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Forum topic by Jack Lewis posted 01-07-2018 11:12 PM 783 views 1 time favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Jack Lewis

306 posts in 1157 days


01-07-2018 11:12 PM

I am fearful of using a heater for fear of dust ignition. Is it OK for an electric or any kind of heater as long as I am not sanding or painting? Thanks for some replies.

-- "PLUMBER'S BUTT! Get over it, everybody has one"


17 replies so far

View Timmie99's profile

Timmie99

24 posts in 517 days


#1 posted 01-07-2018 11:27 PM

Hello Jack. I live in the snowy north and it is so nice to have a heated shop that I can just walk out to and start working. I built my shop on the second floor of my barn. I have a boiler downstairs and a long baseboard in the shop. I did this for exactly the reason you mentioned. I didn’t want to start the shop on fire.

I’ve seen many Amish shops in my area that heat with a big wood stove in center of their shop. I assume they must be careful to always keep sawdust cleaned up etc.

A good dust collecting system will also minimize fire danger. I guess common sense comes into play but I still like my baseboard heat!

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Jim Finn

2663 posts in 3001 days


#2 posted 01-07-2018 11:32 PM

Not super cold here in West Texas but I have one of those oil filled electric heaters in my 23’x13’ shop. I have a very dusty shop that I spend 30-40 hours a week in. This heater works well for me with a small fan behind it.

-- No PHD just a DD214 and a GED Website> https://craftingcouple.com

View Ripper70's profile

Ripper70

1084 posts in 987 days


#3 posted 01-07-2018 11:44 PM

I’ve got one of these. Works great and is thermostatically controlled. I don’t believe there’s any issue regarding dust or VOC ignition with a heater like this. Runs on 220v.

-- "You know, I'm such a great driver, it's incomprehensible that they took my license away." --Vince Ricardo

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ArtMann

1005 posts in 895 days


#4 posted 01-07-2018 11:59 PM

There is a lot of research available on the subject of wood dust explosions. The best information I found said that the density of dust in a shop needed to flash over is such that you could neither breathe nor see more than a few inches. The only place where that concentration of dust might be present is internal to a fully loaded dust collector.The recorded dust fires I was able to find, including a large furinture factory, were due to large piles of dust collecting on the top of machinery and in contact with a direct flame. I know it is important for you to stay in your comfort zone no matter what the research proves, but I have been using an unvented propane space heater along with an electric heater in my wwodshop for over 10 years.

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ArtMann

1005 posts in 895 days


#5 posted 01-08-2018 12:01 AM

..

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ArtMann

1005 posts in 895 days


#6 posted 01-08-2018 12:03 AM

There is a lot of research available on the subject of wood dust explosions. The best information I found said that the density of dust in a shop needed to flash over is such that you could neither breathe nor see more than a few inches. The only place where that concentration of dust might be present is internal to a fully loaded dust collector. Sucking up a burning match isn’t a good idea. The recorded dust fires I was able to find, including a large furniture factory, were due to large piles of dust collecting on the top of machinery and in diirect contact with an open flame. I know it is important for you to stay in your comfort zone no matter what the research proves, but I have been using an unvented propane space heater along with an electric heater in my woodshop for over 10 years. I just don’t think you have much to worry about.

View Redoak49's profile

Redoak49

3391 posts in 2067 days


#7 posted 01-08-2018 12:05 AM

I also have one of the oil filled radiator style heaters and works well. When I need more heat I use a small ceramic type heater.

View alittleoff's profile

alittleoff

540 posts in 1355 days


#8 posted 01-08-2018 12:39 AM

I can tell you that you will have no explosions using your heater or any kind of heater in your shop. The dust would be so thick you couldn’t work in there. Even the dust collectors that are sold are not made explosion proof. There’s no need for it. As for paint, it would have to be a lot of spraying going on for it to explode. As in an enclosed paint booth with no ventilation. Run your heater and don’t worry about it.
Gerald

View Planeman40's profile

Planeman40

1200 posts in 2840 days


#9 posted 01-08-2018 02:15 AM

Interesting subject.

I have been woodworking now for 60 plus years making dust around gas water heaters and gas furnaces in a basement and I’m still here (knock on wood). I remember one time in the early 1970s when I was building a 50 ft. long main spar (in two 25 ft. sections) for a homebuilt sailplane. After laminating up a 25 ft. long section of spar and then cutting it to shape and hand planing it down, I finished up with a belt sander. I was wearing a good mask to deal with the dust. All was going well, but the dust had reached a point of being a thick hazy cloud in the shop. Then suddenly I thought about all of that dust and the water heater and furnace nearby. It scared me stiff! I quickly shut off the furnace and water heater and evacuated the house for a few hours to allow the dust to settle, then cleaned up. The wife was away while this happened. I never said anything about it, but ever since I am a lot more careful about allowing the sanding dust to accumulate. : )

Planeman

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View crank49's profile

crank49

4032 posts in 3050 days


#10 posted 01-08-2018 02:49 AM

My dad was a hardwood floor finisher. He once put a coat of lacquer finish on a floor and walked out to his truck to clean his applicator. He did not know a plumber had been in earlier and turned the heat on in the bathroom. While he was at his truck the house blew up. Didn’t burn though. Just blew all the windows out. One big bang.

Fumes will certainly combust.

And so will dust. Admittedly, dust must be in high concentration. I was helping empty the dust bag from his sanding machine one day and a trash pile that was burning about 30 ft away ignited the dust all around me. Just singed my hair and scared the crap out of me, but no real damage.

View alittleoff's profile

alittleoff

540 posts in 1355 days


#11 posted 01-08-2018 04:13 AM

About the only time you have to worry about something igniting around a woodworking shop is if you have a spray booth for painting. The fumes gather there and will ignite. All wiring for the system has to be installed sealed and using explosion proof fittings. And rigid conduit. Very expensive. But I’ve never seen a home shop that was classified as a hazardous location and required to be constructed that way. Just use common sense and you will be alright, and won’t get blown up.

Gerald

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5032 posts in 2572 days


#12 posted 01-08-2018 12:37 PM

I’ll echo pretty much what’s been said above…you are worrying about something that won’t happen. The dust will be so thick you can’t do anything before it would ignite. That said, my first first shop was heated by a wood stove, then a gas furnace. The next 2 (which includes the current one) also had/have a gas furnace, a ceiling hung Modine type. The first 2 shops had “direct vent” furnaces (meaning they draw outside air for combustion). This was less about explosion concerns than it was for the fact that I didn’t want the dust to get into the working parts of the furnaces and coat them. But the current shop I didn’t do direct vent. It draws room air for combustion, and i may wind up regretting it….in which case i might retro ft it to direct vent. But you can use whatever heat source works for you, and while you certainly want to avoid explosive vapors (NC lacquer and such) you don’t need to worry about the dust.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View bbasiaga's profile

bbasiaga

1239 posts in 2074 days


#13 posted 01-08-2018 01:30 PM

The dust .get be so thick you can’t see your arm at the end of your hand. You will not fill your whole shop with that much dust. However, it still is i.portant to keep dust cleaned up. What can happen is a small pile can get kicked up near the ignition source, ignite and kick up a larger pile, which then ignites bigger…..etc.

Still not likely, but possible if you do not keep the shop relatively clean. More likely is that a pile of dust settles on the heater, gets dry as it beats up, then smoulders. Also a housekeeping issue.

I’ve got a 220v electric heater in my shop. It’s expensive to run, but no dust issues so far. I am thinking of going to one of those gas heaters, the indoor ventless ones.

Brian

-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View tomsteve's profile

tomsteve

800 posts in 1298 days


#14 posted 01-08-2018 03:03 PM

what they said.
small 16 by 24 shop with lots of dust making and havent ever had a problem with my propane heater.

View Tony1212's profile

Tony1212

210 posts in 1813 days


#15 posted 01-08-2018 03:14 PM



I ve got one of these. Works great and is thermostatically controlled. I don t believe there s any issue regarding dust or VOC ignition with a heater like this. Runs on 220v.

- Ripper70

I have a heater very similar to this. And I’ve filled my shop (3 car garage) with a thick haze of dust numerous times. I’ve never had a problem.

Despite doing damn near everything I can think of for dust collection, my 1950’s hybrid tablesaw still spews dust like a windstorm in Arizona.

-- Tony, SW Chicago Suburbs

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