What does the filter element of your unit look like? If you are
missing the paper filter that goes over the foam pad, you will have
exactly the symptoms you described. The paper filters, and the ring to
hold it in place if you don't have that, should be pretty cheap.
After you get it working, check the filter frequently. I find that the
ring works its way loose over time, making the problem happen again.
I had one freeby vac I picked up that didn't have the ring or filter.
I had a spare filter, so I cut the top ring off a nursery flower pot
that was the right size for a new ring.
Thanks, all! It'll have to wait for this weekend before I can take the thing
outside and feildstrip it enough to blow the dust out with leaf blower from
upwind side, measure the guts, and go to the store and see if any of the
cloth bag or paper disc filters will fit. Lowes web site looked promising.
None of the industrial supply houses around here are open after my normal
working hours. I'm pretty sure none of the cartridge filters that look like
truck air filters will fit- mine has no fittings for that locking disk or
ring the pictures show.
The one I have is OLD. 600C model number is not even listed on their web
page. Metal can, not plastic, looks about 6? gallons. Intake and outgo holes
in top, not in side. 1.5 hp. From the styling, early 80s at the newest.
Yeah, I probably need a new one, but as long as this one still sucks, and I
can rig some sort of dust filter up, well... It works great on normal dirt,
it is just the fine stuff like rust/drywall/concrete powder that put it in
smoke generator mode.
And as to the carpet- hiring someone is looking better and better.
I have some really old mini shop vac (actiually Genie Jet Vacs) they
sell filters with "bottoms" rather than the sealing disc.
The ones wil the sealing discs have too large ID to fit my vacs
check out this filter....they give the ID as 5 3/4"
if your filter receiver is about that size (or slightly smaller) a
friction fit will work great.
as long as you can get good filters for your shop vac why get a new
Just because it's not in the cross reference doesn't mean that you can't
get filters for it. Last time I looked, the filter mount on almost all
Shop-Vacs was the same, and took the same size foam filter / bag /
pleated filter. You want a filter that has an opening on one end but is
sealed by a metal or plastic cover on the other end, and whose opening
is a snug fit to your vac's filter area. It will take some force to
push it on.
Shop-Vacs are common enough that you can find third-party filters. For
example, Gore (the Gore-tex people) make a filter called CleanStream
that removes even extremely fine dust from the air.
the lid, and take all that and a tape measure down to the big-box. Hopefully
I'll find something that fits, or can be made to. (I figure the borg would
get cranky if I carry the lid and motor into the store and start
BTW, the less expensive paper filters, the ones not for soot, are
circle shapped. They go on flat along the bottom of the cage, and
then wrinkle as put around the foam filter. They are held on by a
plastic ring (whhere the cross section is a quarter round) for
shop-vac, and a thick rubber band for Ridgid.
If you have the ring, you can buy a bad of filters for a dollar less
at Walmart. If you need a ring, you can buy a bag at Lowes with the
plastic ring, or iirc and HD with the rubber band ring. I like the
plastic ring better, but if for some reason, I want to store one
outside of the machine, the rubber band takes less space. I can't
remember why I once wanted to store one outside the machine.
Is it an actual "Shop Vac" brand vacuum? What size is the tank?
Most shop vacuums have a foam filter that is mostly for sucking up
If you vacuum dry items, there's usually either a paper bag that slides
over the foam filter and is held in place with a rubber band, or there's
an actual pleated filter that slides in place and is held in place with a
The pleated filters come in various filtration ratings (how small of a
particle they block), but tend to be fairly expensive ($15 and up) and
clog up rather quickly.
If your Shop Vac is 12 gallons or larger, you can buy large filtration
bags that wrap around the inside of the tank and attach to the incoming
hose port. These are more affordable (typically 3 bags for $15) and last
a LOT longer than the other filters (though I leave the original filters
in place when I use the bag). The bags also make emptying a lot cleaner
and easier. When the bag is full, just take it out and throw it in the
trash. Sure beats dumping the can with dust flying everywhere.
The filtration bags are typically available in "Fine" and "Medium"
particle ratings, at any of the home centers (Home Depot, Lowes, etc.). I
use the fine bags for vacuuming saw dust and cold ashes from our
woodstove, and have never had a problem with dust coming back out.
Of course, if you can't find bags or filters for your vacuum, maybe it's
time to upgrade to a new Shop Vac? Just a thought...
I've never done it but you could seal off the space with plastic, put on
goggles and a face mask, and have one person vacuum the dust as you pull
back the carpet slowly.
Another option might be to wet it down first. It would keep the dust
down, but would make the carpet heavier. Cut it into small pieces to take
it out. Then scoop up whatever wet goop is remaining with a flat shovel.
I take a craftsman wet/dry vac and have a real long hose.
Then I remove the internal filter. The vac is placed outside turned
I take the hose inside and go to town. Sucks everything outside and
clog the vac. Works real well. I got the 20' hose from sears.
That's true for ordinary household vacuums, which run the dirt pickup
air through the motor (after the filter) for cooling. But all of the
shop vacs I've ever looked at have a separate path for motor cooling
air. Motor cooling air comes from the space around the motor via slots.
You really need this change in construction for vacuuming up water. The
filter for water pickup (particularly if it's just a foam sleeve, not a
pleated filter) lets some water through, and you don't want water inside
your motor no matter how briefly. Also, shop vacs normally have a float
valve so when the tank fills up with water the float blocks the impeller
inlet instead of having the vacuum start spewing water out the outlet
port. Once this happens, there's no air flow at all through the tank,
but the motor still needs cooling air. Again, a separate motor cooling
air path solves this problem.
Good central vacs for houses also seem to use separate motor cooling
air, though I've seen one that cooled the motor with the filtered air.
If you throttled the air flow by putting a small nozzle on it, the motor
would overheat and trip a thermal protector after a few minutes on that
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