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Fine dust coming out of Ridgid shopvac after vacuuming concrete debris ...

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  • Fine dust coming out of Ridgid shopvac after vacuuming concrete debris ...


    A few months back I was re-laying some stone slabs in my backyard, and while using an angle grinding to cut a stone, I had a friend nearby using our Ridgid 14 gal. 6.0 HP wet/dry vac to help suck up the dusty debris.

    Ever since then, I've noticed that the vacuum exhaust puts out this dry smell that I assume to be fine concrete dust being regurgitated. It has a musty smell and feels like I shouldn't be breathing it.

    At the time I had a dust bag inside the vacuum as well a the 3-layer "fine dust" filter. Since noticing this smell I replaced the dust bag and replaced the filter with their 5-layer ~HEPA. It's probably been about 4-5 months since then, and the vacuum still outputs this smell. I was hoping it would go away but it does not seem to be diminishing at all.

    Does anyone have any ideas ? Is there a way I can disassemble part of the vacuum's air pathways and clean out the system more fully ? Also maybe there's another filter inside that is clogged up with the dust and I need to get inside and replace this one ?

  • #2
    Find a good mechanical engineer and I bet he/she could give you a great answer on how to take it
    apart and clean it.

    Have that same engineer look up the schematics on line.


    • fixitright
      fixitright commented
      Editing a comment
      Sometimes ya just can't help yourself.

  • #3
    Hardly think you'll need an engineer.

    If you've replaced the dust bag and the filter, then I would have thought that should have been more than enough. I have two of the 12 gallon vacs from around 2005, and I've vacuumed all kinds of debris without a problem. Stone dust can be pretty fine however and I'm wondering if it has clung to the inside of the barrel or the hoses. I'd remove the filters, and wash out the barrel and hoses and then let them dry in the sun. Likewise, the inlet on the top of the vacuum could probably use a cleaning too.

    Can we presume that you used a wet grinder and that the stone dust entered the chamber and hoses in a wet form? If so, it would definitely cling to the hoses and dust barrel and after some time perhaps even smell moldy I suppose. It might have even entered the motor housing, but with good filters I wouldn't think so. The top, which contains the motor should come apart at least to the point where you can see if dust is inside the motor. If not, then any local tool service might be able to check that for you... IF you really are all that concerned. However, I would think that the normal air passages (barrel and hoses) would be where the odor is coming from.

    Hope this helps,



    • #4
      Thanks both -- good call on the hose, I should try running it without the hose attached and see if that makes a difference, should be a quick way to check that. I ran it dry when vacuuming the concrete debris, so there shouldn't be any large clumps inside.

      Otherwise yeah I may need to just carefully take it apart and inspect the fixed passageways around the motor and give it a good compressed-air blowout. Schematics would be great to give me some idea of what the innards look like before I open it up.


      • #5
        guessing the new one are not much different than the old ones,

        most the suction fans are in a can under the motor, and on the fans there are vanes, if dirt got through the filters, then the vanes could have dust (if it was wet one could even have a dried concrete dust sludge on them)

        it is not easy to get to the vanes, but I would think if one wanted to try to "clean them" one could UNPLUG the machine, and take a garden hose and with the filters off run some water throughout the unit, shake out the water and let it dry, (I really doubt if the water would do any damage, to the machine), most look like this,

        the vacuum hose could be washed out as well,

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        • #6
          I use my wet dry vac for all sorts of dust control but it's mainly cutting masonry and wood. Wood dust isn't as problematic as masonry which can turn into a a clingy powder and just seems to get everywhere, I'm sure you've noticed. Sounds like your doing about what all you can do to control it except for a few minor tweaks and one significant tweak.

          When you've stopped your cutting for the day, I'd tap the hoses and then turm the vacum on for a second to clear out the fines in the hose. This will reduce the fines that fall out when your putting things away. When your going clean out your shop vac, use another shop vac to clear out around the suction port where the bag attaches. Use a cheap paint brush to clear out the tank to clear out the dust. I have a smaller Ridgid vac with a HEPA filter and bag to help me with this.

          You might try using a vortex filter, it is a big time and filter saver. They run about $100 bucks, some more some less it sort of depends on your budget but they all work more or less the same way some however better than others. Most of the debris will end up in the can and not in expensive bags and filters. Your will be able to vacum for a much longer duration with less reduction in suction which the fines in masonry dust tend to do.

          i use a Goretex filter from Clean stream which makes cleaning very easy. You can literally tap it clean or use the paintbrush to sweep it clean, takes about 5 minutes as opposed to what used to seem like an eternity. You will never use another Ridgid replacement filter after that experience.

          i recomend you use an better quality dust mask when you cleaning out your gear, silicates or sawdust aren't to good for you. I'd avoid getting dust into the plenum side of the filter shroud, masonry dust is just rough on things and it sticks to the fan blades and everything else.