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I'm thinking about setting up a woodworking workshop for hobby projects in my basement.

However, my basement is small and my woodworking would take place close to my furnace / hot water heater. Is this a fire hazard with all of the sawdust?

Here is an picture to show the proximity:

enter image description here

As you can see I'm hanging a tarp (not an airtight seal) to contain as much of the saw dust as possible.

Is this a fire hazard?

For reference my furnace is an Armstrong Ultra SX 80 and my hot water heater is a Richmond 6G40S-36F1.

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I can't really speak to the fire hazard of sawdust and furnaces/hot water heaters, but I do know that having a lot of dust around a furnace blower is a great way to spread it around through the rest of the house. – Comintern May 2 '14 at 0:04
What a remarkably clean floor! – alt May 2 '14 at 12:00
up vote 1 down vote accepted

The links below provide the guidelines for industrial facilities but may be of interest. They discuss the importance of considering potential ignition sources and use of effective dust collection systems.

OSHA Combustable Dust Hazard Information


As a practical matter many hobbyists have basement shops. It looks like your tarp will keep the bulk of the dust away from the furnace, and a dust collector will help even more. If you find there is significant fine dust getting to the furnace side of the tarp you could buy or build a secondary air filter system to supplement the main dust collector you connect your table saw and other large tools to. You should also pay close attention to storage of flammable solvents / finishes and disposal of rags used in finishing.

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You might also make a habit of cleaning out your furnace's burner box once a year; just in case there's any extra buildup. That's a good practice anyway. – Wayfaring Stranger May 2 '14 at 12:38
Yeah, the more I read the less I think benefit is worth the risk. I've decided to remove the bed and cover the carpet in my guest bedroom with the tarp I had hung up and use that as my workshop for now. Thanks for the information! – William May 2 '14 at 16:28

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