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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently moved into a new home and have set up my shop in my nicely heated garage. The heat is an open-flame propane heater mounted on the ceiling. As I thought about turning on the heater for the coming winter, I began to worry about fire or explosion from air-borne dust. My dust collection needs some upgrading, and when I sand, quite a bit gets into the air. I am trying to find information on what is dangerous, and what is acceptable. I plan to install an air cleaner just for healthier air. I welcome any information.
Thanks
Stan
 

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Hi, Stan; welcome!
Off the top, it sounds like an unnecessary risk, as a fire hazard more than an igniter of airborne dust. If you had that much dust floating around, an explosion would be 2nd on the list of 'health' issues. ;)
Cheers
 

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Stan; me again. I was thinking about what you said and it occurred to me that you hadn't mentioned solvents. Now THAT I'd be extremely worried about, especially if you use contact cement (laminating). In fact, I'd turn the gas off now, before I forgot about having it up there.
 

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Stan I have the same concerns I am in a 750 sq ft shop with a two bag jet and even with that on the dust clouds up badly. I use a respirator but my heat is a 1.5 ton window unit I am looking for a used blower from an old HVAC unit to build a box with -1 micron filters. That is how I will deal with it. hope this helps
 

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Hi, Stan; welcome!
Off the top, it sounds like an unnecessary risk, as a fire hazard more than an igniter of airborne dust. If you had that much dust floating around, an explosion would be 2nd on the list of 'health' issues. ;)
Cheers
Agree. As I understand it, you'd have to have a huge amount of dust floating around before you have explosion worries. But as a fire hazard, I would definitely be concerned.
 

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To get an explosion, it would have to be so thick that you would be having trouble seeing through the cloud. If you can smell burning wood when the heater is going I would be concerned about damaging the heater from a buildup of charred wood particles.
 

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Welcome to the forum, Stan.
 

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Solvents are a definite concern!! Fumes can be funny things..

As for the sawdust.. The boys above have pretty much nailed it. The only concern I would have would be for "accumulated" amounts gathering on or above the heater. A routine cleaning would solve that... and a "REMINDER" note that you can't miss seeing everytime you go into your shop wouldn't hurt :)
 

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I am afraid I have to disagree with Chuck, as dust explosions happen all the time in perfectly clear atmospheres. Explosions can happen anytime the particle is sufficiently small and in a specific concentration to sustain near instant propagation. Even asbestos fibers will cause a nasty explosion. The previous writers were correct in identifying vapors as a primary source of fuel. Forgetting about the death you are dancing with, just the open flame alone makes this a high source of IR radiation and any wood, rags, cans of solvent based products in a line of sight with the heater, can overheat and burst into flame. Your heater is made for open air operation when used as described, please go to a forced hot air system or ceramic heaters certified for this application - in the winter you do not have just a shop but a industrial environment with all the safety concerns needing application and adherence.

Please put safety first - Baker
 

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I was sitting here reading the comments and Richard's last comment hit me like a 2x4!
What the Hell is a gas heater doing in a garage?! That can't be legal (building code wise)?
 

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I am afraid I have to disagree with Chuck, as dust explosions happen all the time in perfectly clear atmospheres. Explosions can happen anytime the particle is sufficiently small and in a specific concentration to sustain near instant propagation. Even asbestos fibers will cause a nasty explosion. The previous writers were correct in identifying vapors as a primary source of fuel. Forgetting about the death you are dancing with, just the open flame alone makes this a high source of IR radiation and any wood, rags, cans of solvent based products in a line of sight with the heater, can overheat and burst into flame. Your heater is made for open air operation when used as described, please go to a forced hot air system or ceramic heaters certified for this application - in the winter you do not have just a shop but a industrial environment with all the safety concerns needing application and adherence.

Please put safety first - Baker
I don't entirely disagree with you, and I am a big believer in preventative safety measures, but if average concentrations of wood dust in shops were explosive, there are enough people that smoke while working that we would have heard of at least a few explosions by now. All of the explosions in dusty atmospheres that I am aware of were in sawmills, flour mills, grain or coal storage facilities, etc where the concentrations were very high.
 

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All of the explosions in dusty atmospheres that I am aware of were in sawmills, flour mills, grain or coal storage facilities, etc where the concentrations were very high.
Exactly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for all the comments. I installed a Jet 1000 air filter system that should keep the sawdust in the air to a minimum, so if fire or explosion need lots of dust in the air, I should be safe. However, I had not thought about vapors from flameable liquids. This has me very concerned. Fall is coming in Vermont and I will need to get some heat in there soon. The unit was turned off for the summer. I know a fire inspector that I am going to talk to, so I'll let you know what he says.Thanks again
Stan
 
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