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How to Eliminate Water from Your Compressed Air

Why moisture builds up in your Compressed Air, and What it Causes

Every so often I will visit a customer and they are having trouble with their finish due to moisture in their compressed air.  Moisture is a natural byproduct of compressing air because air has moisture and by pressurizing it into a smaller space you have a higher degree of moisture in your compressed air. If steps are not taken to remove the moisture from your compressed air you can have finish quality issues or premature failure of your mainline air piping. Finish quality issues occur due to the interaction of your coating with excess moisture as well as improper atomization that occurs from water interfering with your atomization air.  Premature mainline pipe failure can occur due to water settling out of the compressed air and laying in your mainline air pipes, which will lead to rust over time. With these negative consequences of not removing the moisture from your compressed air it is important to see how you can eliminate moisture from your compressed air. In this article, we will cover the most important things to do to eliminate moisture from your compressed air.

  1.  Have a drying system as close to the compressor as possible. Dryer systems can be desiccant dryers, refrigerant dryers, or a hybrid of the two types. Typically refrigerant dryers are the more affordable option but will not remove as much moisture as a desiccant dryer as desiccant dryers have lower dew points.
  2.   Include drainage legs in your mainline air – a drainage leg is a straight drop from your mainline air supply and allows for moisture that collects to drain from your air supply, it will need an emptying valve at the bottom of the leg and should be routinely checked for moisture build up. Typically these lines are placed a long distance or periodically if it is a large shop from the compressor. This is because the further from the compressor you get the longer moisture has had to cool down and settle out of your compressed air, which if not allowed to drain from your mainline air will cause finish quality and rust issues.
  3.  Air Supply legs should come off the top of the mainline air – When you go to have an air line drop from your mainline air to accommodate at spray gun or tool the line should come off the top of your mainline air not the bottom.  This is relatively easy to achieve using a T pipe connector off the top of the mainline air supply.  By going up and then down with your supply leg you will prevent water from collecting in your tool’s air supply.
  4. Utilize air filtration just prior to your tool – If you are painting it is often best to include a minimum of a two stage compressor that includes a cyclonic separator and coalescer which will impurities from your shop air. If you are very concerned with any water entering your finishing air you can include desiccant which will remove 99.9% of all impurities from your air and take your air to a -40 dew point.

These 4 steps will help you to eliminate the water from your compressed air. There are many services who will do ac unit repair so that you can avoid other damages on your valuable thing in your home. Removing the water from your compressed air will allow you to have a finish that is free of defects that are associated with water like paint blisters and other defects. How about you have you experienced issues with water adversely affecting your finish?  What steps did you take to effectively eliminate the moisture from your finish?

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