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Preventing Dust Collector Fires

Preventing Dust Collector Fires



Dust collector fires are more common than you think for three reasons:

  1. Everything in the surrounding area is being sucked in, particularly, fine particles, and the high airflow will keep any spark alive.
  2. The cartridges used in the dust collectors are made of paper, so when in contact with a live spark, they will ignite and burn very effectively.
  3. Spontaneous combustion, a reaction that results in heat, can occur and provides the perfect environment for fire. Once ignited, these fires will thrive, due to the excellent supply of oxygen.

Next, here are 3 ways to help prevent dust collectors catching fire:

1. Make sure no hot work, like welding or cutting is taking place near the dust collector intake

• If you must perform these activities, make sure you install a spark arrestor before you begin using the dust collector. A spark arrestor runs the air through a trap that separates and cools any big sparks that could ignite. It is specially designed to work with the air flow that’s going through. If you need a spark arrestor, give us a call, our sales team can help you.

2. Buy flame retardant cartridges

• These perform better than paper cartridges given they are flame retardant. This technology is similar to flame retardant clothing; it’s treated so that it won’t sustain a fire.
• An ember can still burn a hole through the flame-retardant cartridge and a small leak will form, which is an easy fix versus having a burnt collector to repair.

3. Empty the dust every hour, to prevent spontaneous combustion

• Spontaneous Combustion is a slow process, in which the rust gets hotter and hotter. The airflow from the dust collector creates the perfect environment for fire.

The riskiest scenario in which spontaneous combustion causes a fire is when you are blasting bright white steel, using steel grit.
This is because:
a) It is oily
b) The iron filings are combustible
a. This won’t happen with Garnet or other non-metallic abrasives because there is not enough combustible material


Should you have any concerns or questions regarding a painting project you have coming up give our service representatives a call.  We’re always here to help!

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