5 Problems Everyone Has With Dust Extractors- How To Solve Them


By Mike Chua | Last Updated: January, 2021

5 Problems Everyone Has With Dust Extractors

Powerful woodworking tools produce large amounts of dust. As a result, dust extractors are crucial in keeping chippings and dust under control in a workshop or on-job sites. The dust is a health hazard that needs to be kept under control. The dust extractors come in various types ranging from the fine dust extractors, vacuum extractors, air filters, and chip extractors.

However, there are certain concerns that you will encounter when dealing with dust and dust-extractor machines. What are 5 problems everyone has with dust extractors and how to solve them? What is the health implication of the dust particles? Read on for more information!

Health Effects of Dust Particles

The dust particles vary in size and may be visible or invisible. Large dust particles and other chippings are often trapped in the nose and mouth making it easier to breathe them in or swallow. The smaller particles will find their way into the lungs and absorbed directly into the bloodstream.

The toxicity of dust particles depends on the type and size of particles. The amount of dust inhaled and duration of exposure determines the possible health impacts. Some of the short time reactions include sneezing, coughing, and eye irritation.  Long-term effects include respiratory conditions such as chronic obstructive airway disease and asthma.

5 Problems Everyone Has With Dust Extractor and How to Solve Them

Filter Not Cleaning Properly

A faulty filter that does not clean efficiently leads to a pressure drop which reduces airflow at the dust pick-out points. It also uses a lot of energy and reduces the efficiency of the dust extractor. Some of the possible causes include:

A faulty hopper

The hopper is in the lower part of the dust collector. It should be emptied and checked on a regular basis. For festool dust extractor without a rotary valve needs regular emptying. For those with a rotary valve, ensure the hopper is discharging well as required.

Solenoid valves

Faulty solenoid valves will cause the pulse valves to fail and operate inefficiently.  The solution is to replace the faulty valves for improved performance.

Moisture Accumulation

Excess moisture causes plugging of the bags resulting in improper cleaning and shortened lifespan. Moisture reduces the effectiveness and efficiency of the dust extractor tools. When it becomes clogged with hygroscopic dust, the dust-liquid mixture clogs the system. The impermeable coating resists air flow into the machine, reducing the functionality of the tool.

The trick is to combat the snow filters with compressed air dryers and identify the possible sources of moisture. While at it, look out for any leaks that might affect the dust collection system.

 Replace the plugged bags to avoid further problems. The dust collector insulation exteriors should be considered too.

Dust Extractor Operating At Low Pressure

Dust extractors operating at low pressure tend to pick insignificant amounts of dust which costs money and valuable time. Some of the factors causing low volume include:

Exhaust fan performance

It may be a slipping belt, incorrect fan rotation, or a poorly conditioned impeller or inlet. Evaluate the exhaust fan for specific problems and correct them. Reset the fan and test for pressure drop and air flow.

Clean plugged filter bags

When the filter bags are improperly cleaned, it may cause a high-pressure drop resulting in reduced air volume. Clean the filters in an off-line mode and ensure the fans are turned off. Restart the unit, and if the pressure is still low, you might need to replace the bags.

Machine Operating At High Pressure And Picks Up Excessive Dust

 When a dust extractor picks up too much product, it overworks the system which costs the plant time and money. Some of the possible causes include:

The fan speed

The fan might be running at a higher speed than the designated one. It pulls in too much air causing the machine to draw in the excess dust. Adjust the fan to the recommended speed for improved efficiency.

Check the inlet ducts

Sometimes, the inlet ducts may be loose and larger than required, which lowers the static system loss. Evaluate the condition of the inlet ducts at several locations and ensure they are working as they should. Make any adjustments and check for leaks before reading the measurements.

Design-Specific Problems

Your tool might have some design specific problems regarding the cleaning mechanism. Some of the possible causes are:

Shaking action

Is it strong as it should be? Inspect the check pins and bearings and make any necessary adjustments. You can increase the shaking rate by evaluating if the filter bags have the right tension.

The cleaning cycle interval

Have you set the cleaning cycle at the required interval? If not, set it to the shortest interval possible between compartments for improved efficiency.


Dust extractors are useful tools as they help trap dust particles and other chippings that are potential health hazards. However, a faulty machine results in possible shut-down, costly downtimes, and the risk of inhaling the airborne dust. It also increases utility costs for the plant.

We have discussed 5 problems everyone has with dust extractors and their troubleshooting tips. Most of them involve filter bags and faulty valves which cause a pressure drop or increase thereby affecting the tool’s performance. It is important to maintain the OSHA and EPA compliance regulations for maximized efficiency and safety of the people. Pay close attention to any changes in the system that affects the efficient and smooth running of the system.

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About the Author Mike Chua

Vircet is your one-stop modern products website that offers you detailed reviews based on efficiency, capacity, design, and performance. We help you make better decisions.

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