Dry and Clean Air is a Must for Any Air Compressor
It’s no secret that moisture in your compressed air system can be a problem. If you’re a painter it could be disastrous and cause fish eyes or a repaint just because of some stray moisture in the air that mixed with your paint! If you’re running normal air tools it can facilitate rust inside your tools causing them to fail or wear out quicker.
Large dryer systems hooked to your air compressor is the best way to keep dry air fed to you in the shop but they can be costly and not everyone can justify the cost. We decided to put together our top 3 cheap (and easy) ways to get dry air at the air tool.
- Moisture Traps- Keep in mind water is heavier than air and if you create a trap for the moisture you can probably separate about 80% of the water out of your compressed air. A simple water trap can be made by running 1-2 vertical drops and rises in a hard line attached to the walls. As the air has to climb through the vertical rises the heavier moisture/water falls to the valley in the air line and collects there. If you install drains at each of these valleys you can then drain the water periodically. We’ve found a minimum of 2 sections of traps is most effective, but more can be added to really dry the air.
- Inline Last Chance Air Filters- A disposable air filter installed at the air tool will give you a last chance of filtration before it goes through your air tool. We suggest buying a small supply of these to keep on hand. If you’re noticing it’s an unusually humid or damp day we suggest installing an inline air filter . It will give peace of mind that your tools or paint job are safe from moisture. These filters vary in life depending on the compressor, weather/temperatures, and your air system before the tool. We use a new filter for each paint or powder coating job. These are cheap and can be bought in bulk HERE.
- Desiccant Air Filter- Desiccant is a substance that is used to catch or absorb moisture or contaminants. Most professional dry/separator systems have at least one desiccant filter in them but again those systems can be expensive. If you want extra security or can’t spring for a full filtration system we’ve found a desiccant snake can be one of the best options for filtering out water when using an air tool. We highly suggest one of these inline when painting or powder coating as it can be the difference between a show-ready finish or a fish-eye nightmare!