Plumbing
      Compressed Air ..3



The first page of information on compressed air plumbing, found here, talks about the plumbing of a home workshop type portable compressor. More information about plumbing compressed air is continued on this page.

The second page of information talks about in-plant plumbing techniques and about folks that want to hard-pipe their smaller, portable type air compressor.

What is next here? A bit more about compressed air drop lines is in order.

Drop Lines: Good compressed air plumbing practices will help prevent water that has condensed out in the mains from flowing down to the equipment via the drop lines from the overhead air mains.

Plumbing Compressed Air

As the drawing depicts, take the drop line from the top of the air mains. Any water that has condensed in the mains will flow along the bottom of the air pipe, not at the top. Gravity works!

I recommend too that you install an auto drain at the bottom of the drop line, and Tee up a foot or so from that, for a feed from the drop line over to the equipment.

If your equipment is using a high volume of compressed air, then air flowing down the drop to that equipment can still allow water vapor to condense out. Taking the equipment feed up from the bottom of the drop line helps condensate to flow by the equipment feed to the bottom of the drop leg. There it will be drained off periodically by the auto drain. If you opt for a manual drain for this drop leg, make sure it gets drained regularly. If the pipe fills up to the Tee, you'll have lots of water flowing over to your equipment!

Compressed air manifolds: Consider plumbing the drop line into an air manifold.

A manifold will allow you to feed a supply of air at a certain pressure into the manifold, and then, via a series of smaller air ports along the side of the manifold, plumb air to a number of different pieces of equipment.


Air manifold - plumbing compressed air

Some Point Of Use Components: You will need to add an air filter where you are using the air, as well.

The greater the demand of air for that equipment, the higher the water condensate volume will be, and filtering the air just before it enters the application will remove any free water before it can get into your tools or equipment.

Downstream from the filter you will want to add an air regulator so that you can reduce the pressure to the minimum necessary to do the work at this location. This reduces your operating cost, and at the same time, reduces or eliminates (depending on where the pressure is set) the pulses in the compressed air supply created by the air compressor kicking on and off.

If the air tool (perhaps a paint gun) really requires very dry air, consider installing an in-line air dryer where that level of dryness is needed.

Depending on the air tool or application, it may need a lubricator as well. Get complete information on air line lubricators here.

My suggestion is that if you do not need a lubricator, do not start using one. Oil from the air line lubricator tends to flush out any factory lubrication in the equipment, and then, you will have to lubricate that piece of equipment from then on.

I hope the preceding three pages about plumbing compressed air have been useful. As always, if you have any question, please just ASK!