing the valves. Replace fuse or timer.
    2. Check air pressure line regulator for proper pressure and leaks. Maintain 80 to 90 psi in header.
    3. Check hopper discharge and 55 gal drum lid for leaks allowing re-entrainment of dust. Repair seal or joints if leaking.
    4. Check differential pressure lines (tubing) for plug or breaks allowing faulty readings.
    5. Moisture in the dust causes a hard dense cake, which may blind the filter media.
    6. Check air supply for clean dry, oil-free air. Faulty air systems will coat the filter on the inside and blind the filter causing high-pressure drop and premature
      replacement. Always maintain clean dry air for the cleaning system. Attempt to dry the tubes by circulating clean warm air through the collector and going through several cleaning cycles. Empty the hopper. Check the process to prevent condensation. If Nanofiber cartridges are exposed to high moisture, water or liquids of any kind they may need to be replaced.

    A Reduction in Pressure Drop Accompanied by a Dirty Exhauster Output

    1. One or more filters may have holes in them or have damaged seals. Perform colored fluorescent die test to identify, if possible. Repair/replace, as necessary.

    Continued Drain on Air Supply

    1. A solenoid valve may be stuck open or a diaphragm may be ruptured.

    This can be detected by listening to each valve at the unit for constant airflow noise. Inspect rubber diaphragms and or solenoid seals and replace as needed. Open top doors and identify which blow pipe the air is flowing from. In turn this will identify the failed valve or solenoid assembly. Inspect diaphragm valve for failed diaphragm or small particle seated on diaphragm. Clean or replace as warranted.

    Baghouse Entry Procedures

    Baghouse Entry Procedures

    Performing maintenance or troubleshooting the interior of your baghouse can be dangerous. Here are some basic baghouse entry procedures to minimize your risk for accidents and hazards.

    Power Down & Lock Out

    Before you begin any maintenance or troubleshooting on your dust collection system, your first and most important step is to power down and lockout any machinery. Securing your baghouse for personnel entry can include locking down your rotary valve, locking your blower, or sealing off any adjacent baghouse compartments.

    Also, make sure to shut off the compressed air supply to the  pulse jet cleaning system and allow the system to cycle until the pressure is relieved before entering the baghouse. Taking these initial steps provides a safe working environment and will ensure that accidents are minimized.

    Safety in a Confined Space

    The inside of your dust collection system is almost always defined as a “confined space”. No matter the application, it’s best to ensure you have safety guidelines in place whenever entry into your baghouse needs to occur. Here are some of the general safety precautions you can take. Designate an additional crew member as a watchman. They should be present at the entrance point to ensure safety procedures are being followed and can immediately assist should any complications occur.


    It’s important to let your team know what work is being done, where, and at what time. This allows others to re-schedule any work that could impede on safe entry into your baghouse.

    Combustible Dust

    If you are working with combustible dust, make sure the dust levels inside of your system are well below being explosive. All hot work, like welding, should be performed well outside of the perimeter of your baghouse. If hot work must be done
    inside the baghouse, thoroughly purge the space with clean air until dust is no longer present.

    Emergency Plan

    A total shut down and lock out of your baghouse will minimize safety hazards, but you shouldn’t hesitate to formulate a retrieval plan should an emergency occur while employees are in inside the confined space.

    PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)

    OSHA requirements for protective gear will vary based on your application. Basic protection can include a hard hat, safety glasses, gloves, and a face mask. Before entry into your baghouse system, make sure that your crew is supplied with and compliant in wearing safety gear required for your application. You can find additional information on OSHA’s website about personal protection equipment hazards and solutions:

    Guide to Differential Pressure

    Guide to Differential Pressure

    Watch Video Above

    Differential pressure is a critical tool to make sure your dust collector is operating properly. In the video above, we’ll answer these top questions about differential pressure and how to use differential pressure to keep your dust collector at peak performance.

    Top Questions about Differential Pressure

    • What is differential pressure?
    • How does differential pressure work?
    • How can I use it to better maintain my dust collector?
    • What do sudden changes in differential pressure mean?
    • My differential pressure reading is high. What can I do to fix it?
    • My differential pressure reading is low. What can I do to fix it?
    • What differential pressure should my dust collector be at?

    Since every dust collection system is different DP readings are relative and should be compared to the collectors baseline levels.

    A dust collector with brand new filters usually sees a DP reading of one to two inches. As the filters age and become more entrained with dust the differential pressure levels over time, near the end of the filters life the DP will be around six
    inches and stay there even after the cleaning cycle has run.

    Running a collector consistently above six is not recommended since it will likely cause a noticeable drop in plant suction and lead to faster dust entrainment and shorter filter life.

    Guide to On Demand Cleaning

    Guide to On Demand Cleaning

    Watch Video Above

    Pulse Jet Technology and On Demand Cleaning

    Pulse jet cleaning is the most common type of dust collector available today and makes up nearly 50% of all new dust collector installations. In a pulse jet dust collector, filter bags are cleaned when a high pressure jet of air, or compressed pulse, is sent through the system to shock the bags and remove and fracture the dust cake. One advantage of pulse jet dust collectors is the bags can be cleaned while the dust collector is still running so plant production and processing can continue without interruption.

    It’s important that bags are cleaned regularly to improve airflow through the system, prevent plugging from dust build up, and improve pick up velocities. But it may be time consuming and labor intensive to know how frequently and how often the bags need to be cleaned. On demand cleaning is an automated cleaning system for your dust collector that can improve your dust collectors efficiency and performance while reducing energy consumption and labor costs.

    How On Demand Cleaning Works

    In a pulse jet dust collector, as dust starts to cake on the bag the differential pressure between the dirty air environment and the clean air environment increases. With on demand cleaning, the control panel is set by the operator to clean the bags only when the differential pressure reaches a high range, then the system will pulse down to a lower range. Cleaning pauses until the differential pressure reaches the high range once more and the system will automatically pulse down again. This continues as an ongoing cycle that is performed the entire time your dust collector is running.

    Check out the video above to learn more about what on-demand cleaning can do to improve your dust collector and your operation.

    Dust Collector Preventative Maintenance Plan

    How do you ensure your dust collector is running at peak efficiency? By being proactive with a maintenance plan.

    Following a maintenance plan for your bin vent or cartridge collector will help you address any issues before they create a larger issue. Some benefits include:

    On-Going Maintenance Procedure (may not apply to all models)

    1. . Check compartment differential pressure model inside the panel for normal
    operating range
    10. Air Moving Equipment: Fans should be mounted on rigid foundation or supports.
    For specific requirements, see fan manufacturer instructions in this manual.
    2. . Observe if timer properly operates all pulse valves11. Check the anchor bolts periodically to see that the vibration has not loosened or
    damaged the fittings. Bearings should be periodically lubricated in accordance with
    the bearing manufacturer’s lubrication instructions. Bearings should be removed,
    inspected, and replaced, if necessary, as soon as excessive fan shaft vibration
    becomes apparent. Also, check the shaft itself for such damage as scoring or heat
    cracks. Never over lubricated bearings.
    3. Check hopper dust level. Dust collectors are not designed to hold material.12. . Impellers should be inspected at regular intervals for imbalance due to
    deposited materials on the blades. Critical clearances between impeller, inlet rings,
    and fan housing should be checked and maintained in the same conditions as when
    the fan was installed. Similarly, the conditions of key ways and/or setscrews should
    be checked.
    4. Check the air pressure to the solenoid valves. Air pressure to the header should
    range between 70 and 90 psi. NEVER MORE than 100 psi. If more pressure is required
    to clean the filters then there is a problem with the filter media and or a problem
    with the particulate flows and density. High air pressure will cause failure in the
    diaphragm valves.
    13. Belt tension should be maintained to prevent undue slippage or unnecessary
    stress on bearings (both motor and fan).
    5. . Lubricate fan bearings monthly if applicable.14. Most fan motors are mounted on sliding bases. Make sure the base is secure.
    6. Check damper valves for proper seating15. Large fan motors may be supplied with a pivoting motor base. This type of base
    automatically controls belt tension to respond to each change in load when
    properly adjusted. The tension is determined by the amount of offset of the motor
    with respect to the pivot point. To level the motor, loosen the cradle bolts at the
    ends of the pivot and adjust the take up screws on the lower part of the base until
    the motor is level. Tighten the cradle bolts.
    7. Inspect filter media monthly for wear and replace if necessary, as indicated by
    dust emission from discharge of fan or stack.
    16. . Worn belts should be replaced; thus, spar V-belts should be maintained in stock.
    To change V-belts, loosen the bolts holding the motor to its base, remove worn belt
    and replace with new one. Make adjustments for proper tension and tighten bolts
    8. Paint to guard against corrosion.17. . V-Belt sheaves should be replaced when groove wear interferes with the efficient
    functioning of the drive.
    9. Maintain door seals and gaskets and replace when they lose resiliency or become
    damaged. Do not paint seals or gaskets at any time.
    18. For fans with a modulation inlet damper, check the linkage for binding monthly.

    Dust Collector Maintenance Additional Resources

    Dust Collector Maintenance Checklist

    USAF has prepared this list of recommended preventative maintenance checks that can provide a better operating system with less overall maintenance and increased up-time. The frequency is only a recommendation. You may wish to increase or decrease the frequency.

    Dust Collector Maintenance Checklist

    Dust Collector Start-Up Checklist

    Looking to start up your collector after an extended shutdown? Follow these steps to make sure your systems starts safely.

    Dust Collector Startup Checklist

    Dust Collector Maintenance Item Action Checklist

    Record maintenance issues you’ve encountered during your inspection that require attention below. Note the issue, part type, part number, and quantity impacted.

    Dust Collector Maintenance Action Item Checklist

    Here to Help

    For more information on dust collector maintenance, parts, troubleshooting, and other resources you can visit our learning center or YouTube channel. For an eBook on How to Select Your Filter bags, you can visit our guide here. If you have an upcoming dust collection project, then check out our dust collector purchasing guide here or request a free dust collector project consultation below.

    Free Dust Collector Project Consultation

    For assistance with your specific application, contact one of our dedicated account managers at 888-221-0312 or [email protected]

  7. Dust Collector Purchasing Guide

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    Download the free PDF version of this Dust Collector Purchasing Guide here.

    Our dust collector purchasing guide will help you identify the right dust collection system that will perform safely, efficiently, and reliably for many years to come. Identifying the right components and needs for your next dust collector can be an overwhelming process. Factors to consider include:

    5 Things to Consider When Purchasing a Dust Collector

    1. Dust Properties – Learn the dust properties you need to be aware of to help you find the right filter media and type of dust collector.
    2. Volume – Understand key variables for measuring volume or airflow requirements in your work environment in order to size your collector properly.
    3. Air-to-Cloth Ratio – Learn why air to cloth ratio is important and how to find the right air-to-cloth ratio for your operation.
    4. Dust Collector Styles – Learn about three most common dust collectors, their advantages and disadvantages.
    5. Low Maintenance Design Features – Learn important dust collector design features that will help you save time and money in long term maintenance expenses.

    At the end of this dust collector purchasing guide, there are also additional resources that provide more details about combustible dust considerations and on demand cleaning.

    Dust Collector Dust Properties

    Dust Properties and Your Work Environment

    Do you know your dust? Consider your dust properties and characteristics of your work environment carefully to identify the best dust collection solution.

    Dust Properties to Consider:

    • Size – What is the size of the dust particles being filtered; fine or large?
    • Density – Is the dust low in density like wood dust or heavy in density like fine steel dust?
    • Chemistry – Will you be filtering any abrasive dust? Corrosive dust?
    • Temperature – Are you operating in a high heat environment? What is the operating or maximum temperature at your facility?
    • Moisture – Is moisture or oil present in the dust?

    Knowing your dust properties is the first step to help you determine the type of dust collector that is best suited for your unique application.

    Your Work Environment

    The next step to finding the right dust collection solution is to consider your space constraints, emissions requirements and temperature of your airstream.

    Space Constraints

    Dust collectors vary in height, width and depth depending on the application and the amount of dust being captured. Take note of any height or space restrictions in the work environment and take measurements of the space allotted for your collector along with the space available around the collector. Many dust collectors are top load which means you will need to allow space above the collector to replace and service the collector from the top of the unit.

    Emissions Requirements

    Depending on your application, your dust collector may require a permit with specific emissions requirements. These emissions requirements vary by state and are expressed as an efficiency percentage for cartridge collectors or an emission limit (e.g. lbs/hr or gr/dscf) for baghouses.

    Temperature of the Environment

    The temperature of the airstream will determine what type of filter media is required and will affect fan size. Temperatures greater than 260 degrees will require special filter media and changes to the dust collector fan. If the unit will be outside in a cold/extreme climate you will need to consider insulating the unit as well.

    Dust Collector Volume

    Understanding Volume or Airflow Requirements

    Calculating Your Airflow

    After considering your dust properties, the next step in dust collector purchasing is our airflow or volume requirements. Calculating your airflow correctly is critical to the long term health of your collector so your system will be efficient at capturing dust.

    Why is Volume Important?

    If the volume of the system is too low, your system will not capture the dust effectively which can impact production and air quality. If the volume of your system is too high, your energy consumption costs will be higher and you may disrupt the process of your application.

    How is Volume (Cubic Feet Per Minute) Measured?

    Dust collector volume is measured in cubic feet per minute or CFM. CFM is a measurement of airflow especially related to air conditioning, heating and ventilation environments like those requiring dust collection. In dust collector applications CFM measures the amount of air per minute that can be moved from a space.

    Variables to Consider

    Work environments vary dramatically from one another based on several variables, and even very similar environments can require vastly different volume. To determine the right volume capabilities for your new dust collector, consider some of the following variables carefully.

    • How are you collecting dust?
    • What is the size of the duct being used to collect the dust?
    • Cubic feet of the work environment

    Dust Collector Air to Cloth Ratio


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

    What is Air-to-Cloth Ratio?

    Air-to-cloth ratio, also known as air-to-media, is defined as a measurement of the amount of air passing through one square foot of filler media. Generally the lower your air-to-cloth ratio, the more effectively your system removes dust from the work environment. If you are operating at a higher air-to-cloth ratio, one of the common issues you may encounter is a decrease in suction. This is because a large amount of dust laden air is filtered by an insufficient amount of filter media. The dust cake on the bag builds up too quickly; resulting in a decrease in air flow through the filters and suction at pickup points.

    How to Select or Calculate Air-to-Cloth Ratio

    If you’re sizing a new cartridge collector system and know what type of dust will be filtered and the air volume needed to properly ventilate the area or pickup points. Our Air-to-Cloth Guide below is a good place to start. The guide gives you a general recommendation on the air-to-cloth ratio for several different applications. To find the dust collector suited to your dust and air volume requirements simply:

    1. Divide air volume of system by air-to-cloth ratio to get the total amount of filter area needed into the system.
    2. Divide the total filter area by the filter area per filter to determine how many filters are needed in the dust collector.
    3. Find the dust collector model that best fits your application by number of filters
      and type of dust collector.

    To calculate air-to-cloth ratio in your existing system, calculate the volume of air (CFM) and divide that number by the total filter area within your dust collector. For example, a sixteen filter cartridge collector pulling 7,000 CFM would have a 3.65:1 airto-cloth ratio (7000 CFM / 16 filters x 120 ft2 per filter). Or in the case of a baghouse, a hundred filter baghouse pulling 10,000 CFM would have a 6.37:1 air-to-cloth ratio (10,000 CFM / 100 filters x 15.70 ft2 per filter). Environments with a large ventilation area or more pick up points require a higher air volume (CFM) to provide adequate suction which means more filter media to keep a similar air-to-cloth ratio.

    Air to Media Chart

    Why is selecting the right Air-to-Cloth ratio important?

    • Extends filter life
    • Minimizes your operating costs
    • Meets air quality goals and requirements
    • Allows your dust collection system to perform at peak efficiency

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

    • Poor venting which causes damage to equipment
    • High pressure drops in differential pressure
    • Impacts your air velocity
    • Excessive use of compressed air

    Dangers of an Undersized Dust Collector

    Choosing a collector that is too small can cost you in long term maintenance costs. Some of the biggest problems we see people run into with an inappropriately sized dust collector are:

    • Consistently clogged filters (reduced filter life)
    • Increased downtime
    • Higher maintenance and energy costs
    • Decreased efficiency
    • Increased compressed air consumption

    To avoid the dangers of an undersized dust collector consider both CFM and air-to-cloth ratio carefully when designing your new unit.

    Baghouse Styles

    Dust Collector Styles

    Baghouse Styles

    Baghouses are ideally suited for large volume applications with airflow exceeding 1,000 CFM or when high temperature applications are above 375 degrees. In these environments, a baghouse will handle and most efficiently filter your dust laden air. There are several types or styles of baghouses available. Once you understand your dust properties, volume, and air-to-cloth ratio, you can determine the right baghouse style for your facility. Here is a summary of the pros and cons of the three most common baghouse styles: pulse jet baghouse, reverse air, or shaker style.

    Pulse Jet Baghouse

    Bags cleaned continuously while unit is in operationRequires compressed air
    Easy to maintain, low maintenance costNot ideal for high moisture applications (+20%)
    Flexible Sizing and ConfigurationRequires filter cages

    Reverse Air Baghouse

    Low maintenanceNeeds to be cleaned often
    Gentle cleaning which allows for longer bag lifeResidual dust build up is hard to remove
    Units are typically compartmentalized into sections which allows them to be maintained without shutting down the entire baghouseFilter bags are expensive compared to Pulse Jet bags
    Bags are typically custom made and not available in stock for quick shipment

    Shaker Baghouse

    Very simple to operateLimited filter media options
    Low initial investment costNot space efficient (takes up a large area)
    Filters cleaned via shaker mechanismNot suited for high dust loads
    Bags are typically custom made and not available in stock for quick shipment

    What’s the Right Type of Pulse Jet Dust Collector?

    The three most common pulse jet dust collection systems are baghouses, cartridge collectors, and bin vents. Below is an overview of each type of pulse jet system and common applications for each:


    Baghouses are typically the largest of the three types of dust collectors. They are well suited for large volume and high temperature applications. Baghouses are perform well for applications with high dust loads of more one 55 gallon a drum per day. The most common applications that use baghouses include:

    • Wood
    • Mining
    • Asphalt
    • Foundries
    • Cement

    Cartridge Collector

    Cartridge Dust Collectors are compact and very modular in design. These are best suited for applications with the following characteristics:

    • Moderate or low dust (collecting less than one 55 gallon drum per day)
    • High efficiency filtration requirements
    • Space restraints or small footprint requirements
    • Possibility of future plant expansion

    The most common applications for cartridge collectors include:

    • Welding
    • Grinding
    • Laser/Plasma Cutting
    • Bulk Powder Processing

    Listed here is a baghouse and cartridge collector comparison chart to help you determine which option may be best suited for your application.

    Baghouse and Cartridge Collector Comparison Chart

    FeatureBaghouseCartridge Collector
    Airflow Range (in CFM)1,000+ CFM500+ CFM
    Dust Loading Per DayMore than 55 gallon drumLess than 55 gallon drum
    TemperatureUp to 500°FUp to 180° F
    Design Features20-30 feet tall Pulse jet cleaning Reverse airflow cleaning (part that removes larger particles)7-12 feet tall More compact for applications where space is limited Higher efficiencies
    Common ApplicationsWood · Metalworking · Mining · Foundries · Tile · Drywall · Fiberboard ManufacturingWelding · Plasma Cutting · Grinding · Bulk Powder Processing · Paint Booths
    Type of Filter MediaWoven or feltPleated, non-woven

    Bin Vent

    Bin vents are usually used in applications where you are moving product from one location to another. Like a cartridge collector, bin vents are also compact, and designed for easy change-outs. They are designed to efficiently vent silos and tanks while minimizing product loss. Bin vents are frequently used in the following applications:

    • Cement
    • Agriculture
    • Tank Loading
    • Conveyor Belt

    Dust Collection Design Features

    Low Maintenance Design Features

    To avoid the hassle of excessive and costly change-outs and maintenance consider important dust collector design features that will help you lower your long term maintenance and energy costs.

    Listed below are some of the easy maintenance design features your dust collector should include.

    Dust Collector Design Features for Easy Maintenance

    • On-demand cleaning for reliable performance and
      reduced wear and tear
    • Modular design with low profile options for easy
      expansion and access
    • Filter change-outs performed outside or clean air side of
      the collector
    • No special tools or equipment required to perform
    • Quick removal access filter covers
    • Change-outs performed in 30 minutes or less
    • Standard filter sizes to ensure product availability and competitive prices
    • Multiple filter options for a variety of applications

    Dust Collector Additional Resources

    Additional Resources for Dust Collector Purchasing

    How to Prevent a Dust Collector Explosion

    If you are dealing with combustible dust, you’ll need to implement a preventive maintenance plan, which will help you avoid a serious dust collector emergency.

    What is combustible dust?

    Combustible dust can be defined as any fine material that has the ability to catch fire and explode when it’s mixed with the proper concentration of air.

    When can combustible dust create an explosion?

    When the right conditions are in place, combustible dust can become hazardous and create an
    explosion. Dust can collect on multiple surfaces in a facility (e.g. ducts, crevices, dust collectors, equipment, etc.), and once this buildup of dust mixes with the right conditions, it only takes a small ignition source to create a significant explosion. There are even scenarios in which combustible dust can self-ignite. This usually results from static that builds up as the particulates rub against one another.

    Who does it affect?

    Combustible dust effects a wide variety of industries such agriculture, metalworking, mining, chemicals, plastics, pharmaceuticals, etc. Industries that are susceptible to combustible dust are regulated by OSHA standards and NFPA guidelines.

    How can I prevent a dust collector fire?

    Now that you know what conditions required for combustible dust, when it can happen, and who it effects, how do you limit or prevent a serious explosion from happening? Your best plan of action is going to include steps that are proactive instead of reactive. Here are the proactive steps you can take:

    • OSHA Standards: Ensure you are meeting OSHA’s set of standards regarding
      combustible dust. Industries that are susceptible to combustible dust are regulated
      by OSHA standards when you implement OSHA’s set of standards, you are
      creating a safe working environment, avoiding property and economic loss from an
      explosion, and avoiding regulatory fines.
    • NFPA Guidelines: Make sure you are meeting codes outlined by the NFPA
      (National Fire Protection Agency). The NFPA publishes a list of guidelines that will
      help you minimize injury or death from combustible dust. The following codes are
      related to the most combustible types of dust (e.g. sugar, wood, fine aluminum):

      • 664, Standard for the Prevention of Fires and Explosions in Wood Processing and
        Woodworking Facilities
      • 484, Standard for Combustible Metals
      • 61, Standard for the Prevention of Fires and Dust Explosions in Agricultural and
        Food Processing Facilities
    • Preventative Maintenance Plan: Properly maintain your facility and dust collector
      to help prevent a buildup of dust. Clean up any excess dust build up on your dust
      collector, other equipment, vents, and filters.
    • Explosion Vents: Installing an explosion vent on your dust collector is one strategy
      that can minimize damage to your equipment and harm to employees should an
      explosion happen. The purpose is to relieve pressure in the dust collector caused
      by an explosion. Once the activation pressure is exceeded the vent(s) open safely
      relieving pressure.
    • Explosion Latches: Latches operate under the same concept as explosion vents.
      Latches provide venting in the event of an internal explosion.

    Dust Collector Purchasing Summary

    Selecting and pricing out a dust collection system involves careful consideration of each of the variables outlined above. Proper attention to these items is critical to ensuring your dust collector performs efficiently for many years to come and creates a clean, safe work environment for plant operators. Each dust collection application is unique, and it is possible that applications with very similar product characteristics or volume requirements may require a system that is vastly different due to the number of variables to consider. To help you engineer and select the correct system for your facility, consult with a dust collection engineering and manufacturing company with extensive experience designing systems for diverse applications.

    If you have further questions unique to your application or would like to speak with an engineer, give us a call at 888-221-0312 or email [email protected]

    Dust Collector Sizing Quiz

    Would you like to get a price range and a recommended cartridge collector? Simply complete this dust collector sizing calculator  and you’ll immediately receive an email with your recommended unit along with a price range for the unit.  A dedicated account manager will also contact you within 24 hours to assist in finding the right solution.

    Cartridge Dust Collector Sizing Quiz

  8. Top 3 Reasons Filter Bags Fail

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    When calculating the life expectancy of your filters, there are multiple environmental factors that come in to play. Filters can last anywhere from a few weeks up to 5 years or more, but it really varies. The top factors that can influence filter life are:

    But what if your filter bags fail sooner than expected? Here are a few reasons they may be failing prematurely.

    1. Dust Characteristics
    2. Poor Fit & Installation
    3. Undersized Dust Collector

    Why are my filter bags failing?

    Dust Characteristics


    Standard dust collection systems are designed for dry dust environments. If you have over 20 percent of moisture or oils in your process (e.g., working with fertilizers or concrete) you may need to consider a different type of filtration system. If you continue to operate with uncontrolled moisture, the physical properties of your dust may change due to the increase in water content. Certain types of dust can then become sticky or heavy which would cause your dust cake to build quickly, affect the ability of dust to fall off during cleaning and thereby creating a scenario where your filter bags fail prematurely. An excess of moisture can also cause excessive dust build-up in your duct work, rotary valve, and inside the dust collector’s walls. Common industries that deal with moisture are:

    Industries with Moisture

    • Chemicals
    • Pharmaceuticals
    • Cement

    Abrasive Dust

    When considering how abrasive your dust can be, consider the hardness of the material being filtered along with the shape. If material is abrasive, a filter bag media with the ability to resist the additional wear and tear is generally recommended. Different types of filter media more resistant to abrasive dust are:

    Filter Bag Media Used with Abrasive Dust

    The velocity of your airflow can also make your dust more abrasive. Highly abrasive dust may require your housing to be fabricated in stainless steel, titanium or other costly materials that are able to withstand long term wear.

    Filter Bag Fit & Installation

    Baghouse Filter Installation

    Filter Bag Fit

    To help give your filter bags better life expectancy, make certain to have the proper bag to cage fit. Filter bags with the correct flex allows the precise amount of momentum to happen when the filters hit the cage. Filter bags with insufficient flex are too rigid and can prevent dust build-up from properly falling off during the cleaning process. The general recommendation is to have between 1/4″ to no more than 3/8″ pinch on your filter bag on each side of the cage. Filter bag media with sensitive bag to cage fit are:

    Sensitive Bag to Cage Fit

    • Fiberglass
    • PPS

    If you have filter bags with the following medias, also consider oversizing your filters due shrinkage that can occur in temperatures above 450 Degrees F.

    Sensitive to Shrinkage

    Filter Bag Installation

    Proper installation of filter bags allows for optimal dust handling and cleaning efficiency. When it comes to filter bag installation, common errors to watch out for are:

    • Top LoadThe groove between the double beaded snap band should be set into the cell plate. For a video tutorial on the proper way to install this type of filter bag, visit this guide here.
    • Bottom Load – Raw top bags should be folded over the cage with enough material to allow for proper and tight clamp placement.

    Undersized Dust Collector for CFM

    Industrial Baghouse

    A couple of the biggest problems we see people run into with an inappropriately sized dust collector are:

    • Consistently clogged filters
    • Reduced filter life
    • Higher maintenance costs 

    To avoid the dangers of an undersized dust collector, consider both CFM and Air to Cloth Ratio. For example, if you have an air to cloth ratio that is too high, the dust you are trying to collect embeds into the filters too fast for your system to efficiently pulse. You end up with rapid build-up of dust, which ends up clogging your filters and making your dust collector work even harder than it should be.


    Prevention is the best method for avoiding filter bags failing prematurely and total dust management. Achieving longer filter bag life means the design of your dust collection system should be correct for your specific application from the very beginning. 

    At U.S. Air Filtration our specialists are available to help with the design of your dust collection system. Or if your filter bags fail continuously, we can help guide you to the right solutions. For assistance now, contact us at 888-221-0312 or email [email protected].

  9. How to Solve Damaged Freight Issues

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    Unfortunately, shipments from any dust collection supplier you work with can sustain damage during transit. While you cannot control what happens in-transit, you can control how you respond to freight that arrives damaged.

    How to Solve Damaged Freight Issues

    How Damaged Freight Affects Your Bottom Line

    Shipping claims and getting replacements for damaged freight can be a frustrating to deal with, but the true price tag of this issue can cost far greater than just a few broken boxes or lost product. Other costs to your business may include:

    Minimizing Damaged Freight Issues

    The U.S. Air Filtration logistics team understands that packaging can play a role in the potential of damaged freight. Your shipment will be handled by many people along the way. So we keep this in mind when we prepare your dust collection order for shipment in the U.S. Air Filtration warehouse, and we follow a system of best practices that can help protect your items as much as possible.

    • Inspection –To avoid shortages we inspect, count, and match up the items to your packing slip.
    • Right Packaging – Our team makes sure that the box is suitable for the item that is shipping.
    • Proper Seals – We distribute tape evenly to ensure your product stays fully sealed in its package. For palletized items, we shrink wrap your freight multiple times to ensure all boxes remains together.
    • Appropriately Sized Pallets – Our warehouse team makes certain that the right sized pallet, also known as a skid, is the right one for the weight and size of the shipment.
    • Clear Shipping Labels – Labels are legible and durable. Paperwork such as a bill of lading or packing slips are placed inside of a protective sleeve.

    How to Solve Damaged Freight Issues 2

    How Do I Receive Freight?

    There is one golden rule of receiving freight that every receiving dock should follow. Do not accept or sign the bill of lading before checking freight for damage, concealed damage, or missing parts.

    It’s critical to pay close attention and inspect all details when you receive a freight shipment. You have the right to record exactly what is missing or damaged. If damaged freight is not recorded, you may not be able to file a successful freight claim.

    When you receive freight, here are the steps you should take.

    Box Count & Damage Inspection

    1. Count the number of boxes received. Compare the box count to the bill of lading for accuracy.
    2. Inspect the shipment for any visible damages. Ensure all packages are consistent.

    Are there any damages present? If yes, then take immediate action with the following steps.

    • Accept the shipment as damaged.
    • Write down all damages or missing box count on the delivery slip.
    •  Take photos to showcase the condition of goods when received.

    TIP: Do not refuse a shipment or discard any damaged freight. Your shipment may get damaged further, or worse, lost in storage. Without your dust collection products in-hand, getting replacements or a freight claim solved can take several weeks longer.

    TIP: Keep a copy of all related documents like the bill of lading, packing slip, and copy of your invoice.

    Communicate Issues

    TIP: There is a limited window of time to submit a freight claim for resolution.

    Report any damages to your supplier within 24 hours of receiving your shipment and they will help your take the next steps. If your shipment was from U.S. Air Filtration here is what you can do:

    • Contact your account manager directly or the USAF main line at 1-888-221-0312.
    • Send all photo evidence and a copy of the delivery slip to USAF.
    • USAF will help start the freight claim process and get you replacements ASAP.

    Damaged freight is a headache that no one wants to deal with. They strain your time and bottom line. If you would like to get help with your damaged shipment, submit your information with our interactive receiving checklist below. Once your information is received, a U.S. Air Filtration rep will be in touch to help.

    Receiving Checklist

  10. Low Temp Filter Bag Media Guide

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    Top 3 Low Temp Filter Bag Media

    If your plant is operating from ambient to 275 degrees Fahrenheit, there are a few low temp filter media bag options you can choose to use in your dust collection system. To guide you to the right one, we’ve gathered information on the three commonly used medias in low temperature dust collection applications. The following filter medias are generally for dry dust applications with very little moisture and no issue heats or acids.

    Low Temp Filter Bag Media


    Polyester is one of the most economical low temp filter bag medias used in the dust collection industry because of its reliable performance in a broad range of applications and availability. This media is used in industries including food manufacturing, woodworking, metalworking, building products, and energy. Polyester is one option if you are continuously operating between ambient – 275 degrees Fahrenheit, and have less than 10% moisture.

    Polyester Filter Bag Media

    Relative Cost$
    Max Continuous Operating Temperature275 Degrees F.
    Energy AbsorptionExcellent
    Filtration PropertiesExcellent
    Moist HeatPoor
    Mineral AcidsFair
    Oxygen (15%+)Excellent
    Low cost and widely available filter media.Does not perform well with moist heat.
    Food Manufacturing


    Polypropylene is another relatively low-cost, low temp filter bag media. The big difference between polyester and polypropylene is that polypropylene can withstand some moisture. If your continuous operating temperatures are between ambient – 170 degrees Fahrenheit, and you have more than 10% moisture in your application, then Polypropylene could be the right fit for your baghouse.

    Polypropylene Filter Bag Media

    Relative Cost$
    Max Continuous Operating Temperature170 Degrees F.
    Energy AbsorptionGood
    Filtration PropertiesGood
    Moist HeatExcellent
    Mineral AcidsExcellent
    Oxygen (15%+)Excellent



    Another option for applications with more than 10% moisture is Acrylic. This is similar to polypropylene but more expensive. Acrylic can handle moisture better than polyester and has a higher temperature rating. If you need to run between 200-265 degrees Fahrenheit, but you have moisture, you could use acrylic.

    Acrylic Filter Bag Media

    Relative Cost$$
    Max Continuous Operating Temperature265 Degrees F.
    Energy AbsorptionGood
    Filtration PropertiesGood
    Moist HeatExcellent
    Mineral AcidsGood
    Oxygen (15%+)Excellent

    Assistance with Low Temp Filter Bag Media

    If you have a unique application we can help get some answers to your questions. Reach a dedicated account manager at 888-221-0312 or email [email protected]

    Are you looking for high temperature media options? Then check out our guide here.