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Found this Vacuum to be Unsuitable for Drywall Sanding or Fine Dust Collection
on January 10, 2016
Purchased the Ridgid WD1851, the VF6000 HEPA filter, and the Ridgid High-Efficiency Dust Bags. My intended use for the vacuum was drywall sanding, sawdust, and general purpose garage/workshop cleaning.
The vacuum has good power, is relatively quiet, and seems to do a good job with general cleaning tasks.
I outfitted it with the VF6000 filter and a dust bag because I figured that this would be a fool proof way of not inhaling drywall compound dust when sanding with a drywall sander attachment. I was WRONG.
Upon sanding my first drywall project in a non-ventilated, enclosed basement - I found that fine dust was being ejected by the vacuum at a very high rate. I felt it in my mouth and lungs first and then taking a walk around the room I could see a fine smoke-like dust completely filling the air in the room. Despite Ridgid's advertising the VF6000 filter is not suitable for drywall and DEFINITELY not suitable for hazardous material such as lead, rodent droppings, or mold. I figured using the dust bag would help too, but somehow the drywall dust made it right through/past that.
Upon further research and reading the fine print, I found out that the material used on the VF6000 RIDGID filter is HEPA rated; however the filter assembly itself is NOT certified to HEPA standards and is NOT considered a HEPA filter. Nasty game Ridgid is playing with this. My fault for not paying close enough attention.
Upon looking at the filter more closely - it appears that the top and bottom of the ribs is not sealed. On a HEPA filter the filter should be completely embedded in rubber. I've heard the Gore Cleanstream filter is a better fit. Aside from the ribs, it is possible that the fine drywall dust escaped from the seal between the filter and the vacuum assembly, as there is no weatherstripping and the rubber itself may be a bit firm to provide a completely airtight seal as you'd require for keeping drywall sanding dust contained.
I'm going to give the cleanstream a try to see if that works, but I am not happy at all about the first experience and wish I'd just gone with a more expensive HEPA certified vacuum, rather than taking the cheap route. If you add in the bags and the filters I purchased for this, it actually wouldn't have been too much more expensive.