A wet-dry vac is great for cleaning up big messes both in your home, basement, garage, workshop, or construction site. It can be used to suck up either water or small solid materials including dirt, garbage, sawdust, etc. You’ll find that a wet-dry vac is a necessary tool whether you own a home or a business alike.
When using your wet-dry vac there are many different ways of using it. You can use it as a wet vac which allows you to pick up water. When picking up water, depending on your shop vac you don’t need to use a filter at all. Today we will understand first how the wet-dry vac works so you know the differences of using it. Then we will review why your wet-dry vac may be blowing dust out and a few solutions to this problem so you can fix it yourself.
How does the wet-dry vac filters work?
If you’re vacuuming up wet or dry materials, it’s important to ensure you empty the tank when switching between wet and dry materials. Having liquids requires a specific process to suck them up as well as dry materials require a specific process as well.
Wet cleaning typically requires a foam sleeve filter as the best choice especially if there is dirt or other materials in the water that you are cleaning up.
As well as having the foam sleeve, some units suggest having a tear-resistant collection bag. This bag is used if you’re cleaning something that may have stones or pebbles in it as the bag catches the pieces inside it while the water is pushed into the chamber easily. This helps to ensure none of the large materials
Although not all shop vacs can suck up water, they can all suck up dry materials and there are different filters made for different types of debris according to the website “CleanThatFloor”.
These filters range from ones that collect debris like wood chips/stones or others that can filter out smaller things like sawdust as well as even finer filters that can ensure ashes, powder, and fine dust will be filtered out to ensure they don’t enter the air that comes out from the vacuum.
Do you need to use a bag?
While you don’t need a bag to vacuum up all materials if you’re planning to vacuum up dry things it is highly recommended that you use a bag for the best performance to ensure dust and particles aren’t tossed up into the air and you’re breathing it in.
If you’re vacuuming up water, a bag is also recommended to ensure any materials don’t damage the unit.
When you use a bag it typically saves you a lot of time and energy, especially a bag, as it ensures a lot of the dry stuff doesn’t make a mess inside the chamber and it doesn’t clog the unit.
Why is your wet-dry vac blowing dust?
While the simple answer is that if your wet-dry vac is blowing dust into the room, it typically means there is an issue with the filter and it needs to be investigated.
Typically, when sucking up the water you won’t ever have an issue with blowing dust back into the room, so we’ll scratch that out as an issue right away.
So, if you’re vacuuming up dry materials and suddenly you see dust flying out of the vacuum, here are a few issues and why it might be causing the dust to be spraying all over.
- The first thing you need to investigate is if you’ve installed the filter onto the wet-vac. First, shut off the vacuum and remove the top of the shop vac to inspect the filter. Make sure the foam filter is in place and a clean filter bag is in place to catch all of the dry debris.
- Next, determine if the filter is damaged by ensuring the wet-vac is turned off and inspect it to ensure there are no holes or visible damages to the filter. If you’re not sure if it’s damaged, ensure it is replaced with a new filter to make sure it’s filtering properly.
- The last reason is typically a clogged filter as this can cause quite a few different issues. Firstly, it can cause the system to not be able to push air out properly and cause a heat build-up in the motor. This can cause your motor to burn up which will ruin your unit. Make sure the wet-vac is turned off and then remove the top and change/clean the clogged filter. If you have this happen often, you may want to check if you should be using a different type of filter appropriate for the type of materials you are sucking up.
These are the most common reasons why there will be dust blowing back into the room and it’s important to ensure this doesn’t happen for two reasons.
The first reason is that it will cause so much dust to be spewed across the room making it dirty again and cause you to have to do additional cleaning.
The second reason is for a health reason as it isn’t good for your lungs to ingest large amounts of dust, especially if this is dust from concrete or other hazardous materials.
If that enters your lungs for too long, you could end up having long-term respiratory problems similar to that which happened to many of the first responders to the 9-11 attacks in New York City.
While the above 3 reasons all focus on the filter as the primary problem, I will point out that there are two other reasons which you should be aware of which may cause dust to fly out of the unit including it having a hole in the hose of your wet-dry vacuum which makes the dust fly out of the side of the hose.
Additionally, the tank of your vacuum may be full which is causing it to force everything out of the unit.
It’s important to always check your wet-dry vac before using it each time to ensure it’s not full, there are no holes present in the hose, and the filter is properly secured to ensure it’s working at its optimum efficiency and keeps the surroundings from getting dusty.