Preventing Dust Collector Fires
Dust collector fires are more common than you think for three reasons:
- Everything in the surrounding area is being sucked in, particularly, fine particles, and the high airflow will keep any spark alive.
- 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.
- 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!