In recent magazine (Professional car washing) there was an article that mentioned vacuuming. I have the Ridgid Vac the mounts on the wall in my shop and must admit it is powerful and I LOVE IT. I also bought a remote, aftermarket Rockler I believe, switch for it, I carry it in my pocket and it works from anywhere on the premises. Here’s more on choosing a shop vacuum to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of 10 shop vacuums.
My solution to expensive dust extractor bags is to dedicate the dust extractor to the random orbit sander and use a Rigid shop vac without a bag for general clean up and stuff that generate larger dust and chips like router tables, track saw, etc. A portable dust extractor, or a shop vac, moves small volumes of air but does so in a way that is still quite effective when using small hoses.
But the pleats are hard to clean when the dust is wet or caked on. If you do a lot of wet pickup, a flat paper (or foam) filter is better. You might be able to keep your shop vac dry by putting a barrel or other container that can withstand negative pressure upstream of the vac. If space is at a premium and you want a vacuum that’s easy to use anywhere in your home, this is a great choice. I think I can keep things really clean and not spill any oil into the shop vac. The explosion proof vacuums that Hughes Environmental uses are 5 times as powerful as the standard shop vac.
But with this switch AND the speed control switch hooked together to the vac the setup starts to get really clumsy. I’m not sure if that’s because doing so will ruin the filters, or because the vacuum couldn’t vacuum the water well enough with one on. Another sparking hazard that shop vacs create is within the motor running the vacuum. I grew to like this vac because it’s a very good performer that’s easy to use anywhere.
But, I hooked it up to my 16 gallon Shop Vac with a dust bag and it worked great…no dust in the air. I have a small shop in my basement with both an air filtration system and an older delta 2hp 2 bag dust collector in my garage that the ducts run into my basement. Usually our shop vac gets used when we’re picking up large debris or water from some sort of plumbing backup. When we were routering out the channels for our bookshelves, each router pass produced a ton of sawdust, because we were removing a 1”x 1/2” x 8′ channel of MDF board each time (approximately equal to a 3 ½” cube of dust). We purchased this vac in April 2007 to help clean up after home improvement projects.
The job you will be able to accomplish with your shop vac will be little more than surface cleaning of vent areas. A hot tub, that may have 500 gallons of water in it, may require emptying the tank 50 times. For this reason, it is important NOT to leave the vac running unattended during operation. The water trap filtration and low speed may also allow the user to use the machine as a stand-alone air purifier and humidifier unit. One thing that my Shop vacuum does not do is draw as deep of a suction as the CT series at wide open. Other attachments are available, including gutter-cleaning equipment for the blower models.
I’m hoping you were not actually running your HVAC system while dust debris was being created during your remodel project. To avoid a mess when emptying your shop vacuum, line the vacuum tank with a large plastic trash bag. One end of a standard small (1.25″) shop vac hose fits snugly inside the the connector on the drop (which is a 4″ hose that only reduces to 2.5″ to connect to the blade guard). Simply use a digging bar (a heavy metal bar which uses gravity to break up the ground), then suck up the loose dirt you create.
Shop vacuums are multipurpose tools that can clean up the toughest messes around your house. When choosing the filter you want to use the thicker the better and the larger the returns the better. All you need is an extra length of vacuum hose so you can hook the Shop Vac up to the bucket while vacuuming with the other hose or connecting it to the outlet port of your dust creating tools. Lets see I have used mine to suck down my water beds, clean cars, clean up wood shaving in the barn.
I use a Dyson Animal that efficiently removes the, err, layers of dirt and german shepherd x2 doghair. As Marc said a small nozzle on a large dust collection pipe is nothing but a flow staller, but if you have a way of moving a large volume of air to pick up what the high speed air of the vac has left behind you are better by far. The vac seems to last longer, i always seemed to get a little hole in the dry paper filter and was blowing dust around and the vac would expired sooner, than my wet vac. Air will be drawn into the vacuum through the suction port and exit through the blower port.
A cyclonic separation system , if used, does not lose suction as the collection container fills up, until the container is nearly full. This takes care of a good 99% (if not more) of the heavier particles, and means the vacuum collection and HEPA only has a very small amount of particles to deal with, and means their filters last a lot longer. The biggest shop vac hose I know of is only 2.5″ so you don’t have much further to go when reducing down to a dust port size. I bought the Ridgid vacuum for cleaning my shop floor and also for dust collection.
I have a wet/dry Shop Vac QPL 60 that Shop Vac, free of charge, replaced the whole top assembly for free. If you are sucking up very fine material (drywall dust is a likely candidate), then you’ll want the full monty of the filters. We included bigger pieces of mulch to see how well the shop vacs handled heavier projects. I’ve the cleanstream filters while sucking up water..instead of removing the paper filter(which should be done, the foam can stay). They also can suck up puddles of water caused by plumbing leaks as well as other common large and small home and shop spills.
The National Fire Protection Association codebook 654 Standard for the Prevention of Fire and Dust Explosions from the Manufacturing, Processing, and Handling of Combustible Particulate Solids 20013 Edition” outlines the proper way to clean dust. The locking tabs that hold the cover on do not lock good as when lifting the unit it comes off (even when the tabs are locked)and dust everywhere! Unscrew the blower cover on the backside of the Wet/Dry Vac’s motor container with your hand to expose the blower port.
I use a commercial grade 7 inch edger sander for subfloors before laying flooring and it picks up 95% of dust and never breaks open. There is one additional thing you can do to make your shop vac more effective at collecting dust and that’s to use a cyclone separator. I ran 2 inch p.v.c. pipe over head in the shop and made drops of 1 1/2 pipe at work locations with ball valves to isolate unused drops. While our tested attributes should be leading considerations in buying the right shop vacuum, other features and capabilities should figure into your choice.
Air and dust are sucked at high speed into the collection vessel at a direction tangential to the vessel wall, creating a fast-spinning vortex The dust particles and other debris move to the outside of the vessel by centrifugal force , where they fall due to gravity. While a dust extractor such as Festool may be the IDEAL solution, I wince more than a little at the prospect of spending twice what I did for my 2hp dust collector on a single-purpose tool. I used a 5 gallon 2.5 HP Shop-Vac for my drywall sanding project and burned out the motor.