Can I evict this noisy tenant?
I own a cyclone-type dust collector and I'd like to move it outside my shop in order to cut down on the noise. Are there any precautions I need to take?
—David Caceres, Chicago, Ill.
Isolating your dust collector from the rest of your shop—whether by building a closet-like enclosure for it, or moving it to the attic, an adjacent room, or an outdoor enclosure—will definitely cut down on the noise, David. Keep these things in mind as you decide on the best option and plan your layout.
First, you'll need to cut a hole through a wall or the ceiling to connect ductwork to the collector. And if you heat or cool your shop, you'll want to return the filtered, conditioned air back into the shop to prevent creating a negative-pressure situation that could pull carbon monoxide from a furnace or hot-water heater. To do this, you have two options: Return only the cyclone's filter to the shop via ductwork run through the enclosure wall; or leave the dust collector intact and cut an opening in the wall to allow the filtered air to return to the shop, as shown in the photo, above. Add a baffled return chase lined with foam to further cut down on the noise [Drawing, below].
To operate the now-remote dust collector, run a switch from the collector to inside the shop, wire a remote switch to control the collector's power outlet, or purchase a radio-frequency (RF) remote control unit [Sources]. Because the dust collector will be out of sight, periodically check the level of the bin or bag as it fills up, either through a window in the enclosure or an electronic sensor [Sources]. And make sure your enclosure allows room to easily empty the bag or bin.
No matter how you go about it, some of the sound inevitably escapes back into the shop with the returned air. If noise is a major issue in your shop, you may want to consider additional options, such as exhaust silencers or ultra-quiet dust collector models.