New Basement Shop Dust Concerns


I am looking to create a little shop space for myself in my house. My basement is finished, but there is an unfinished room (about 17 x 18) available for me to use separated from the finished room by a door. All of the house mechanicals are in a separate utility room. I just had a few concerns/questions about dust that I was hoping for some help with:
1. There is a Heating/AC register off of the "main duct" in the room (near the ceiling). I am concerned about dust getting into that and then into the furnace (and then the rest of the house). Should I be concerned? What can I do to mitigate the risk (besides an air cleaner and dust collection)? What about a return vent (there isn't one right now - the utility room and unfinished room aren't completely closed off from each other, though they will be)?
2. I plan on putting a subpanel in the room. It seems this is common practice, and there is not much risk here. Do I need to take any precautions?
3. Along the same line, is there any precaution I need to take with either fluorescent or incandescent lighting?
4. Any other general advice? The house is about a year old, so I am not as worried about things like moisture, cracked foundation, etc, and in the finished part of the basement, there is walk-up access to the outside.
Sorry if I seem overly concerned. This is a new process for me. I have looked through archived postings to try and glean information, and I just want to make sure I get it right in my head before I approach potential contractors.
Thanks a lot, Scott mccray.9 (at) gmail.com
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Hi Scott- I have my shop in the basement also. Dust has not been a problem. You identified one of the pluses. You have heat and cool coming in but no return. Same here and I have no plan to put a cold air return n. My thought is the dust stays a bit more self contained in the closed room. Dust will have a tough time crawling up the vents when aire is blowing out. I would take the money and invest in a dust collector. That helps me consderably. I don't have anything fancy - I use the Penn State 1HP model with 1 micron bags. Works well enough for me and my farmer friend likes the wood chips for animal bedding.
I did not install a separate subpanel. I ran the necessary lines off the existing panel for the house. I chewed up a bunch of spares but I have current and don't worry about voltage drop. I think this is a personal preference thing.
I use flourescent lights - 6 of the 4 foot double bulb models in a room about 17 x 19. Close to the same size you are working iwht. In my opinion more light is a better thing.
I did install ceiling panels in the ceiling. Not the grid just the panels to help reduce a bit of the noise. The only time it is noisy now is when the ari compressor is running - a simple dog house would quiet that puppy down. Reduced noise makes momma less cranky upstairs.
Good luck.
Thom

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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com spake thusly and wrote:

Are you an electrician? (self trained or not?) If not then you need to do mega reading and/or get with an electrician. I have done a little wiring here and there but when I finished I called a "real" electrician to inspect my work and then wire to the "hot" panel. Not a lot of expense and well worth it in warm fuzzies.
We wouldn't want to kill someone even 15-20 years down the road, would we?
Steve
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office phone systems, "non-mov" surge protection, Exabyte,
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snipped-for-privacy@sellcom.com wrote:

Sorry for the confusion here. I am not an electrician and will be definitely hiring one to do the work. I just wanted to make sure that placing the subpanel in the shop wouldn't be a concern (e.g., dust getting in there and shorting something out, etc). I don't think it's a big risk (as long as I keep it clean, etc).
Thanks.
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The only reasons I'd think of putting a sub-panel in for a workspace like this are:
1) The room with the current electrical panel is a long ways away, to the point of being inconvenient/unsafe. For a garage or out-building, this is more important. If you're in the basement, and the existing panel is one room over, there's no real advantage.
or
2) I'm out of space with the current panel. If you don't have room to put enough new breakers in your existing box, you don't have many options, so you might as well put in a new sub-panel instead of putting in a bigger main panel.
or
3) I'm putting in a bunch of circuits. It would be easier (probably) to run one large wire over to the new space, and then run the new circuits from there, instead of running a bunch of wires to the existing panel. But in a 17x18 room, there may not be that much of an advantage. How many circuits do you plan on adding? I'm thinking 1 for lights, one or two for 120v, and one or two for 240v. I would definately put your lights on a different circuit than the tools; nothing like blowing a breaker, being put in the dark, but still hearing the saw blade whirring down... Never happened to me, but I can imagine it not being fun.
All this is IMHO, YMMV, etc. For what it's worth, putting in a sub-panel is not much more difficult than putting in a new circuit. Take your time, get educated, and get it inspected after.
Clint

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