As you probably already know if moisture is not correctly controlled, it can affect your air compressor. Furthermore, you cannot disregard it. It is unavoidable that moisture will enter your system at some time or another because of how air compresses.
Given this, we’ll discuss the potential sources of this issue in today’s post and the best strategies to remove excess moisture from compressed air systems.
- 1 Why does the compressed air system contain water?
- 2 How can a compressed air system be dried?
- 3 Frequently asked questions
- 4 Conclusion
Why does the compressed air system contain water?
The two primary reasons for water accumulating in your air compressor include the cleanness of your air and the moisture that develops throughout the compression process.
The filtration system of the compressor assists in separating clean air from various impurities, such as too much moisture.
The moisture is captured by the compressor filter and held till the moment it is used up or discharged, which naturally leads to a buildup of water.
Both inside and outside, the air has the same humidity. This proportion is affected by things like:
- air conditioning
- a flowing stream
- insufficient ventilation
It is also important to have a certain knowledge of pressure dew point. We quantify moisture in terms of the pressure dew point, which is the degree the air would need to be to get the same amount of dryness.
Why is it important to remove moisture from your air compressor? Well, if moisture is present or builds up, corrosion, incorrect operation, and damage could result.
In case it is not removed from the air compressor, the system could also be hampered. Vapor can induce corrosion or accumulation in ducts, pipelines, hoses, and nozzles when air passes through them, which compromises the equipment’s structural integrity.
How can a compressed air system be dried?
This is a list of some of the best strategies you could use for eliminating excess moisture from compressed air:
Strategy 1. Draining the air compressor tank
Draining the tank regularly is the number one step in not getting moisture to block control air lines.
Tanks for air compressors frequently have a drain at the bottom where water can be released.
Make sure you routinely drain your air compressor, especially in the summer, when it can accumulate more quickly. Keep in mind that higher demand calls for more frequent emptying.
Install a drain extension kit to make it simple if you put off draining your tank since it’s challenging to reach the drain valve. A timer-controlled automatic drain valve that drains the tank for you regularly is another option.
Strategy 2. Using air dryers
We will discuss the three most common types of compressed air dryers: desiccant and refrigerated dryers.
Industrial compressed air applications requiring extremely dry air employ desiccant air dryers. In case you use a desiccant air dryer, water is chemically removed from the air.
Activated alumina or molecular sieve desiccants are utilized in nearly every desiccant air dryer.
Compressed air can be dried using a desiccant air dryer to a dew point of between -40 and -100 °F. It guarantees all further moisture removal from the air stream. Processes that need ultra-dry air or that operate at an air temperature lower than 34 °F must do this.
A refrigerated air dryer cools the air inside your air compressor like every air conditioning system in the world. As a result, all the moisture condenses. Additionally, moisture from the system is automatically eliminated using a water trap and an auto-drain valve.
Strategy 3. Piping system air drying
You may drain the water from your air compressor by plumbing your air lines.
More moisture is released through each section of the up-and-down pipe as the air travels along its journey.
This is the most popular and economical technique to dry compressed air in a shop for commercial or personal use.
The following are the main components of air compressor drying systems:
- Make sure that all the horizontal plumbing is angled downward so that the water travels with the air instead of condensing in the pipe.
- Every time the pipe has to be lifted or become vertical, add a drop leg, so gravity will carry the water to the dip leg that needs to be removed.
- Avoid placing the drop legs near electrical outlets.
- Consider how much the amount of pipe you utilize will impact the pressure drop.
Additional strategy. Separating with cooling
Cooling the heated, compressed air makes the significant volume of water possible to condense. The water may then be separated from the air when it has condensed. To precipitate the water that would otherwise condense, this is often accomplished using an aftercooler, or a heat exchanger, thanks to which the air cools down.
Frequently asked questions
How do you remove water vapor from compressed air?
Modern technology makes it possible to eliminate moisture from a compressed air system.
While air tools like filters and separators are initially meant to remove oil and water droplets from an air compressor, they can only remove small amounts of solid particulates. Instead, use a dryer.
One of the most popular ones that remove excess moisture from compressed air systems is the desiccant drier. By collecting the moisture in compressed air on a desiccant substance, they can eliminate moisture. The desiccant, however, needs to be renewed after becoming saturated.
A refrigerated air dryer functions by lowering the air’s temperature, causing vapor to condense, and then dripping off the condensed liquid. Because waste air is not a concern, it is excellent for creating general-purpose compressed air, and it has cheap installation & operating costs.
Refrigeration dryers do have certain drawbacks, though. Some drawbacks include their temperature range limitations to prevent freezing and their unsuitability for piping in ambient temperatures below the dryer dewpoint since any lingering moisture will condense.
What is the most commonly used method for removing moisture vapor from compressed air?
The most commonly used, and, probably, the best way to dry compressed air is to use an air dryer. Both dust and other particle pollutants, such as oil droplets, can be effectively removed using filters in air compressor systems. But filters themselves can’t dry compressed air.
Oil and moisture are separated from the air using separators through a mechanical, centrifugal process. However, both filters and separators may remove liquid moisture droplets. As a result, using an air dryer to remove the vapor from the air compressor is the best solution.
There are different types of air dryers.
The name of the first type of dryer – a desiccant dryer – comes from the fact that it uses molecular sieve desiccants or activated alumina to remove moisture from the air compressor.
To put it simply, a process known as adsorption causes desiccants and water to chemically bind. Since the water sticks to the desiccant’s surface, this efficiently eliminates moisture from the system.
Refrigerated air dryers are the second type. It cools the air inside your system the same way that your air conditioner operates. This causes any moisture present in the air to condense. A water trap and an automated drain valve are also used to automatically remove extra water vapor from the system.
How is water vapor removed?
There are numerous ways to dry compressed air. These are some of the best ones:
Drain the tank of the air compressor. Tanks for air compressors frequently include a drain at the bottom where water may be discharged. Make sure you routinely drain your air compressor, especially in the summer, when it can collect more quickly.
1. Use an air dryer. Another choice for keeping water out of your pipes is an air dryer. An air dryer might be useful in this situation, as they are made for major water removal problems.
2. Separate and cool. A substantial amount of water can condense when the heated, compressed air is cooled. After the air has condensed, the water may then be separated from the air.
3. Use a water separator filter. Through the use of centrifugal force, this filter is intended to filter out massive volumes of air. It may therefore often remove 40–60% of the water from the air.
4. Air dry the piping system. By plumbing air lines, the water can be drained from the air compressors.
Moisture in air compressors creates serious problems, from component failure to unexpected downtime due to system failure. Fortunately, by using these techniques and reasonably priced supplies, you may have extremely dry air (and most importantly, clean) throughout the year, even during the hot and humid summer months.
So go ahead and make sure to use that knowledge!