Air leaks in a system mean a loss of capacity or draft. Most pulse collectors are suction or negative draft systems. This means the fan is after the collector, and is pulling the air through the baghouse. This is a sealed system, and the source of flow should only be from the pickup point, duct-run, and inlet duct into the collector. Other air entering the system through weld cracks, leaking doors seals, wall-roof holes, duct leaks, bad extension joints, and air locks not properly sealed can greatly diminish the capacity of the system and possibly pull in condensation (which can cause multiple problems in the cleaning effectiveness of the filters).
All efforts should be made to keep the system sealed. A new collector is just like having a new car in the sense that there is very little to do for it; maintenance is the only constant. It is better to have regular maintenance checks, than to react upon first sighting an issue. Some of the most common sources of unintended air leaks are listed below.
Door Seal Failures
Door seals are very important on a suction system. They prevent outside air from leaking into the system and also prevent moisture from entering. Door seals are usually made from silicon rubber or fiberglass. Seals can become miss-aligned, compressed, or disintegrate because of heat or chemical attacks.
Check the inside of the doors for bad or misaligned seals. There will be air tracks in the dust on the floor. Suction systems must have good door seals, so it’s recommended that any time there is a filter bag change out, you also replace the door seal. This in a cost-efficient way to ensure this problem does not occur.
Hopper Weld Cracks
Vibrations will usually cause weld cracks over time. Vibrators in the hopper (intended to keep dust from building up on the hopper walls) can and will eventually cause cracks. In addition, a poorly designed collector, fan, or maintenance procedure of hitting walls with hammers without enough support can cause weld cracks.
Avoid using vibrators if possible. Acoustic or sonic horns have proven to be an excellent solution to keeping dust buildup from occurring without creating severe vibration. In addition, build-up on walls should always be manually removed (no hammers). Strategically placed poke holes in the hopper will allow access to remove build up. And of course, regular maintenance checks on the fan will greatly reduce excessive vibration.
Holes in ductwork
Any hole or leak in the duct-run will allow ambient air to be sucked into the system. This can greatly reduce the designed air draft to properly ventilate the system.
A monthly visual inspection of the entire duct run is highly recommended to ensure your system is not losing draft due to these common air leak origins.
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