When you get into the details, there are numerous factors which affect the efficiency of your dust collector bags.
Over time, these factors can lead to issues that not only pose a health risk but can disrupt a company’s workflow and cause a huge loss in profits. If anyone in the business has noticed a change in air quality or suspects that there may be a problem it is essential to have the bag checked and, if needed, replaced.
Fortunately, when it comes to looking for signs that your dust collector bags need to be changed, the following tips can serve as an excellent guide of what to look for.
There’s No Air Flow
Dust comes in all shapes and sizes which makes filtering it out a bit troublesome because smaller pieces can leak through and the larger pieces can block essential gaps or begin building up.
As time goes on, the dust itself can begin collecting and gathering in pockets throughout the bag. This then diverts dust to other areas rather than being spread out evenly which increases the volume concentrated on one area.
Unfortunately, this continues at an increasing pace until the air passages in the bag’s fabric become completely blocked. When this happens practically no dust can make it through the pickup points.
Once you notice a reduction in performance, it may be worth seeing if the bags are covered.
Beware of Holes
Another common but often difficult to spot issue is when holes develop in the bag itself.
Despite being quite durable, sometimes sharp pieces of debris can weaken the lining and eventually break through it. At that point, the bag is essentially shooting dust back into the air causing worse efficiency and health risks for those nearby.
Often, the easiest way to see if there are holes is by looking for any piles of dust outside the bag itself. For more subtle leaks, you can also run your hand over the bag to feel for any spots where you feel air on your palm.
If a hole is discovered at any point it is essential to replace the bag as soon as possible to ensure your workplace remains clean and healthy.
Your Dust Collector Bags Were Accidentally Washed
This one seems obvious but you’d be surprised how many people think washing the dust collector bags are an easy and cheap solution to cleaning them.
The main reason it’s a huge problem is because dust collector bags tend to come with a coating that helps seal the gaps and improve the micron rating. When you wash the bag you will likely strip the bag of its coating thus making it less effective and allow more dust to seep out.
Another problem that often occurs after washing the bags is what happens after you dry them.
Despite being cleaner with less dust, it’s common to find that the bags have shrunk in size. This can mean it’s difficult to impossible to put them back on and even if you do, they will not have the same capacity or effectiveness that they did before.
Be sure to check with those responsible for maintaining the bags to see if they are washing them. It’s important that everyone is informed of the proper protocol to ensure your bags last as long as possible.
Stay Ahead of Regulatory Requirements
Dust collection bags don’t last forever and once they begin to deteriorate you open yourself up to health risks and possible liability.
Be sure to read up on all the regulations surrounding air quality to be confident that you are within compliance. Remember, your local requirements may differ from the state and federal ones so thorough research into everything will help protect the business from any possible issues.
If you are unsure when you last changed the bags or how long you’ve been using them, there’s a good chance they could be nearing their end of use or have already reached it.
If you don’t already, keep a log of when bags are installed to make it easy for everyone to know how long they’ve been in use. That way, each person can check the age if they feel something is wrong and alert the necessary people.
Practices like this help keep the workplace healthy and run more efficiently in the long run.
Look for Contamination
Another important signs to look for with your dust collector bags is if they have had any exposure to contaminants that could affect the air.
Sometimes, bags can pick up unwanted bacteria or mold which sneaks through the filtration process and is shot back into the workplace posing a health risk.
This can happen for a number of reasons.
Sometimes, it’s as simple as a change in the weather. The onset of winter and a warm work environment can cause condensation to build up outside or inside the bag which over time leads to mold.
If you notice condensation around the bag then there’s a risk that mold may have already started to form. Equally, if you notice that the bag is beginning to smell then this can be another sign that it’s time to swap it out.
Stay on the Safe Side
Dust collector bags are pretty robust but ultimately there are many things which can lead to their early degradation.
Failing to properly maintain and replace them opens up significant risks to the business. From health risks to employees to fines for not complying with regulations, it’s always worth ensuring your bags are clean and working properly.
For more advice, check out our other articles.