Compressor Air Intakes


. How do you decide where to install a compressor air intake or go about altering the manufacturer's set-up?

This is a question from Mike, in Ontario, Canada.

Mike writes... " I'm a woodworking enthusiast doing research to install 1/2" copper lines in my workshop. I currently have a small 1.3 HP, 8 gal. Campbell Hausfeld compressor. I'm planning on running nailers and possibly future spraying applications. (I realize I might not have sufficient volume for spraying, in which case I would consider a compressor upgrade)

For sound proofing I've located the compressor in a separate room on a rubber pad.

My question is: Is it possible to extend the air intake a short distance. (1-2 feet) I'm concerned that I may restrict the intake too much. In order to provide the cleanest and coolest air to the compressor I would prefer to locate the intake a short distance from the actual compressor.

Do you have any advice or tips on altering the manufacturer's set-up? Thanks." Mike

My response about compressor air intakes


First off, good on you for considering copper for air lines. The inevitable moisture in the air won't create rust scales as it would in black pipe.

If you're not already finished the plumbing, for your small set up, you can consider using polyethylene air line too. It won't react with water, is easily installed with standard fittings, and eliminates the need for sweating copper.

Your small compressor isn't going to draw huge amounts of air, so my first thought is, unless the compressor storage room is really, really small, to me there doesn't seem to be a need for relocating the intake.

Maybe put a small opening in the wall on the side of the room away from where you are working to allow fresh air in?

If you must extend the intake, make sure that the intake pipe or hose is larger than the intake port on the compressor, as flow of fresh air down the intake line, as you noted, may be impeded somewhat. Don't reduce the size of the intake on the compressor by adding a fitting. The existing hole size is the minimum size that compressor needs to have sufficient supply.

If you absolutely have to extend the intake, I'd use a 3 or 4 inch PVC pipe and surround the intake filter on the compressor with the pipe. That should provide enough air flow.

For specifics, visit the PRESSURE DROP page on this site, linked from the site map.

And, don't forget, the air compressor intake filter must be installed or your compressor will be ingesting air borne dust and particulates. Not good for the pistons and seals, and ultimately this crud may end up in your air tools.