I live in a single story home with an integrated garage shop. I'm considering leveraging the crawlspace above the ceiling as a mounting point for a centralized DC. Running the lines within the crawlspace would be preferable to messing up my shop with all that PVC. I'd also like the idea of having the additional sound barrier.

Operating temperatures are a concern as it gets HOT up there. I was thinking about placing a small remote camera to monitor the dust bin... However I'm not sure that this is really realistic as most of the containers are steel.

I was also thinking about cutting out and mounting a drop-down stair system for dust retrieval.

  • 1
    If you are using PVC make sure you ground everything!
    – bowlturner
    Commented Mar 19, 2015 at 12:49

2 Answers 2


Unless there is a space concern within the shop area, I'd keep the dust collection bin inside the shop, but run the PVC piping up through this crawl space. In other words, run the PVC directly up into the ceiling and then through the crawl space over to a central point where you'd have a down pipe going to your collection vacuum.

There are two potential issues with keeping the dust bin up in this space. One is space itself. A dust collection vacuum and bag are usually fairly large, larger than what a "crawlspace" would lend itself to. Secondly, if you can fit the bag up there, when it's full it's going to be big, bulky, and heavy. Getting the collection material out of there is going to be very tough. Even with a drop down stair, this is not going to be an easy or fun proposition. If you have a dust collection bag which is small enough to fit in the area you are talking about, you'll be in the position of having to clean it out on a very regular basis. You'll also have to ensure the roof structure is strong enough to support the weight of the collection vacuum as well as the load of dust when the bag is full.

On a separate note, if heat build-up is a factor in this space, I'd suggest you install an attic fan to draw out the heat. There are plenty of options out there for this and are fairly easy to install ... once you get past the idea of cutting a very large hole in a perfectly good roof.

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    I'd like to second the statement that it needs to be easy to clean out. I have let my shopvac get too full many times because, even though it is right on the floor beside me, one of the latches is very difficult to unlock and I just don't do it.
    – glw
    Commented Mar 21, 2015 at 20:41

In addition to Paulster2's points, you'll be making your dust collector work harder. If your crawlspace is small and well sealed, it will quickly become pressurized, since you're basically pumping air into it from your shop. At the same time, you're putting the shop at a slightly lower pressure. Pumping air from lower pressure to higher pressure will decrease the performance of your dust collection system and put a greater strain on the motor.

If you do decide on mounting the system in the crawl space, adding a return air duct back into the garage should help alleviate this problem.

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