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Air Hose Can Cost You Alot If Sized Incorrectly

Air hose is air hose isn’t it?  Not exactly. This is an area of frequent misunderstanding when it comes to any finishing process whether it be sandblasting or painting. Often out of convenience a painter will prefer to work with the smallest diameter hose possible. Often do to cost someone will purchase the cheapest quick disconnect possible. What is the problem with this?  Well there are two main issues with using small diameter air hose and cheap disconnects. Will go further into the issues with each separately, this post will cover air hose and next post quick disconnects.

A smaller diameter hose is easier to use due to its greater flexibility and reduced weight. However, air pressure is lost due to two primary factors. How far the tool is from the compressor and what size piping / air hose feeds the tool. What is the big deal with lost air pressure? The compressor has to work harder to maintain adequate pressure for your operation. In most cases air compressor’s are the most expensive part of a factory both due to the initial cost as well as the electricity cost to run the compressor. One CFM of air costs approximately 9 cents an hour to operate, psi is hard to calculate exactly but as pressure drops a compressor runs more often to supply adequate pressure. Air pressure drops faster with smaller diameter hoses. For example at 20 cfm, a pretty typical requirement for heavier spray gun operation, at 100 feet of line with 5/16” hose pressure would drop approximately 60 psi.  WIth a ?” line pressure drop would be only 20 psi. In addition to compressor run time this can also cause poor spray performance. A gun requires adequate pressure and volume to perform well.  If we use to small of a diameter of hose it costs both in performance of the gun and expense of the compressor.  If your operators have a hard time using larger size hose you can consider hose that is heavier in diameter but designed to be flexible, this is known as ergo flex hose it’s ?” in diameter but as easy to work with as a 5/16” hose. By understanding what small diameter hose is really costing you, it is easier to evaluate whether using a small diameter hose is really worth it. Next post we will cover the cost of different grade disconnects.


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