Air compressor piping diagrams and tips: a detailed guide

As a dependable supply of compressed air for a variety of purposes, air compressors are a crucial tool in many industries.

For your air compressor system to operate effectively and safely, proper pipework is essential.

It’s crucial to take into account details like pipe size, material, and the correct installation of parts like dryers, filters, and regulators when building your air compressor piping system.

This article will guide you through air compressor piping diagrams and tips that will help you to build a great air compressor piping diagram for your air compressor piping system.

air compressor piping diagrams and tips

Air compressor piping system

An air compressor piping system is a network of pipes and components that deliver compressed air from the compressor to the end-use equipment or tool.

The inlet and discharge outlet should be designed in such a way that they allow for a smooth flow of air over the entire piping diagram.

The air compressor piping diagrams are designed to provide efficient and safe transportation of compressed air while minimizing pressure drops and energy loss.

When designing your piping system, the following tips will help you minimize the chances of poorly pressurized air.

Air compressor piping diagrams 3


The compressor is the heart of the system, where the air is compressed and sent through the compressed air piping system.


The piping connects the compressor to the end-use equipment. It can be made of various materials, such as black iron, copper, aluminum, or plastic pipes, depending on the specific needs of the piping system.

The bypass pipe should also have a valve on it to cut the air supply when the maintenance is completed.


The dryer removes moisture from the compressed air to prevent corrosion and damage to downstream equipment.


The filter removes impurities and contaminants, such as dirt and oil, from the compressed air.


The regulator controls the pressure of the compressed air before it is sent to the end-use equipment. It ensures that the air pressure remains within a safe and optimal range.


The hose connects the piping system to the end-use equipment.

It is typically made of rubber or plastic and can be flexible or rigid, depending on the application.

The piping system for a compressor should be designed and installed by industry standards and local codes. Proper maintenance, including regular inspection and cleaning, is essential to ensure the safe and efficient operation of the system.

In addition, make sure not to include any sharp angles within the system, since including sharp angles impede the flow speed and reduces pressure exhaustion.

Air compressor piping diagrams 5

Types of air compressor pipes

Various air compressor pipe types are frequently used in compressed air systems, each having unique benefits and drawbacks. The following are some of the most typical kinds of air compressor pipes:

Black iron pipe: For compressed air systems, the black iron pipe is a reliable and reasonably priced solution. It is a well-liked option for industrial applications since it can withstand high pressure and is corrosion-resistant.

Copper pipe: Another well-liked alternative for compressed air systems is copper pipe. It offers strong corrosion resistance and is simple to install. But copper piping can be pricey and is liable to be harmed by movement or vibration.

Metal pipes: frequent modifications or adjustments because metal pipes are lightweight and simple to install. It has a long lifespan and is also resistant to corrosion. Metal pipes, however, might not be appropriate for high-pressure systems.

Plastic pipe: PVC or ABS plastic pipe tubing is a cheap solution for air compressor piping systems. It is a wonderful alternative for do-it-yourself projects because it is portable and simple to install.

Moreover, the materials used in the piping system will play a significant role in the quality of your pressurized air.

Better to choose plastic pipes, since they do not rust.

If rust gets caught up in the air stream and finds itself in the end-user device, thus blocking and contaminating the compressed air delivering material, that’s why the air stream should not be blocked.

Air compressor piping diagrams 2

How to choose the right pipe material

When choosing the right pipe material for your air compressor piping system, there are several factors to consider:

Pressure rating: Your choice of pipe material must be strong enough to resist the pressure generated by your compressor system. For advice on the pressure rating needed for your system, consult the manufacturer.

Corrosion resistance: Different materials have varying levels of corrosion resistance. You might want to think about using materials like stainless steel, aluminum, or plastic if your compressor system is exposed to moisture or other corrosive substances.

Temperature tolerance: You need to be sure that the pipe material you select can withstand the temperature of the compressed air as it circulates through the air system. To find out what temperature rating your system needs, consult the manufacturer’s instructions.

Cost: Another crucial factor is the pipe material’s cost. Certain materials, like aluminum or plastic, can be more expensive than others, like copper and stainless steel.

It is always important to consult an expert to avoid unnecessary pressure drop or extra costs.

Maintenance: Certain materials need more upkeep than others. For instance, the black iron pipe may need to be cleaned and painted regularly because it is susceptible to rust.

In general, black iron, copper, aluminum, and plastic are compressed air pipes materials most frequently utilized in air compressor systems. While selecting the ideal material for your air system, it’s crucial to carefully weigh the criteria mentioned above because every material has unique benefits and drawbacks.

Air compressor piping diagrams 4


What is the proper piping for an air compressor?

Depending on the particular needs of your compressor and your application, the correct piping for a compressed air system will vary. Here are some general principles, though:

Use the right size piping: The compressor’s flow rate should be taken into account while determining the piping size. To prevent pressure drops and excessive back pressure, use piping that is at least as big as the compressor outlet.

Use smooth pipes: The air pressure drop and turbulence in the airflow will be reduced by smooth pipes.

Use pipe fittings: Employ the right pipe fittings to connect the piping material and ensure a tight seal. The use of tapered pipe threads should be avoided because they might lead to leaks and turbulence.

Install filters: Add filters to remove dirt and moisture from the compressed air before it enters the piping systems. Moreover, consider installing an extra receiver at the end of the line to take care of peak air demands.

Avoid excessive bends: Prevent excessive twists and turns in the pipe, since they can generate turbulence and pressure drops.

Use the right material: The compressed air and the environment in which it will be used should both be compatible with the material used for the piping systems. Copper, steel, and aluminum are typical building materials.

Install regulators: To regulate the compressed air’s pressure as it enters the pipe system, install regulators.

Remember to examine your compressor manufacturer’s guidelines and specs for more specific requirements and tips for your particular compressor.

How to calculate pipe size for an air compressor?

To calculate the pipe size for an air compressor system, you will need to consider the following factors:

Required Airflow: Calculate the cubic feet per minute of required airflow for your application (CFM). This figure can usually be found in your compressor’s specs or determined by consulting an expert.

Length of Piping: Determine the length of compressed air piping required to reach your application. The longer the piping, the greater the pressure drop will be, so it’s important to take this into account.

Pressure Drop: Based on the piping’s length, diameter, and roughness, determine the pressure drop that will occur in the system.

To determine pressure drop, use the Darcy-Weisbach equation or any analogous formulations.

Pipe Size: Determine the pipe size that will produce the necessary airflow with a reasonable pressure drop using the needed airflow and pressure drop. To aid with this calculation, tables and charts are available.

It’s crucial to remember that determining the pipe size is a challenging task that calls for an understanding of fluid dynamics and engineering fundamentals. To ensure adequate piping air compressor system sizing, it is advised to speak with an engineer or a representative from the compressor manufacturer.

What is the best tubing for air compressor lines?

The most suitable tubing for air compressor lines can vary depending on your application’s particular needs, the size and pressure of your compressor, and the environment in which the tubing will be utilized.

For air compressor tubes, the following materials are frequently used:

Copper: Copper tubing is a common choice for air compressor piping systems because it is sturdy, corrosion-resistant, and can handle high pressure. It is very easy to work with and can be bent to fit tight places.

Steel: Steel tubing is another strong and corrosion-resistant option for air compressor lines. It is strong enough to handle high pressures and can be utilized in several applications.

Stainless Steel: A stainless steel tube is appropriate for use in applications that require resistance to high temperatures and corrosive environments. It is also highly robust and can handle high pressure.

Aluminum: Because it is lightweight and simple to handle, aluminum tubing is a preferred material for air compressor lines. It is also corrosion-resistant and can handle modest pressures.

PVC: PVC tubing is a low-cost solution for air compressors. It is lightweight, simple to install, and can bear low to moderate pressure. It might not be appropriate for many applications and is not as strong as other materials.
Ultimately, the optimum tubing for your air compressor lines will depend on your individual needs and the conditions of your application. Make sure to speak with an engineer or a compressor manufacturer’s representative to determine the ideal material and size for your particular application.

Can you use PVC pipe for air compressor lines?

PVC pipe can be used for air compressor lines, but it is vital to evaluate the potential limitations before choosing this material.

Although polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is a common material for plumbing and other uses, it is not the ideal option for high-pressure air compressor lines.
Regarding the use of PVC pipe for air compressor lines, keep the following in mind:

Pressure Rating: PVC pipe may not be appropriate for high-pressure applications, since it has a lower pressure rating than metal pipes. Make sure the PVC pipe’s pressure rating is sufficient for your compressor by checking it.

Temperature Rating: PVC pipe may stiffen at hot temperatures or soften at low temperatures, which can make it susceptible to pressure failure or cracking. Ensure that the temperature rating of the PVC pipe is acceptable for your application.

Chemical Resistance: PVC pipe may not be compatible with certain chemicals or oils that are contained in compressed air systems. Be sure to check the PVC pipe’s chemical resistance before putting it to use in your application.

Abrasion Resistance: PVC pipe may deteriorate more quickly in applications where there is a lot of vibration or movement because it is less abrasion-resistant than metal piping.

Safety Concerns: In the event of a rupture, PVC pipe may break, sending potentially harmful flying debris into the air. This could be dangerous for nearby equipment and workers.


For your air compressor system to operate safely and effectively, a proper air compressor piping diagram is required. You can make sure that your air compressor system is dependable and operates at its peak performance by carefully choosing the appropriate pipe size and material, installing necessary parts like dryers, filters, and regulators, and utilizing adequate fittings and sealants.

Correctly planned and constructed air compressor piping systems can help you operate more productively, spend less on upkeep, and keep your equipment running longer.

Avoid obstructions by keeping control of effective air filters to remove specific particles that clog up your piping system.

Don’t forget to avoid sharp angles in the system, since they reduce the speed of airflow and therefore cause a pressure drop.

Learn More: Air Compressor Piping Diagrams and Tips

James Cole

Considering that most people continue to pay the masters in the service for a consultation, I decided to create my blog.

Leave a Comment