Category Archive: Dust Collector Maintenance

How to Replace Your Dust Collector Diaphragm Valve

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

As your dust collector goes through it’s life cycle, your parts start to wear out. Diaphragms are one of the 5 most commonly replaced dust collector parts. These are the common warning signs of trouble and how you can replace a diaphragm valve.

Common Symptoms of a Worn Out Diaphragm Valve

  • 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? It’s time to replace your diaphragm valve.

Once you’ve diagnosed your issue, you’ll need to fix it. Below is a short video guide that provides step-by-step instructions on how to replace a diaphragm valve.

Replace a Diaphragm Valve Video Transcript:

Hi, this is Bob with US air filtration. And today I’m going to show you how to change out the diaphragm inside a solenoid pulse valve.

Pulse Valve Types

As you can see here pulse valves come in a lot of different sizes and shapes. Some valves have coils on the top, and some don’t. Pulse valves can have two diaphragms or one. Others have couplings, threads, or flange connectors. But the process of changing out the diaphragm is really very similar in all of them.

First Steps to Replacing a Diaphragm Valve

I’m going to show you today, on this particular valve, how to change out the diaphragm.

First thing that we’re going to do is remove the bolts that are holding on the top of the belt. I’m using a socket set and I’m going to loosen these up. Once I get all the valves loose I can pull off the top.

I’ll tell you, sometimes when these valves have been sitting, especially out in the sun for a while getting this top piece off isn’t really easy. You may need to take a screwdriver and a hammer and just tap it lightly there where the rubber is to help get the top off.

But once you get the top off you can remove the spring and you can peel off the diaphragm.

Diaphragm Valve Bleed Hole / Pin

Now in some pulse valves, well in all pulse valves, there’s a little bleed hole. And often times, there’s a pin this particular one, has a little pin right here that this allows the air pressure to equalize between the two halves of the valve.

It’s really important that we don’t block this hole or damage this pin when we put the valve back together.

New Diaphragm

Once we pull off the old diaphragm kit, we can grab the new diaphragm. And the first thing we want to do is find out where that bleed hole is in the diaphragm. Here, it’s this hole right here. We’re gonna place that right over the pin.

The teflon disc or it’s a rubber disc on your diaphragm goes down so that it seats up against this part of the valve. It’s not a bad idea to look and make sure that there’s no damage to the the body of the valve.

Typically though these aluminum bodies; it’s really hard to damage them. I don’t usually see problems with them. It’s usually the diaphragms that go.

We’re gonna line up the hole with the bleed hole. And make sure our holes line up and put our diaphragm back then.

Then we need to make sure that we have the spring that comes with the repair kit that goes back on top of the diaphragm and then we’re gonna put the top back on.

Now just like I mentioned, with this bleed hole, there’s a place where the bleed hole on this top cover goes. We need to make sure we’ve lined that bleed hole up with the bleed hole here.

If we block it, the valve is not gonna work. Or if you don’t put it on correctly, and there’s a pin, you’ll squash the pin. And then you’re gonna have to buy a new valve just to replace this little pin.

We’re gonna line this up. And I can kind of feel it set on the right. And then we’re just going to tighten down all the bolts.

Tighten Bolts

Now once I get everything finger tightened I want to go ahead and tighten these bolts down.

If I don’t tighten the bolts down properly, and you don’t get this clamping this diaphragm together, you’re gonna get a leak outside of the valve.

The best practice is, with your ratchet, is to tighten the bolt on one side and then go to the opposite side and tighten it down. And then just keep going about 180 degrees so that your getting a nice even pressure.

Upper Smaller Diaphragm

Okay now we need to do the little diaphragm.

I’m gonna pull off this coil, which I could have done before. And actually if you have electrical wires connected to this, it helps to pull off the coil.

I might add too, before you start this you need to turn off the compressed air to your valve. Or as soon as you start releasing this, it’ll just start blowing everywhere

Okay. So to change out this upper smaller diaphragm we need to loosen up these four bolts here with an allen wrench.

I’m going to loosen all of these up and then remove these bolts.

Okay once all the bolts are loose, you can lift off the top. Once again, there’s a spring and the diaphragm. You’ll grab the new diaphragm with the little metal side down.

Again there’s a little tiny pin right there for the bleed hole. Every diaphragm is gonna have a bleed hole somewhere that you need to make sure you line up.

There are a few types of valves that the bleed hole is actually in the body of the diaphragm.

In those cases you don’t have to worry about it too much. But a lot of valves have these pins.

So, I’m gonna line this bleed hole up and put it on. And take the new spring and put it on. And then I’m going to make sure that my hole right under here, where the bleed hole goes, is gonna go right over that bleed hole.

I can feel it seat down on there. And again I’m gonna tighten the bolts.

Everything’s good and tight. Put our coil back on.

And now we’re ready to turn the compressed air back on, and test our valve to make sure it all works.


Related Resources:

Dust Collector Change Out Check List

Dust Collector Change Out Check List

How do you know when it’s time for a dust collector change out?

There are typically two reasons people have a dust collector change out.

  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).

Your dust collector is a major investment. Maintaining your system’s vital components is going to play a critical role in keeping your production down time and maintenance costs to a minimum. To help you determine if your filters are compromised and it’s time for a dust collector change out, check out our brief video below.

Are you ready to change out your dust collector? Download this check list below.

Check out our full checklist here.

Dust Collector Change Out Video Transcript:

Factors that Influence Filter Life

Hi, I’m Bob from U.S. Air Filtration. Today, I would like to answer a common question that we are often asked. That is, “When is it time to change my filters?”

There are several key indicators and considerations that will help you determine the answer to this question.

Before we discuss these, let’s review the two main reasons for changing filters. One, either the filter fabric has become compromised by a hole or tear in the fabric which now allows dust to pass through. Or two, the filter fabric has become fully entrained or clogged with dust particles which permanently restrict air flow through the filters.

Dust Collector Change Out Indicators

Ok, Let’s talk about the indicators:

This may seem obvious, but the first indicator is if you see dust coming out of the clean side of the collector. This means you likely have either a hole in the filter or the filter’s seal has been compromised.

You can find bad filters by conducting a visual inspection. Sometimes the holes may be very small or hard to find. In these situations, you can find the leak by conducting a leak test.

This is accomplished by introducing leak powder into the system. The powder will concentrate around any leaks and become visible under a black light. Call us to learn more how this product works.

Differential Pressure

While damaged filters with holes or a poor seal will leak dust, clogged filters do not leak dust. Instead the dust becomes embedded into the fibers of the filter. This increases the resistance of the air flow, which increases the differential pressure reading on your dust collector.

Differential Pressure is the difference in air pressure between the clean and dirty sides of a collector.

A consistently higher differential pressure indicates that it is more difficult for the air to get through the filter media and usually means filters are nearing the end of their life span.

When you consistently see Differential pressure readings of 6 or above and they don’t drop significantly during the collectors cleaning cycle, it’s generally a sign that it’s time to change your filters.

Loss of Suction at Pick Up Points

Another indicator that points toward a filter change-out is when your pick up points are not getting the suction you’re used to seeing. It is the permanently entrained dust that causes the reduced air flow, and as we mentioned, the higher differential pressure.

Dust Collector Change Out General Rules

Let’s discuss a few other considerations.

As a general rule, it is better to change out all the filters in a collector than a few at a time. Air flow always follows the path of least resistance, and you can quickly wear out new filters if they are doing all the work in your collector.

Some of our clients like to change out filters during scheduled plant shut downs or on a maintenance schedule.

Filters may have some life left, but this is a good option if the risk of having a problem before a scheduled shut down is too great, or the predictability of filter life is fairly certain.

Laboratory Tests

One final thing to consider is using a laboratory test to determine how much life remains in a set a filters. This testing is not common and is typically only when the bag cost is substantial and there is a lack of history with the bag life or there is some other unique problem that can’t be otherwise solved. In most cases, the other mentioned indicators are sufficient to determine when to change out your filters.

How Long Filters Last

Another question we are often asked is how long do filters typically last.

This is a really tough question to answer because there are so many environmental factors that come in to play. We have seen filters last anywhere from a few weeks up to 5 years or more. On average, life expectancy is about a year, but it really varies.

Here is a list of some of the factors that influence filter life. To find out more about these factors or to ask one of our experts if it’s the right time for a dust collector change out, give us a call.

  1. Air to cloth ratio
  2. Volume of dust loading
  3. Size of dust
  4. Presence of membranes or coatings
  5. Dust characteristics (powdery, sticky, shape)
  6. Air velocity through the filters
  7. Moisture in the dust
  8. Ambient air moisture
  9. Cleanliness of compressed air
  10. Presence of chemicals – oils, acids, etc.
  11. Operating temperature
  12. Frequency of cleaning cycle
  13. Average differential pressure
  14. Proper cage fit
  15. Proper installation

Baghouse Dust Removal Options

Why Baghouse Dust Removal Matters

The right baghouse dust removal method can help minimize problems that arise due to dust build up in your hopper.

A hopper is designed to be temporary storage for your discharge. What happens if you have excessive dust build up in your hopper? This can result in your air flow being blocked off and would cause a loss of suction throughout the dust collection system.  This can also become a hazard because it’s more opportunity for combustible dusts to create a dangerous explosion. The right dust removal method for your application can help you avoid these issues.

Key Components

The best method of dust removal from your hopper is dependent on some of the following components:

  • What’s your Dust Collector Type? Baghouse or Cartridge Dust Collector?
  • What are the characteristics of your dust? For example, hazardous or non-hazardous?
  • What are the loading rates of your dust?

Baghouse Dust Removal Methods

Baghouse Dust Collector

Enclosed Box

A simple pipe system funneling dust into an enclosed box, placed underneath your hopper, is one dust removal option. Your maintenance team would be required to monitor and empty the box once capacity has been reached. Prompt removal of dust build up in your enclosed box helps prevent backup or an overflow of the box itself. Non hazardous dust and light dust loads typically use enclosed boxes.


Drum or Bag

A removable drum or bag can be a simple and easy solution to collecting and disposing dust. Once a drum or bag fills up, maintenance simply removes it by hand or forklift. Once empty, the drum or bag can then be put back into its place. This is ideal for non toxic dusts that you can easily handle.

Rotary Valves for Baghouses

Rotary Valve

Rotary valves (also known as airlocks, rotary feeders, or airlock feeders) help transition material from a dust collector to a drum or bin. It seals a pressurized system against loss of air and pressure. This minimizes product loss during processing. Dust collection, pneumatic conveying, mixing, weighing, feeding, and blending use rotary valves. Larger baghouse systems with over 10,000 CFM  can also use rotary valves.

Screw Conveyor for Baghouse Dust Collectors

Large baghouses with heavy dust loads typically use screw conveyors. The screw conveyer would transport dust away from the collector, then send it to a designated disposal area. This is ideal for hazardous or reused materials.  Agriculture, mining, foundries, wood production, and chemicals are applications that use screw conveyors.

Would you like to learn more about design considerations for a new dust collection system? For more information, download our dust collector purchasing guide.

Dust Collection Design Considerations 7

Dust Collector Inspection and Service

Dust Collection Systems

22 Point Inspection

A well maintained dust collector ensures your system is performing at peak efficiency. It’s also critical to minimizing unscheduled plant downtime and the wear and tear of your dust collector parts. As part of a regular preventative maintenance program, customers can also request a visit from bonded and insured technicians to perform either a dust collector inspection. An inspection typically includes an analysis of your dust collector and its most vital parts, a written report, and recommended corrective actions to solve any issues. An inspection may also include an exam of the following:

  1.  Overall status of dust collector(s)
  2. Compressed air system for leaks
  3. Regulator pressure
  4. Air Shut off valve is sealed and is properly working
  5. Solenoids firing properly
  6. Diaphragm Valves firing properly
  7.  Couplings are sealed
  8. Magnehelic is working properly
  9. Fan Vibration readings
  10. Bearing Temperatures
  11. And more

Dust Collector Service

Different from an inspection, a service on a dust collector system includes bonded and insured technicians performing a change out or corrective actions. This can include the following:

  1. Changing filters
  2.  Seal minor air leaks
  3. Repair or replace damaged solenoids, valves, or diaphragm kits
  4. Any other repairs or troubleshooting needed on a baghouse – for example, vibration issues with a system after a filter change

USAF Dust Collector Warehouse

Dust Collector Inspection and Service Questions

If you are looking for an inspection or service from a supplier, here are some of the most common questions asked before receiving a formal proposal and costs.

  1. What type of service or troubleshooting are you requesting?
  2. Where will the service take place?
  3. What type of dust are you filtering? Is it hazardous? Is special safety equipment required?
  4. Are there any current issues with your filters?
  5. Is there any special training or background checks needed before entering a facility?
  6. When would you like to have the service performed? What are the permitted service hours (evening or day work, weekends only, etc.)?

For more information on inspections or services for your dust collector, you can contact a USAF account manager at 888-221-0312 or also email [email protected] Also included below is a link to our comprehensive dust collector maintenance eBook that can be downloaded.

12 Days of Christmas Dust Collection Maintenance Tips

For a little Christmas Cheer we’ve pulled together some of our most popular dust collection maintenance resources here to the theme of the 12 Days of Dust-mas.  Enjoy!

Baghouse 3D Demo

Is your building all dusty? Time for a new system?  Check out a 3D Demo of our most popular baghouse units.

Broken Dust Collector Bags

Two broken bags?  Check out this video on how to detect a dust collector leak in your system.


Dust Collector Shipping

Learn more about how USAF ships your orders and what to do to expedite your lead times.

Four Cartridge Filters

Is it time for a changeout?  Here’s a brief instructional video on how to changeout your USAF cartridge filters.

5 broken valves

Do you have a leaky diaphragm valve?  Get some tips you can try to troubleshoot your broken valves.

6 Bags a Blinding

Is your differential pressure rising and dust escaping your dust collector?  It could be blinding bags.  Find out how to tell your bags are compromised and signs it’s time for a filter changeout.

7 Cages a Rusting

Learn all about cage construction for your filter bags here.

8 Gates a Sticking

Having trouble removing dust from your dust collector?  Has your dust load increased?  Check out some of the most common dust removal options available including rotary valves and pneumatic conveying.

9 Pleated Filters

Need help installing pleated filters?  Here’s a brief tutorial on how to install yours correctly.

10 Bags a Clogging

Do you have clogged bags?  Does your system utilize on-demand cleaning?  Find out how this can help you save time and energy.

11 New Workstations

Are you looking to expand plant operations in the new year?  Get information on how much a new baghouse, cartridge collector or bin vent costs and all the factors that go into the cost of a new dust collection system.

12 Bosses Yelling

Check out our USAF Cartridge Dust Collector 3D Demo and learn how a USAF system can help improve plant operations.

Dust Collection: How to Create a World Class Customer Experience

Dust Collection Customer Experience Summary:

• Industrial Dust Collection buyers place high importance on customer experience when making purchasing decisions
• Customer experience is defined by the interactions a buyer has with a company before, during and after a sale.
• There are five things industrial buyers value most in their purchasing experience: Product knowledge, Responsiveness, Service, Relationship, and Educational Resources

If you were to ask most people what’s most important to them when making a purchase historically it’s come down to three things – price, quality, and service. But as buyers have become more savvy and have less time to spend on purchasing, customers now place equal if not more importance on customer experience when making dust collection purchasing decisions. In fact, 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience. And a recent Walker study found that by the end of 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.

Customer experience is defined by the interactions a buyer has with a company before, during and after making a purchase.

What makes a good customer experience when purchasing dust collector parts

We recently sent a survey to our customers to understand what they currently value when making purchasing decisions and to learn where there may be gaps and opportunities for improvement.

By understanding our buyer’s perspective it helps us build an experience tailored to the different needs and wants of our customer.
We’ve organized our findings into five core components that customers valued most:

Top 5 Key Components to a Customer Service Experience

  1. Expertise and Product Knowledge
  2. Responsiveness
  3. Service
  4. Relationship
  5. Educational Resources and Tools


Dust Collection Purchasing Survey Graphic 1

Dust Collection Expertise and Product Knowledge

Expertise and product knowledge were voted as the most valued component in a dust collection customer service experience. Dust collection needs vary significantly even within the same industrial application. Today buyers value sales reps who function first as product experts who understand their specific dust collection challenges. Finding the right dust collection products that will optimize performance requires vast technical knowledge on a filters, valves, troubleshooting, dust collection engineering and more. When a sales rep delivers and establishes their expertise, this evokes trust and assurance to the customer that their buying journey and partnership will be successful.

“I had a very good conversation with internal sales, Mark. Sharing technical knowledge and information is always helpful!” – Customer Testimonial

Leveraging Technology to Improve Responsiveness

Responsiveness is critical to industrial dust collection customers in order to keep their system running at peak performance. A customer may need dust collector parts for an upcoming inspection, an unexpected explosion, or replacements for broken or underperforming parts. To help solve issues before they turn into more disruptive maintenance problems, it’s vital to get a response back to the customer promptly.

To improve response time, companies can leverage technology in innovative ways that cater to the customer.

For example, at USAF our sales reps can be reached through multiple channels including direct phone line, email, online quote request, online chat, email nurturing and marketing automation, or via the main line where a live person will answer and direct your call immediately. Investing in several channel options allows USAF to communicate with customers quickly, using their preferred communication method.

Further, as more of the buyers journey moves online, and as more buyers now prefer online communication over phone and face to face contact, particularly in response to COVID-19, companies need to adapt by investing in technology that will streamline the buyers journey by moving more customer interactions online. This could include any or all of the following solutions:

  • Chatbot Artificial Intelligence
  • Call Center
  • Marketing Automation & Email/SMS nurturing
  • Content marketing – Includes videos, blogs, eBooks, case studies

“The products I purchase are specialized and by me contacting Patty and her quick response back to me works for our relationship and I wouldn’t change it. She does a fabulous job!” – Customer Testimonial


Dust Collection Purchasing Survey Graphic 2


Customers face so many choices when it comes to where they purchase dust collector parts. One key component to the dust collection customer experience is service. Great service isn’t about being short-sighted and merely searching for the next opportunity, instead it’s about prioritizing solving customer problems and focusing on long term wins.

Today’s industrial buyers expect a service experience that combines one on one human connection with the efficiency that technology brings. An example of this could include the following touchpoints that combine technology with personal outreach:

  • Regular phone call check ins by sales rep before, during and after a sale to help the customer identify the right product and confirm successful delivery.
  • Email nurturing that includes how to advice and relevant educational information on dust collection.
  • E-Commerce product catalog for direct online sales
  • Post-sale shipping and tracking notifications by email or text
  • Post-sale customer satisfaction survey by email

While technology has changed the way we do business in critical ways, particularly through e-commerce, the need for human connection will never go away. Companies who can master this hybrid model by finding the right balance of human vs. technology touchpoints will be the most successful in the future.

“I think you’re already doing a great job. Bonnie is always fast to respond to my emails (always within an hour, often within minutes). On top of that she calls me periodically just to check up. She is a true professional and you should consider her a major asset to your company. Without her being my sales person I cannot guarantee that I would be even purchasing from you, there are local guys that I could buy from but I keep coming back to USAF because the service is so good.” – Jake Z.


The main goal of establishing a relationship between the customer and their sales rep is to create a consistent experience across all touchpoints in the dust collection journey. The sales rep is the direct connection from the company to the customer, and to ensure the process is as smooth and positive as possible the sales rep should be a customer’s first go-to contact for orders, questions, or issues.
Have you ever called a customer service line for a large retail or phone company? You often find yourself frustrated at being bounced around through several different departments before you even speak to the right person. A direct sales rep for a company keeps an eye on the customer’s entire journey to ensure their experience is positive and to also help mitigate any issues that may cause a bigger problem down the road.

“Bonnie was incredibly kind, helpful, and persistent (in a good way) with our last order” – Thomas J.

Educational Dust Collection Resources and Tools

Expertise, product knowledge, responsiveness, service, and a relationship are all important to the dust collection customer service experience. Providing additional educational resources and tools throughout the purchasing journey is crucial to building trust and long term partnerships. Examples of successful educational resources can include:

  • eBooks that provide in depth analysis on a key topic such as dust collection design
  • Regular blog posts that answer common questions customers ask
  • 3D animated product demo videos
  • Instructional maintenance videos – includes installation, assembly, how-to and troubleshooting advice
  • Engineering drawings of products
  • Detailed spec sheets
  • Project case studies

Here are the most popular dust collection resources USAF has complied over the years that are most valued by our customers.

Dust Collection Resources: