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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.

Dust Collector Maintenance Guide

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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]

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

Return to Work Dust Collection Start-up Guide

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As local, state, and federal governments begin to relax social distancing guidelines in the days, weeks, and months ahead, many non-essential factories and industrial plants are anxiously looking to resume production. Employers are also now faced with the responsibility to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19 by instituting new safety measures.

Taking proactive steps now to implement new health measures and make sure your dust collection equipment is operating properly will protect the safety and health of your workforce first and foremost. These steps will also ensure your system is in good working order so you don’t have to worry about another unexpected shutdown.

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

  1. COVID-19 Management Best Practices for Manufacturers
  2. Dust Collector Start-Up Checklist
  3. Action Item Checklist
  4. Maintenance Questions to Consider

To get started you can download the complete return to work PDF guide by clicking below.

Our start-up check list can also be printed, completed electronically in the PDF file, or you can access the checklist on your phone or mobile device by clicking below.

For additional dust collection maintenance resources and troubleshooting advice to help you get online again safely, visit our YouTube channel.  Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to get access to additional resources and tips on dust collection design, safety, case studies and more.