PVC Pipe Dangers Debunked
4-in.-dia. plastic duct is unlikely to cause a static-induced blast in a home shop
Synopsis: Home-shop dust collection is a controversial topic, primiarily because of the safety of PVC pipe in this application. Some claim that sparks in PVC pipe due to static electricity may ignite the dust cloud in the pipe. Others speak up for grounding the pipe, thus ensuring safety. Rod Cole consulted scientists at MIT to discuss the physics and ferret out the truth.
Home-shop dust-collection systems have become increasingly popular, but their safety has been hotly debated. The primary issue is whether PVC pipe is safe for use as ductwork. Many claim that sparks in PVC pipe due to static electricity may ignite the dust cloud in the pipe. The specter of a giant fireball consuming a shop and home is repeatedly raised. Others claim you can ground PVC, thus ensuring its safety.
Two years ago I had to decide for myself: PVC or metal ducts for my basement shop.…