How to Tell If Your Vacuum Is Grounded?

How to Tell If Your Vacuum Is Grounded?

I currently use a Shop-Vac QSP model (16, gallon 5.0HP, 182 CFM, noise level 80dB) for my dust collection. I have installed a Ridgid 2 dust collection network. The network has runs of about 3-feet between 6 gates connecting to 5 tools: bandsaw, 12″ sliding compound miter saw, scrollsaw, floor mounted disc sander, drill press, plus floor cleanup. I am worried about static and sawdust. The Ridgid people state this system is designed to work with a shop vac and does not need to be grounded because it does not have enough airflow. However, even when I use the vacuum alone . unconnected to the network, just vacuuming the floor . I can see sawdust clinging to the outside of the vac and hose that looks like static cling. How dangerous is this? Should the system be grounded?

Simon Watts: Better safe than sorry…

Michael Dresdner: You did not specify whether your piping is plastic or metal. If it is metal, it should be grounded or it will give you shocks when you touch it. Plastic won’t, but you will want to ground the metal wire inside flex hose, and any metal blast gates or these too can give you a zap. Assuming they were manufactured and connected properly, the shop vac and all your tools should already be grounded, so you are probably covered there.

Rob Johnstone: I talked to the folks at RIDGID and here’s their explanation:

“The Ridgid Whole Shop Dust Collection System is designed for use with residential wet/dry vacuums or dust collectors. A majority of the vacuums are manufactured from a plastic material. Although these units can generate static energy, this energy does not pose any additional risk to the user compared with other static discharge sources. Since many of the vacuums are based on a plastic material, grounding is impossible.

The Ridgid Whole Shop Dust Collection System is fabricated from a PVC type plastic and can retain static energy on the surface when the humidity is low. This system shares the same electric static risk as that posed by the plastic based wet/dry vacuums. Static shocks are common in dry areas or when the relative humidity of the air is low. To reduce the frequency of static shocks in your home, the best remedy is to add moisture to the air with a console humidifier.

The Ridgid Whole Shop Dust Collection System is designed for the collection of wood and wood-like material by-products. It is not recommended for use near flammable or combustible liquids, gases, or explosive dusts such as gasoline or other fuels, lighter fluids, cleaners/solvents, oil-based paints, natural gas, hydrogen, coal dust, magnesium dust, grain dust, or gun powder.”

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