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Tag Archive: Dust Collector Maintenance

  1. 5 Ways to Reduce Dust Collection Operating Costs

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    Dust collection systems play a critical role in ensuring efficient production and workplace safety. Without the dust collector operating properly, production may slow or halt altogether, costing a company thousands per day. However, maintaining the system can be costly and time consuming if not done properly and regularly. Fortunately, there are multiple strategies to reduce the time and cost of operating your dust collection system. In this blog post, we will review five effective ways to minimize your operating costs and maximize efficiency.

    The points outlined below offer benefits to companies large and small, with dedicated maintenance crews or a single superman holding everything together.  

    #1  Preventative maintenance plan

    The most important thing anyone can do to ensure their dust collector runs efficiently and cost-effectively is to implement a preventative maintenance plan. Performing regular preventive checks and maintenance helps you avoid significant issues that can be costly and time-consuming to resolve. A preventive maintenance plan, at the very least, guarantees that you examine common wear points to address any potential problems before they escalate into major issues. Benefits of a preventive maintenance plan 

    • Daily monitoring of differential pressure gives you a sense of when to change the filters. This enables you to find replacement filters without incurring rush or expedite fees, and schedule the work for a convenient time that minimizes production disruptions.
    • Fix the small things before they cause larger/expensive issues
    • Reduce down-time by scheduling maintenance to all items that need attention at one time.

    Dust collector maintenance guide

    #2 Understand how your dust collection system operates and what happens when things get out of alignment.

    We understand that the dust collector is typically the final piece of equipment in a lengthy production line. Which means that changes or problems with upstream processes may, or may not, have a big impact on the dust collector. Understanding your dust collection system and its weak points will help you prevent, quickly identify, and address problems caused by upstream issues. 

    For example, a Nomex (Aramid) felt filter bag has an operating temperature of 400°F, with surges to 445°F.  If you have a temperature spike in the production process causing temperatures in the baghouse to exceed 400°F, it will reduce the life of the filters. They may not fail immediately, but the media will be weakened and more susceptible to tearing.  Understanding this, you may keep a closer eye on the baghouse to catch bag failures or move up a scheduled changeout to prevent unplanned downtime if bags start to fail.

    Changes in temperature, dust loading, moisture levels, and other factors can significantly impact the performance and wear and tear of your dust collection system.

    Understanding how these variables affect your dust collector can also help prevent issues, additional maintenance costs, and costly shut-downs. Making changes to upstream processes to increase filter life or reduce dust collector issues is one cost-effective way to extend filter life and reduce overall operating costs.

    #3 Maintain the pulse cleaning system

    It’s important to ensure that the pulse jet cleaning system on your dust collector is operating properly to keep the filters clean and the system running efficiently. Doing so helps extend the lifespan of your filters, reduces maintenance costs, and minimizes downtime. Failing to do so may result in blinding of filters, excessive compressed air consumption, and reduced suction at pickup points. Maintenance can include: 

    • Ensuring that valves open and close properly and without any problems.
    • Confirming that valves and fittings do not have any leaks.
    • Checking the pressure regulator and control panel to make sure the settings are accurate.
    • Ensuring that the on/off times are set correctly. If pulsing On-Demand, verify that the high and low limit settings are still appropriate.

    Baghouse filters

    #4  On-Demand Cleaning

    On-Demand cleaning is a great, and fairly easy way, to reduce operating costs and wear on your dust collection system. An on-demand cleaning system monitors the pressure drop (or differential pressure) in the dust collector and turns on the pulse cleaning system, only when needed. This reduces the amount of compressed air used and reduces wear on the filters and pulse valves. Reducing compressed air consumption can have significant cost savings when combined with longer filter and diaphragm life. 

    The on-demand cleaning system uses a pressure module or photohelic to read the pressure drop across the filters. The “high-limit” and “low-limit” are set on the timer board and tell the timer board when to start and stop the pulse cleaning.  As pressure builds and hits the “high-limit” the cleaning system kicks on and pulses the filters. As the filters are cleaned the pressure will gradually drop until it hits the “low-limit”. Once the “low-limit” is reached, the cleaning system turns off, conserving compressed air until the pressure builds up to the “high-limit” again and the cycle starts over. To learn more about on-demand cleaning, you can watch our How Does On-Demand Cleaning Work with a Timer video.

    #5 Perform fan maintenance

    It is recommended to include a weekly and monthly check of your fan as part of your preventative maintenance plan. While fans may be easy to overlook, improper maintenance can lead to significant problems. The fan is the heart of the dust collector and, therefore, needs to be kept in good working order to ensure optimal performance. Fan maintenance can include the following:

    • Weekly: Belts, unusual noises  
    • Monthly: Grease bearings and check all lubrication points and for improper sheave alignment, proper tensioning of v-belt drives.  
  2. How to Manage Supply Chain Woes

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    How to Manage Supply Chain Woes Podcast Options:

    ▶️ YouTube ▶️ Apple Podcasts ▶️ Spotify ▶️ Google Podcast ▶️ iHeart

    Filtered: On the Air - How to Manage Supply Chain Woes

    The past few years have been a roller coaster for the global supply chain, with natural disasters and pandemics causing major disruptions for manufacturers. These challenges directly impact manufacturers’ ability to effectively run production and positively impact the supply chain downstream. 

    In this article and latest “Filtered: On the Air” podcast episode, our experts Tim Keeter and Brent Bassett discuss supply chain issues and its impact on the dust collection industry, while also providing tips on how to alleviate some of the issues that manufacturers face in today’s supply chain.

    The Future of the Supply Chain Delays

    No industry was immune to global supply chain delays that have been impacting manufacturers the last few years. While some sectors did bounce back quickly, others are still in the process of recovering. Looking ahead, most of us learned that predicting anything has gone completely out the window. It appears things have improved, there are shorter delays, and more products on the shelves. As a result, we’re seeing less supply chain issues impacting consumers. But it’s still hard to tell as there are places around the world that are still recovering. At U.S. Air Filtration, we like to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. One takeaway from the last few years is that we can all be better prepared.

    Global Supply Chain Delays

    Industry Purchasing Trends

    There are customers who have storage space, which has allowed them to update their purchasing process to include a back-up set of filters. More commonly, we see customers who try to order a month or two sooner than they normally would. But that may not always work out because some parts can have multiple delays. While an order may originally have a lead time of two months, there could be an additional delay for another month. One example would be for cartridge filters which consist of multiple parts. All it takes is one of those crucial parts of a cartridge filter to have a delay, and as a result the entire filter is delayed. In this scenario, planning ahead doesn’t always guarantee you’re going to receive your items on time.

    How To Reduce Supply Chain Delays

    Maintenance Plan:

    Having a solid preventative maintenance plan is key. If you’re organized with your change outs, and know when they’re going to happen then you can order your things well in advance. One thing that U.S. Air Filtration can do for our longtime customers is help them realize their normal buying patterns. Oftentimes people just don’t know what those patterns may be. But if a customer has been ordering from U.S. Air Filtration for a number of years, we can look at those frequencies whether it’s every 12 months, or every 9 months which allows us to suggest a time to order with a little bit of a cushion.

    In summary, a maintenance plan reduces the supply chain challenge because it allows a manufacturer to develop a predictable pattern, and understand the intricacies of their production. Some plants absolutely cannot run when filters clog, which means all production may stop if there is no cushion when ordering dust collector wearables. If you’re one of those clients that is going to shut down without your filters running at peak performance then you need to be able to plan ahead.

    Warning Signs

    Some of the warning signs to look out for include a rising or high differential pressure. If your differential pressure is rising, your filters are getting clogged. If you know how often this happens, then maybe your filters typically last a year. This shows that your normal production schedule is pretty consistent and you could just order a few filters at a time. Knowing when that happens is key. But a lot of facilities will have a tough time because their production may change. They may run 24/7 for a couple of months on a big project and then slow down for a couple of months. So it’s a little less predictable for some people.

    Spare Parts

    Due to the lack of predictability within manufacturing in general, some facilities opt to purchase a back-up set of dust collection parts. While some manufacturers are safe from unscheduled downtime with the availability of back-up dust collection parts, there are still a lot of companies out there that just aren’t equipped to store them. Another factor could be budget and timing.

    Having a spare set of filters is always something the U.S. Air Filtration recommends, but we understand that there are challenges that come with this besides the storage issue. Here’s a few considerations with having to store dust collector filters

    • Limited space 
    • Temperature swings
    • Moisture
    • Contaminants or pests

    There are a lot of considerations to make when you’re thinking about storing,100 filters versus 1000 filters. But, at US air filtration we have come up with a solution on how to solve these issues.

    STOCK ‘N GO Program Solution

    STOCK 'N GO Program

    At U.S. Air Filtration we have developed the STOCK ‘N GO program to address most issues that companies are challenged with when stocking extra parts. How it works is, U.S. Air Filtration will fabricate filters ahead of time for customers and store them in our warehouse. This way when a customer is ready for them, we can ship them out just within a day or two of being notified. This takes away the stress and the headache from the ordering process and lead times, resulting in a streamlined purchasing process.


    In summary, supply chain issues can have a significant impact within the industrial air filtration industry resulting in delayed lead times passed down to manufacturers. Implementing a maintenance program and having a set-up back of dust collection parts are our top tips to alleviate the challenges that manufacturers face in today’s supply chain environment. 

    At US Air Filtration, we understand the importance of reducing supply chain delays. We are here to help ensure that your dust collection systems are working at optimal levels, so you can focus on growing your business and meeting the needs of your customers. If you would like more information about the STOCK ‘N GO program, visit us here. You can also reach out at 888-221-0312 or email [email protected]

  3. 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


  4. 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]

  5. Air Pollution Control & Managing Industrial Dust

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    Disclaimer: The contents of this industrial dust blog are intended to be general safety guidelines. All businesses will still need to refer to OSHA, NFPA, and local ordinances required for their business.

    Industrial Dust Guide

    Dust builds up in your home may simply be a nuisance you take care of while spring cleaning. But in the workplace, dust can become a serious hazard if not properly handled. To get a better understanding of the negative effects of dust in the workplace we will provide a brief overview what industrial dust is, how industrial dust is created , potential dangers you should plan for, and the benefits of a properly engineered dust collection system.

    Industrial Dust Guide

    What is Industrial Dust & How is it Created?

    Dust consists of small particles of dry matter that build-up on hard surfaces such as floors, tools, industrial equipment, ducts, etc. Industrial dust can generate more frequently than household dust. This is because it generates from the daily from the manufacturing or production process. For example, a small woodworking shop could generate dust from activities like sawing, grinding, or cutting. Industrial dust can even break out during processing. Another example, in an agricultural facility process dust can come from sugar, flour, grains, etc.

    Common Types of Industrial Dust

    • Wood – Activities like sanding, high speed cutting, low speed cutting, paning etc. can create dust which is both explosive and fire prone.
    • Food Particulate– Certain food particulate can be explosive, abrasive and fire prone. This can encompass a wide variety of particulate such as flour, grains (corn, rice), soybeans, and more.
    • Cement & Concrete – This dust is abrasive but considered to be less explosive and prone to fire.
    • Paper Products – Dust created from paper products can be both explosive and fire prone.
    • Paint Powder – Paint pigments can be highly explosive
    • Pharmaceuticals – Pharmaceutical dust like dry powder and coating are both explosive and fire prone.
    • Plastic, Chemicals, Stone, Minerals , Metal etc.

    Is Industrial Dust Dangerous?

    The build-up of combustible dust is serious hazard in the workplace. Airborne dust presents a safety hazard to employees. Many types of industrial dust may contain carcinogenic properties that would require removal to keep employees safe, healthy, and to comply with government regulations.
    Airborne dust may also be highly flammable, and safeguards must be implemented to prevent the risk of a dust explosion.

    Conditions for a Dust Explosion

    • Oxygen
    • Enclosed space
    • Ignition source
    • Combustible dust at the right concentration level

    When you are working in an industry that operates with combustible dust, explosions and fires are a constant threat. If you are taking the right steps to ensure a safe working environment you are more likely to avoid a fire or explosion that would cost you the safety of your employees, thousands of dollars in lost production, and regulatory fines. Combustible dust can present itself in a variety of applications. Below are just some of the types of industries that work with combustible dust.

    Common Examples of Combustible Industrial Dust

    • Agriculture (grain, flour, sugar, etc.)
    • Wood
    • Metals (aluminum, zinc bronze, etc.)
    • Rubber
    • Chemicals (coal, Sulphur, etc.)
    • Pharmaceuticals
    • Pesticides
    • Plastics

    There are no short cuts to minimizing dust hazards and ensuring the safety of your employees. But understanding if you are working with combustible dust is the first step in prevention.

    Regulation of Air Pollution Control

    Many industrial industries in the U.S. must comply with strict air pollution control standards. These standards are set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), OSHA, or local governing entities like the AQMD in California.

    OSHA regulates industries that are susceptible to combustible dust. When implementing OSHA’s set of standards, you are creating a safe working environment, avoiding property and economic loss from an explosion, avoiding regulatory fines. To learn more about OSHA’s safety standards for combustible dust, visit their guide here.

    The NFPA (National Fire Protection Agency) is another agency that publishes a list of guidelines to help 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

    How a Properly Engineered Dust Collection System Supports Air Pollution Control

    5 Benefits of a Dust Collection System

    Dust collection systems are engineered and designed to filter airborne industrial dust particles and debris that can cause damage to plant equipment, create a hazardous work environment, and negatively impact plant production. The top 5 benefits of a dust collection system are:

    1. Meet Compliance Regulations and Standards – All agencies require industrial facilities to maintain and meet air quality standards to ensure a safe and clean environment for their plant, employees, and the surrounding community.
    2. Boost Productivity – An accumulation of dust particles and debris on industrial equipment can interfere with overall plant performance. A dust collection system can collect these dust particles before they can interfere and compromise the health and performance of your manufacturing equipment.
    3. Improve Product Quality – Dust can settle and accumulate on products during the manufacturing process. This has a negative impact on the quality and consistency of finished goods. A dust collector will reduce and effectively capture these dust particles, allowing for product quality to improve and maintain consistency.
    4. Enhance Health and Safety Standards – Inhalation of hazardous dust affects human health and a dust collection system is vital to removing these hazards and to keep employees safe.
    5. Preserve the Quality of Equipment – As dust particles and debris are created inside a manufacturing facility, the contaminated dust will settle onto other surfaces such as computer systems and manufacturing equipment. This dust buildup can be harmful and result in malfunctioning equipment. It can also create unnecessary, frequent, and costly maintenance to keep dust and debris from accumulating. With a dust collector system purifying and collecting dust particles, the chances of excessive dust build-up is minimal.

    In addition to adding a dust collection system to your plant, you can also consider some of these dust removal options and explosion venting strategies.

    Baghouse Dust Removal Options

    • Enclosed Box – A simple pipe system funneling dust into an enclosed box, placed underneath your hopper, is one dust removal option.
    • Drum or Bag – A removable drum or bag can be a simple and easy solution to collecting and disposing dust.
    • 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.
    • 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.

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

    Explosion Venting Strategies

    Common Venting Strategies

    •Preventative Maintenance Plan: In conjunction with a protection strategy, every facility should implement a well-designed and operated preventative maintenance plan. Perform regular checks on the health of your dust collection system to prevent more serious issues.

    •Explosion Vent or Panels: Explosion vents or panels are designed to rupture at a set pressure (PStat). When a source of ignition meets a fuel source with sufficient oxygen present, an ignition will occur. As the ignition begins, the pressure inside of the vessel will increase rapidly. Depending on the material’s Kst value, the pressure rise may be slow or extremely rapid. As the ignition progresses, the internal pressure will meet the PStat rating of the explosion panel. The explosion panel will rupture, venting the ignition gasses. The explosion vent provides a relief avenue for the expanding gasses, but the pressure in the vessel will continue to rise until it reaches the Pred pressure. This is the maximum pressure of the ignition event when explosion vents are functioning, so this is usually the pressure rating the vessel is designed to withstand.

    You can use explosion panels with a short length of ducting to allow for interior use without flameless venting. They do require replacement once a rupture occurs, but they are simple, cost-efficient, and easy to install. Explosion vents are typically useful on baghouses and cartridge dust collectors.

    • Explosion Latch: Explosion latches work under the same principle as the explosion panels, but they are not single use. This is a more cost-effective option (versus explosion panels) when you have  a large baghouse or large quantity of vent area.

    Additional Venting Strategies

    • Flameless Venting: Flameless venting can consist of a flame arrestor element, vent panel, and flanged housing. This combines the techniques of explosion venting and flame arresting. You can also install a flame arrestor element over a standard explosion vent. When the vent ruptures, the burnt dust and flames enter the flame arrestor element. The element helps to contain the hazardous dust and flames and prevents it from exiting, where it could potentially ignite a secondary explosion or endanger employees. While flameless venting does stop flames from exiting the vessel, there will be extremely hot gasses exiting the flameless vent. When using flameless venting, make sure to pay close attention to the vents proximity to personnel areas. If possible, always aim flameless vents away from regularly occupied areas.

    • No Return Valve: Protecting the dust collector from over-pressure is essential, but it is equally important to stop a deflagration propagation back to the operator space. To prevent this, a No Return Valve is needed in the inlet duct. This valve is a weighted damper that is held open by the air flow during normal operation, allowing air and dust to pass through to the dust collector. In the event that deflagration occurs in the dust collector, the pressure propagation through the duct work will close the No Return Valve. This prevents the deflagration from reaching any process equipment and also limits the risk of secondary explosions.

    • Abort Gate: Abort gates are high speed dampers that contain a spring assisted blade and is typically held in place by an electromagnet. Their purpose is to minimize the risk of an explosion by diverting flame, spark, or debris from entering a facility through a return air system.

    • Spark Detection & Extinguishing System: This method uses infrared sensors, typically located on the ductwork, to detect sparks or burning material in the ductwork upstream.

    Secondary Event Protection

    All the methods described previously are excellent options for managing primary explosions, but one of the most catastrophic outcomes of a combustible dust explosion is an un-controlled secondary explosion.

    When a primary explosion happens, there may be a pressure wave that propagates through the plant. This will “kick up” the layer of ambient dust. If the explosion is not contained in the dust collection system using the methods previously outlined, this ambient dust in the air could come in contact with the primary explosion flame front. This results in an uncontrolled explosion in an occupied space.

    To minimize the risk of secondary explosions, the first step should always be to expect perfect performance from your dust collection system. It is not acceptable to have a dust collection system that does not function properly. Another suggestion is to limit the amount of horizontal surfaces in your plant that cannot be regularly cleaned. Drop ceilings and in-accessible equipment are great examples of this.

    There are many strategies that may fit your unique application or facility. We recommend to consult your local or state building codes and regulations before choosing your explosion venting strategy. Some areas will have specific regulations for fire safety and environmental safety, and you want to ensure you are meeting those guidelines. Here are some questions to consider before implementing an explosion venting strategy.

    Questions to Consider

    At U.S. Air Filtration, we have been eliminating the hazards of industrial dust for 35 years.
    To learn more about how you can manage industrial dust at your facility contact us at 888-221-0312 or [email protected] to speak with an engineer

  6. 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

  7. Dust Collector Change Out Check List

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    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
  8. Dust Collector Inspection and Service

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    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.

  9. 12 Days of Christmas Dust Collection Maintenance Tips

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    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.

  10. Dust Collection Lead Times and Shipping During the Holidays

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    Dust Collection Lead Times

    There are many variables that impact dust collection lead times, particularly during a pandemic.  Whether you are returning to work, ramping up production, or are planning a change-out during  this holiday season, consider the following factors that can have an impact on your lead times.

    • Media Availability: Specialty or rare media is usually not in-stock and may need to be sourced or fabricated. Examples include media such as PPS, P84, PTFE on PTFE, Fiberglass, Basalt, and Aramid (depending on seasonal availability and media weight requested), etc.
    • Custom Features: Dust collector parts with features, dimensions, or accessories that are not common. This can include oval shaped cages, uncommon weights for filter media (e.g. Aramid 16 oz.), and more.
    • Production Schedule: Dust collector change-outs and maintenance are often seasonal depending on factors such as location and industry. Production schedules can get backed up when an influx of orders are received around the same time. For example, change-outs in the Northeast region of the U.S. are commonly scheduled in the spring or fall season. This is because a large percentage of customers want to avoid conducting change-outs in the extreme temperatures of summer and winter months.
    • Holidays: Holidays can impact everything from production to shipping. If you have a scheduled change-out during a long holiday weekend, it is best to cushion in additional time to receive and inspect your order.

    If you are returning to work after a long hiatus, we have created a return to work dust collection start-up guide and a dust collector maintenance eBook that you can download below to help get your dust collection system started safely.

    Return to Work Guide

    Dust Collector Maintenance eBook

    Dust Collection Shipping

    Shipping will continue to change and evolve, especially during the holiday season. We want to help you get what you need, when you need it. We also want to be as transparent as possible and provide the most up to date changes regarding dust collection lead times and shipping. The standard procedures and guarantees that you may have been used to with shipping, may have been modified. Below are some of the top changes that directly affect a large portion of businesses.


    1. Changes to the UPS Service Guarantee: Effective March 26, 2020 and until further notice, the UPS Service Guarantee is suspended for all shipments from any origin to any destination. Commitment times for some services have also changed.
    2. Is UPS slowing down delivery service? The majority of UPS services continue with the same expected delivery timeframes customers have come to expect. While UPS has suspended their Service Guarantee, they are committed to providing timely and reliable service.

    For more details and answers to some of your other questions, we highly recommend checking the UPS website for the latest changes and service alerts: UPS Notices and Service Alerts


    1. Changes to Fedex Money Back Guarantee: Earlier this year and until further notice, FedEx suspended money-back guarantee for all FedEx Express, FedEx Ground, FedEx Freight and FedEx Office services.
    2. Do I need to sign for my package? Until further notice, Fedex has suspended Signature Required for most shipments.

    For more details and answers to some of your other questions, we highly recommend checking the Fedex website for the latest changes and news: Fedex Notices and Alerts

    Freight Carriers

    This year multiple freight carriers have minimized their workforce or altered their protocols as businesses slowly ramp up production or remain closed in response to COVID-19. Many carriers adapted quickly and implemented safety measures for their remaining staff to maintain continuity of shipping services. As freight carriers navigate through ever-evolving changes and face the upcoming holiday season, you may experience a delay in general delivery times.

    To get more detailed information about a specific carrier, please check their website directly for the latest updates or changes.

    Warehouse Management

    Should businesses’ and warehouses ramp up holiday hours, we want to help you avoid costly delays or complications. Implementing a comprehensive receiving process is one way to eliminate added time or delays to your dust collector start-up or change-out.

    To get a comprehensive receiving check list, access and download our guide below.

    Download My Free Receiving Check List

    Once the receiving process is complete, and as soon as you are able to, you can access our filter bag check list below. The check list will help guide you through the process of verifying product count, fit, and what to do should you encounter any issues.

    Download My Free Filter Bag Check List