How to remove water from air compressor tank

How to remove water from air compressor tank

The best part about humanity is that there’s water in the air around us. As the temperature changes, the moisture level in the air also changes. For instance, during summer, the air around us creates moisture in all kinds of inconspicuous places, unlike in winter where the air feels dry to our skin. So, basically, one probable question that seems to bother most folks is what happens when this moisture builds up in your air compressor tank? Well, this article aims to address the question, How to remove water from air compressor tank !

Logically, condensate water is normally caused by compression and temperature in the system. Removing this water is essential as it can corrode your air receiver resulting in long-term damage. If you own an air compressor, it’s we highly recommend you to drain the tank every day or once a week. Read on for easy and exciting tips you can use to remove water from an air compressor tank.

Common basics 

When compressing air, high temperature and pressure keep the ambient moisture in a vapor state. This vapor then accumulates at the bottom of the air tank. Experts’ general gauge is that an air compressor with a 200 CFM is more likely to produce approximately 18 gallons of water a day. If this water is left untreated, the oily water tends to condense out, showing up whenever you use compressed air.

Similarly, excessive levels of moisture can potentially wreak havoc on your entire compressed air system, resulting in unacceptable process costs, contamination of end product, damaged equipment, and energy loss. Also, low temperatures can cause the condensate to freeze, damaging plugged airlines. To avoid such threats, it’s only rational that you remove water from your air compressor.

Why there’s water in your air compressor

The most common causes for water collecting in your air compressor are the quality of the air used and natural moisture. Natural moisture occurs during the compression process. A compressor’s filtration system works by separating pure air from other pollutants. Its filter traps excess moisture then stores it away until it’s drained, resulting in a natural build-up of water. Naturally, outdoor and indoor air contains a certain level of moisture which is influenced by factors like poor ventilation, running water, humidifiers, and air conditioning.

Pressure dew point 

Moisture is measured in pressure dew point, which infers to the temperature that air would have to be at to achieve the same amount of dryness. Most industrial applications desire a PDP of at least -40˚F which means the air required must have the same moisture level.

Reasons why too much moisture in your compressed air is dangerous 

There’re many reasons why too much water is dangerous. Here are a few reasons why;

  • Lower air quality

For those working in a heavily regulated industry, it becomes almost impossible to meet quality codes or set standards if compressed air is tainted with excess moisture.

  • Cause serious damage to the air compressor

Water build-up in the same location causes rust to form which then wears down your air compressor, contaminating your end product. Similarly, it puts unnecessary strain on your compressor’s parts, preventing tank filters from working suitably. With damaged parts, you risk costly repairs or perhaps, buying a whole new machine.

  • Result in an inferior final product

Wet compressed air can water down powder coating or warp woodworking projects, causing rust formation on metal surfaces. This results in an inferior final product.

You can also check our article on how air compressor devalue!

Removing moisture from compressed air

Here, I aim to give you tips on how to remove water from your air compressor. First up, you need to understand that pressurized air requires some type of device to correctly remove its naturally occurring moisture. To remove water from your air compressor, you can either use a four-stage air drying system or a drain valve. If you’re using compressed air for purposes that require moisture-free output air, any existence of moisture can negatively impact your operations. On the other hand, some applications can tolerate a low moisture content hence don’t need an elaborate air-drying setup. Either way, moisture build-up in your tank isn’t ideal, thus, removing it is absolutely necessary.

What’s more, the removal of water should be in multiple stages. An industrial air compressor that produces 30 liters of water a day will move the hot and wet compressed air to an after-cooler. Here, you will remove 15liters. It will then be moved to a refrigerated air dryer, which will also remove another percentage. To get the driest air possible, there will be another stage with a desiccant air dryer.

Since air compressors are used for several applications, it’s impossible to say that there’s one perfect solution to every dry compressed air application. However, cooler air holds less water hence uses many systems to cool the compressed air. This allows water to drop out of the air, then collected and drained.
How to remove water from air compressor tank

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How to drain the tank 

For most DIYers, it’s common knowledge that the first step of keeping moisture out of your airlines is draining your air compressor tank recurrently. The drain at the bottom of your air compressor pressure works great when it comes to releasing water and the oil mixture that collects at the bottom.

Draining your tank each time you use your air compressor prevents rust build-up, keeping moisture out of your lines and tools. If you find it difficult to reach the drain valve, we recommend you to install a drain extension kit for effortless accessibility. You can also install an automatic tank drain with a timer. With this, you can easily set the timer to periodically drain the tank. Either way, with these unique steps, draining your tank will be less tedious;

  • First up, ensure you turn off your air compressor
  • Use the safety valve to reduce pressure
  • Prep for water
  • Confidently open the valve and allow the water to drain out
  • Lastly, close the valve to avoid pressure build-up

Frequently asked questions How to remove water from air compressor tank

Must I drain water from compressed air tanks regularly?

Sure, to prevent water build-up. Draining your air compressor tank regularly also helps cut other additional expenses that may arise, including system damage.

What happens if I fail to drain my air tank completely?

Air compressors are built with a drain valve to serve the purpose of draining your tank. Failing to drain your compressor allows moisture to fill in the tank system.  This might end up blowing up your tank and harming someone.

What are the dangers of moisture to my compressor?

As discussed above, there’re multiple dangers of water build-up in your air compressor. It happens gradually over time and you may not notice the dangers until serious damage is done. Check the dangers I’ve highlighted above to avoid serious consequences.

Final thoughts 

While water is pretty useful, it can cause a ton of worry when it comes to air compressors. I intently hope that every tip or idea shared has given you the very answer you were seeking. Either way, always ensure you have all the right systems in place to protect your compressor against moisture build-up. Push yourself to learn ways of conducting critical maintenance procedures to minimize leaking and machine damage. More importantly, understand that the durability of your air compressor  lies on how frequently you remove water from it!