A Drippy Situation: The Love-Hate Relationship Between Water And Compressed Air

Construction & Contractors Blog

Water--it is essential for life, and it is a natural byproduct of compressed air. However, too much water in your rotary screw air compressor can cause some serious problems, both for the air compressor itself and for the quality of its performance. Here is a closer look at water, its relationship to your air compressor, and what you can do about it.

Why does your air compressor drip?

To put it simply, some dripping is normal. Air becomes heated as it is compressed. In order for it to be more usable when it comes out the other end, the system has condensers built in to help cool it off. As the air heats and cools, the difference in temperature causes condensation (water) to form around certain parts of the machine. In rotary screw compressors, there is a collection area that this condensation flows into. Periodically, this reservoir fills up and releases the water (causing it to drip or drain).

So, what is the problem with water?

Improper drainage and condensation in the wrong parts of the system can cause serious problems. If water is allowed to sit inside the mechanical parts of the air compressor, it can cause rust and over time, the rotors could seize up and cause expensive repairs. If water is allowed to be mixed in with the air that is being expelled, it can cause problems in the quality of the work that is being produced. In some industries, such as painting and sandblasting, dry air is essential in creating a high-quality finished product. Water can cause paint to drip and sand blasting to become muddy.

How can these problems be prevented?

While water problems can have a serious impact on the life and performance of your compressor, they are preventable. Here are three ways that you can avoid the build-up of excess condensation and rust in your rotary screw compressor.

  1. Keep your compressor well lubricated. Not only does the oil in your compressor help the air to get from one end of the system to the other smoothly and quickly, but it also helps to prevent rust on the metal surfaces. Make sure to change the oil in your compressor regularly in order to prevent rust and keep things running smoothly.
  2. Check the water reservoir regularly. Keep an eye on the water reservoir in order to make sure that it is draining properly. Watch while the system is running to see that the valve is opening and closing periodically to release the collected water. If it is not, check to valve and the line to make sure that they are not clogged. If there is a malfunction, clear the line, or replace the valve right away.
  3. Make sure you are running the system frequently enough. Rotary screw air compressors are designed to run for long periods of time. If you are constantly turning the system on and off, condensation is collecting, but it is not given enough time to drain. This can cause parts of your system to rust. Check your compressor's owner's manual for recommended minimum run times in order to prevent this.

Seeing water dripping from your air compressor is not always a bad thing. Proper drainage can extend the life of your compressor and help you to produce quality work every time. Contact Kruge-Air Inc to learn more.


27 July 2015

Stop Mold in Its Tracks

Hi, I'm Carey Johnson. Mold can be more dangerous than you might realize. I learned that when my little girl started having asthma and allergy attacks inside the house. I couldn’t figure out what was causing it. We changed the filter in the air conditioner frequently, and we kept the house very clean. We couldn’t, however, figure out where the allergens were coming from. Finally, we discovered the mold that was growing on the floor of the attic – right above my daughter’s room! No wonder she was having breathing problems! Once we found it, we went right to work learning how to get rid of it for good. We ended up reconstructing the attic, and I learned that I enjoyed learning about construction.