I just purchased a 1.5 HP vortex cone dust collector (with a canister) and was vacuuming sawdust up from the floor. Small chunks of the crumbling concrete were in the mix and made a racket going through the impeller. Is this bad for the machine or just noisy? This is my first dust collector (!!!) and I want to be sure I am treating it right.
If you have the typical vortex dust collector, the material being pulled through the hose should enter the cone and be separated from the air stream prior to it reaching the impeller of the vacuum system.
I have an add-on unit to my shop vac and when heavier material is vacuumed up, there's a good bit of noise through the hose and as the material streams around the cone on the way to the canister. The previously transparent cone is now mostly translucent, due to the scratches from the harder material being spun around the perimeter.
If your device does not operate in this manner, check the assembly instructions.