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Regulator minimum installation distance

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by Graham
(Tucson, AZ, USA)

Hi Bill,

Really appreciate your site and the answers you’ve provided 🙂 Thank you!

I was speaking with someone who uses an air compressor for stone carving (!) and he mentioned a “minimum distance, from the compressor, a regulator should be placed”. He wasn’t clear on what that distance was.

General purpose air regulator
General purpose air regulator

I have a Husky 60GAL compressor (Model # C602H) I am keen to set up, and no accessories as yet. So, any info on appropriate distance to place the main regulator from the compressor would be much appreciated.

Thank you in anticipation,
Tucson, AZ


Regulator minimum installation distance
by: Bill

Hi Graham…

Let’s think about how the compressor works for a second. The pump runs, it fills the tank to the cut out pressure – say 120 PSI. When the tank pressure reaches that level the compressor stops and you have – with your compressor – 60 gallons of compressed air at 120 PSI.

If you open an air line from the tank, you get air flowing at 120 PSI down the line.

If you put a regulator immediately at the outlet from the tank, you can regulate that 120 PSI air down to the pressure you want for your tools.

Then you will have regulated air flowing to our air tool. That’s just fine.

However, if the air tool is using a lot of air, having the regulator at the tank instead of where you are using the air will result in some pressure drop through the line to your air tool, and the air tool may not get the pressure you have set the regulator for due to that pressure drop.

So, if you put the regulator at the air tool, dial it down to the pressure the tool needs, then you will be getting a greater flow of air from the tank to the regulator.

Typically plant installations have air flowing to the overhead air mains at full pressure out of the compressor. Drop lines bring the air down to the point of use, and that’s where the regulator is installed. Full flow to the regulator, regulated flow to the tool.

Smaller compressors (portable types) have the regulator on the compressor for convenience sake.

Put the regulator where it best suits your application, whether that be at the tank or at the point of use. It’s your call. Both will work, with the flow issues as I have related above.



Thank you Bill
by: Graham

Hi Bill,

I really appreciate your reasoned response.

I have built a dedicated compressor shed, which is being insulated (soundproofed!) and requires 240v and 120v supplies. I expect to install the compressor and run a flexible air line to/from the workshop from the shed some 12′ away, so adding a regulator inside the shed is the best option for the short term at least.

Thank you again for all the advice and the enlightening website, you’re a much valued resource.

Best wishes,
Tucson, AZ

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By Bill Wade

About Air Compressors has been helping folks with their Air Compressor Problems since 2002 online. We're a community of DIY and Compressed Air professionals who are keen to support everyone across the globe with their air compressor issues and troubleshooting. Whether you're trying to identify an old air compressor, or troubleshoot an error code on a sophisticated new industrial air compressor - the community at About-Air-Compressors.com is here to help you

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