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Getting water out of air compressor

Discussion in 'Chit-Chat' started by dieselcruiserhead, Aug 21, 2006.

  1. dieselcruiserhead

    dieselcruiserhead

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    Something odd is going on with my compressor, even when drained, it still lets some water out of the air tubes.. I have drained and drained.. When I got it it had a good 1/2 gallon of water / nasty sludge in it. Before this compressor I borrowed a nearly identical one for about a year and it did not have moisture issues strangely.. I am going to install a drier but I think there is water perhaps trapped in it, somehow.. Any advice? It is a horizonally mounted 26 gallon compressor... Old school style, nice and quiet, can't remember brand name but it is green and is/was common. Iti s probably from the 80s or early 90s is my guess...
     
  2. srplus

    srplus Walked with the Dinosaurs

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    you need to take the tank off and completely clean it out (bleach, etc) and then dry it out and put it back together... if there is a way that you can re-rig the tank so that you can put a drop pipe with a valve on the end before the water separator you will do a little better - kind of like an - h with the first upright having a valve at the bottom (lower than the water filter) and the water filter on the second leg... friend at the body shop taught me this one and uses oversized HD PVC pipe for this... gives the water condensation somewhere to collect before it hits the filter.

    After cleaning, drain thru stop cock on bottom of tank after using - EVERY time.
     
  3. brian

    brian SILVER Star

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    the muggier the weather, the more water in the tank you'll get.
     
  4. Cruiserdrew

    Cruiserdrew SILVER Star

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    You will always have water dropping out of the air as it is compressed. Much of it will condense in the tank, but the air is supersaturated with water vapor. Thus as it cools, or expands and cools (like coming out of your tools), the water condenses and drops out. It is better if the air can cool and the water drop out before it gets anywhere critical.

    I am new at the compressed air game, but there are a few things you can do to improve the problem, but if you take your air directly off the tank, it's going to be wet.

    The simple and effective solution, is to run the air from the tank and into your piping system. Have a drip leg below the air entrance. Then have the air run up vertically, and then horizontally, with the horizontal portion having a slight down slope either toward the compressor, or the down verical at the outlet. Again the outlet has a drip leg to collect any water.

    In my system, I have the up leg fed by the compressor, about 40 feet of horizontal pipe, and a 10 foot down vertical to feed the regulator system and a lower setting for unregulated air (like pumping tires etc). I run the piping at about 110 psi, and regulate the tool line on the reel to 90 psi.

    I will add a second drier to my line if I ever get up the nerve to spray any paint. For tools, my set up works well for a first effort. Pics: First is the inlet from the compressor tank, the second is business end where I get my air, and the third is the bottom of the output drip leg.

    edit-I crack the stop cocks in the drip legs occasionally to let out any water that might have collected. There hasn't been much, I suspect because our relative humidity averages 15%. In a humid environment, or in the winter, there would be a lot more water vapor.
     
  5. Degnol

    Degnol

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    Andrew is right and I might add that when you are using a lot of air and the compressor is runnung a lot, the tank gets warm enough that the moisture will not condense in the tank, but in the lines. That moisture will ruin pneumatic tools as well as a paint job. I just put in a water separator because I use only hose from the tank. Hose from tank to separator and another to whatever I'm using. Hard lines should be plumbed like Cruiserdrew shows. Oh, and a couple of drops of pneumatic tool oil in each tool before and after each use.

    GL

    Ed
     
  6. FJ809496TLC

    FJ809496TLC 80 series addict GOLD Star

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    Installing tank electric auto drain will also help.
     
  7. Cruiserdrew

    Cruiserdrew SILVER Star

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    If you notice, I have an in-line oiler plumbed in my system, so the tools automatically get oiled. I keep the yellow line oil free so that in the future, I can use that line to spray paint.

    I also have a bunch of air outlets. You can get air at the compressor, un-regulated air at the output, filtered but unregulated air, filtered and regulated air, and finally filtered, regulated and oiled air feeding my hose reel.

    One last thing-I used the Harbor Freight filter/regulater/ oiler combo. It's really a POS and as my use grows, I'll replace it with the good stuff from the local air compressor place. It cost me $20 to get started, but to do it right looks like $300. Typical.

    Future planned mods are a filter at the compressor outlet, and a bigger compressor.
     
  8. Degnol

    Degnol

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    Drew, I don't have an inline oiler, but the water separater I picked up new at a flea market for $70. Your setup looks great and whenever I get off my ass and hard plumb it, I will have several drops, but you really want the water separator nearest your use-point. That leaves me with a small dilema.....hmmmm. Ideally, you want one at every drop. I have ruined a few pneumatics by not oiling after use.

    Ed
     
  9. srplus

    srplus Walked with the Dinosaurs

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    Inline filters are also helpful.

    Cruiserdrew: you showed pics of what I was trying to explain in type... There are several good filter / separators with regulators available from any good auto body supply shop and some are reasonable that can be easily installed near the outlets. All come with stop cock drains... the closer to the tool / spray gun the better. With your humidity levels this is not nearly as big a problem as it is in the Deep South. You might want to consider a GFI outlet next to that stopcock, or a GFI breaker in the box for all your wall plugs... or at a minimum at least a waterproof cover for that socket. Beautiful job on that piping.


    One thing that is cheap and easy is an inline plastic filter that can be attached directly to the tool or spray gun... these are available for somewhere between 5 - 8 bucks. You need to be careful because if they break (the screw ends are just made of plastic - the better ones are made of Polycarbonate & are not as bad) your hose can start flying around under high pressure situations... make sure to read the ratings for PSI for these things. They work great and can be put in the hose before the snap-in connector if you need to save some $$$$'s. They will only filter out a certain amount of water, particles or oil, so if your tank is messed up and you are blowing really crappy air they are not that great. However, they work in a pinch for a once in a while spray job if you drain your lines and tank first.

    I've also seen some filters set up using a Fuel/Water Separator Kit (available at West Marine, Boaters World, etc.) with Stainless-steel or aluminum Bracket and Filter Assembly. These have standard pipe threads and can easily be added into a system for a cheap way to go... sometimes these are available from marine wholesalers or on eBay CHEAP. When I had a big sign shop I had one of these with stop cocks set up at every air outlet where we spray painted. The standard filters add water separating capability thru their 28 micron filters. Other screw on filters can be used to even filter out the oil if you want. The standard marine fuel filters will not separate oil but there are ones that can. You just want to be sure the filters can stand up to the pressure you are going to run thru them.
     
  10. dieselcruiserhead

    dieselcruiserhead

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    cool and thanks for all the good advice guys.. Thing is this is a little cheapo compressor that I move around.. But it is my only compressor.. My tools are semi cheap but I do like them and maintain them well (daily oiling etc) and use the compressor a lot. But this is not a shop I own that is not in my house, I have been there three years now but not sure how much longer I am going to stay.. So I am curious about a portable / smaller solution versus a larger and more heavy duty version, ie something that would fit on the compressor.. Here is a pic.. I guess I will start by cleaning and drying and the bleach advice from the first post.. then I was thinking of using something like this? I don't mind fabbing up brackets to mount accessories but don't want to put too much time into it if possible..

    you can kind of see it in the backgorund here...
     
  11. dieselcruiserhead

    dieselcruiserhead

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    Also I forgot to mention it so I also edited it into the first post.. I borrowed the same exact compressor for about a year before I bought this one and the one I borrowed had no moisture issues and was setup identically (ie nothing special).. I guess this is a little odd to me...
     
  12. srplus

    srplus Walked with the Dinosaurs

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    Since you are from Utah I am assuming that the moisture problem is a result of an older compressor that has lots of 'junk' in the tank (including blow by oil) that will have to be cleaned out. You probably need to put some kind of degreaser / thinner in first to cut the oil build up on the inside of the tank... be careful with some of the degreasers that are solvent based since it can be a bear getting this stuff out of the hoses, etc. and they can be deadly to rubber used in gaskets and hoses. Some of that crap is in the hose, too.

    The bleach is prolly needed to complete the clean out so that any mold that would hold additional moisture will also get removed.

    Good Luck... it's not too hard to do.
     
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