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Water Accumulation in Compressed Air Systems

Water accumulation in your compressed air system can ruin whatever you’re using compressed air for. That same water can go to work ruining your compressed air system as well. Here is what you need to know about water in your compressed air system and methods to deal with it.

What Makes Water in Compressed Air Systems a Huge Problem?

The main problem with water is that it’s corrosive. The corrosion that water introduces to a compressed air system can occur both within the system and externally on whatever you use the system for:

  • In automotive painting, the paint will have water in it which can cause issues with a finish.
  • In machining shops, you can introduce premature rusting to whatever metals you’re working on.
  • In food production, compressed air containing corrosive water can contaminate food.

Anything that water can distort, corrode, or spoil will suffer those conditions because your air system is literally introducing moisture into applications that require mostly dry air.

In addition to ruining applications, water can also corrode the air system in several ways. Any piping or metal components can rust or corrode prematurely. Valves, cylinders, and other compressor parts can also suffer from an increased rate of wear. Metal compressor tanks will rust, and your whole compressed air system can fail, just from an accumulation of water.

How Does Water Get Into Compressed Air Systems and Lines?

Water accumulation in your air compressor occurs naturally. Water vapor exists in the air at all times. In addition, warmth and humidity only serve to increase the amount of water vapor in the air. Taking that water drenched air into your system and compressing it only serves to squeeze that water out of the air and into your compressed air system.

The water vapor in the system will condense and form droplets that will accumulate. Many compressed air systems have some means of dealing with a little condensation. Your system may have a draining mechanism or condensation trap. However, these aren’t always enough to deal with heavy, regular buildups of condensation.

These mechanisms also require servicing. For example, a condensation trap can fail or reach a point where you must replace it. A draining mechanism or drain valve can remove water but still leave behind condensation.

Some drain valves can work automatically while some others will require you to manually drain your tanks. Still, condensation can reach the airlines or form in them despite your drains or traps. These methods can help, but these methods can’t keep water out of the system. They can only help mitigate the potential damage of water that enters the system.

What Are Water Removal Solutions For Compressed Air Systems?

Various solutions exist for dealing with water in your compressed air system. One of the most common solutions is an air dryer. Various types of air dryers exist and they don’t all work the same way. For example:

  • Refrigerated air dryers chill the air, squeeze the moisture out, and drops it into a moisture trap.
  • Desiccant dryers absorb moisture and trap it until the desiccant dries out and repeats the process.
  • Compressor aftercoolers can catch condensation after the system pressurizes the air then let it drain off.

Various other types of dryers exist, but choosing the right one will depend on your type of compressed air system, your compressed air applications, and the location of your air system.

If your compressed air system has a water problem, you may need servicing before you add an air dryer. Kruman Equipment Company offers high-quality air compressor dryers and filtration systems to help you deal with any water issues you have now or might have in the future. To learn more about our air compressor services, products, and expertise, contact us today.


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