Water and compressed air

General Non Automotive Discussions

  1. Aspen500

    Aspen500 Well-Known Member

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    You guys that use lots of air, what type of water separator(s) do you use and more importantly,,,,,,,,,,,do they work.
    I've been fighting water in the air forever. Tonight I was using a die grinder and water was coming out the exhaust like a faucet almost. I've got dual filter/separators and even had an inline desiccant deal right at the air tool. I drain the tank everytime the compressor is used and the relative humidity this evening is low (under 30%). i use high flow ends and couplers so the air volume is high, if it makes a difference.

    This is what I have now. The first one has a sintered bronze filter and the second one is a paper like material, sort of. Maybe they're just too small(?) Bad enough with air tools, really sucks with paint.:eek: DSCF0003.JPG DSCF0004.JPG
     
  2. Oldiron440

    Oldiron440 Well-Known Member

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    The biggest problem is putting the water separator far enough from the compressor allowing the air/water to cool down. Water goes from vapor to liquid as it moves down the pipe and its easier to remove.
    You should have your compressor on one side of your shop and your water separator on the other.
     
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  3. 80mirada

    80mirada Well-Known Member

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    The separator works best about 20-25 feet from the compressor outlet. There are some ways to cheat that, like a cooler, or running the air to a drop tank. You can try running a verticle manifold to help get water to drop out.
     
  4. volare 77

    volare 77 Well-Known Member

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    Same problem here. Maybe I need a better separator.
     
  5. Aspen500

    Aspen500 Well-Known Member

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    I never thought of that, moving the separators farther away from the compressor. Right now, they're all but mounted right on the compressor. Looks like a little plumbing is in my future, lol. Thanks!
     
  6. Poly

    Poly Well-Known Member

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    Our setup was confined to a small shed. It's all dissassembled now. The drier was about four feet away from the compressor. We added a 25 foot hose between the compressor and drier and just coiled the hose. Dumb compressor didn't know the difference. We took everything apart each day and hung the hoses to let any water drain out. And the disposable dessicant filter at the sprayer. It was alot of work but the boat turned out fine.

    The drier collected alot of water while the disposable dessicant filter lasted about three days before turning pink.
     
  7. BudW

    BudW Moderator Staff Member

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    I’ve experienced the same problem.
    Also, I’m no expert at fixing it.

    Logically, I understand what’s going on. As the high temp high pressure compressed air cools, the water moisture forms and collects inside the pipe. As the system is being used, the water is being pushed down the pipe to the location of usage.

    Water moisture separators work, but mostly for low usage. When I’m working, (impact wrench, grinder, etc.) I’m using a lot of air and the compressor is a working full time to keep up – so I “feel” the “normal” water separators can’t keep up in those scenarios.

    Facts I do know:
    There is nothing you can do until the hot compressed air cools down (some 25 feet or so (shrugs on actual distance) from compressor).
    You must prevent air from being pushed down the pipe before it can collect at point of usage (or push water to a collection point).
    Water moisture will occur, even if humidity is at 7% - so it must be dealt with.

    What I think will help (again, not in practice but me thinking logically) is if a person was to place a drainable tank (not sure of size but 5 gal maybe?) for incoming compressed air to go to a short distance from end load, then place a large exit pipe (I don’t know but say 2 inch in diameter all the distance to the end use but at a slight angle (for drainage), should give a place for water to collect (and drain) and not work its way out.

    This is all “thoughts” and nothing put in practice.


    Unrelated, I’ve been considering adding a huge air compressor inside (or behind) my North detached garage. Then running lines from it to my parking area (air up tires, or whatever), and to my second detached garage (both marked with a white + symbol). The black + is my house. The top of picture is North, and it slops from North to South, so my front (East side) detached garage is maybe 5 feet lower in elevation.
    BudW property.JPG
    I can’t run lines underground for it will be very difficult to drain and we have a low water table (one reasons why there is not basements in Oklahoma). I could run it along the fence line (white solid line) – but that is a long distance to travel.
    This hasn’t been a priority – just a “want”. It might be cheaper to just run 220v to East garage and install a second large compressor there (but sigh, double the cost).

    The North (2 car) garage is my woodworking garage and East one (1 1/2 car) is my mechanic shop. Both need compressed air. Currently I have a 10-gallon portable compressor I keep moving about – but its way way underpowered.

    It is hard to tell, but I have 1-acre property with over 130 trees on it. Most are 40 foot tall white oaks, with a few walnut and others mixed in there.
    BudW
     
  8. Oldiron440

    Oldiron440 Well-Known Member

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    The biggest mistake is mounting the water separator on or near the compressor, air coming out of the compressor is 150 degrees + depending upon the style of compressor.
    Your air line should be a straight line going up to the water separator/trap so it drains back to the compressor, it should have a drip leg at the water separator/trap fo help remove water.
     
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  9. Aspen500

    Aspen500 Well-Known Member

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    In a perfect world, you'd have one of those air dryer units that body shops have. In a perfect world, we could afford the $2,500-$3,500 price tag for one, lol. I'm going to implement the suggestions here and see what happens. Move separators to the other side of the garage (about 24 feet), add a drip leg, etc..........
    After thinking about it, at work we have larger separators at each air hose "plug in" except my stall. The one closest to the compressor room always has way more water than ones farther away and at my stall, on the total opposite corner of the shop about 150 feet from where the compressor is (it's actually in a separate room outside of the shop) with only a drip leg never gets a trace of water, even on the most humid days. No idea how far the air travels to get there once it goes through the pipes up to the ceiling, across the shop, down the wall, etc. It's at least a couple hundred feet. It's all starting to make sense now.:cool:
     
  10. Justwondering

    Justwondering Well-Known Member

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    When I ran the fiberglass plant, we fought water until we made three changes:

    1. Like OldIron440 said, put a drip leg in.
    I had drip legs at every junction where the guys had air line offtakes.
    At the end of the day, each person was responsible for draining the water before they left for the day. I came in early every day and checked each station. Any station with water not drained got docked one hours wages for the day.
    Didn't take long for everyone to make that check a part of their normal shut down for the day.

    2. Line between the tank and the water separator
    I used 25 feet of copper line spiraled in a plastic 55 gallon drum which sat in the shade.
    When the temps would get up in the 90's I would buy a bag of ice each morning on my way in and dump it in the drum. I cut a 'V' out of the plastic at the top for the line going in and another for the line going out. Then I could lay the lid on the drum and slow down the heat gain/cold loss.
    This was used to greatly encourage the water to condense out of the air in the line.
    I had a "Y" in the line just as it finished its downward spiral and started its straight run up to the top. The 'y' was connected to a line that exited a hole in the bottom side of the drum. That line was emptied once a day around lunch time unless it was really humid, then I did it more. The hole at the bottom also let the ice water melt exit without me having to unload the copper line from the drum to get the water out.

    3. Changed the lines from the tank to be 1 inch lines to each of the stations
    I was using schedule 80 pvc and ran that throughout the shop after the copper line. This means my drip legs were larger to hold more water.

    I also ran two different air compressors. Every day I shut one off and ran one. Switched the one I ran every other day. Then I could drain the air compressor tank and let it dripdry out for 24 hours before it ran again. Also gave me some insurance in case one of the compressors failed to start.

    Putting the water separator too near the compressor is a mistake easily remedied.

    JW
     
  11. Aspen500

    Aspen500 Well-Known Member

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    It is amazing the amount of water that will come out of the air, even when it's like 20% humidity (or the other night, barely 30%).
    A friend suggested also using an old air tank in line. Run from the compressor, over to a tank on the other side of the garage and then, out of the tank into the separators. It'd be like a big drip leg (in theory). I just happen to still have my old portable out in the shed taking up needed storage space. It's got a blown head gasket that is apparently made from unobtainium so,,,,,,,,,,,,,toss the compressor head (it was worn pretty bad anyways), do whatever with the motor and recycle the tank into the system. Seems to me it's maybe a 20 gallon tank, don't remember for sure.

    I'm going to get this water thing licked one way or another. It's not just a task anymore, it's a quest.:D I thank you all for the ideas!

    BudW, most houses in my general area of Rib Mountain don't have basements either (and it sucks). Not because of the water table, it's because of $$$$$ It requires explosives and giant jack hammers because of all the rock and in some cases, what seems to be a solid granite floor about 2 or 3 feet down, lol!
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2018
  12. volare 77

    volare 77 Well-Known Member

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    Basements don`t come without their problems. I had with and without. I prefer without.
     
  13. Aspen500

    Aspen500 Well-Known Member

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    As an interim and experimental "fix", I put a spare 50 foot air hose between the compressor and dryers. So far it seems to have made a HUGE difference. I've been using a lot of air this afternoon, working on that darn Dakota, and even though the humidity is pushing 40% today, there's been little to no water coming out of my die grinders.

    Eventually I want to plumb a more permanent system and add the air tank in-line for more water collection (my old portable compressor that's shot). Also, that's a good time to do what I've wanted to do for quite a while and that is plumb for multiple air outlets around the garage. Soon as I get some spare time,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,what ever that is.:eek:
     
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  14. Oldiron440

    Oldiron440 Well-Known Member

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    Glad you found a temporary solution.
     
  15. Aspen500

    Aspen500 Well-Known Member

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    As long as the "temporary" solution doesn't end up being permanent:D

    Nothing to do with the topic but,,,,I'm all done welding the rust patches onto the bed of the Dakota(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) Woo-hoo! Welding isn't on the top of my favorite things to do list.:confused:
     
  16. Oldiron440

    Oldiron440 Well-Known Member

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    It's one of my favorite, I love to fabricate, even if it's to replace rust.

    It's funny how the temporary repair gets permanent.
     
  17. Aspen500

    Aspen500 Well-Known Member

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    I really enjoy MAKING the pieces, forming, bending, etc. It's the welding them into the vehicle that bores the bleep out of me.
    You're right, way too often temporary ends up being permanent. I guess, if the temporary solution works, the motivation to go further kind of gets lost somewhere.
     
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  18. Aspen500

    Aspen500 Well-Known Member

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    Wanted to thank you all for the suggestions and to let you know the water problem is gone, even though I'm still just using a coiled up 50 foot air hose hanging under the bench.

    Shot some primer yesterday and then also used the blast cabinet. Even in the VERY muggy weather (like 70% humidity), not a single speck of water, not even a molecule. All these years battling the moisture and the solution was so simple:cool:
     
  19. volare 77

    volare 77 Well-Known Member

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    Hmm. glad it worked for you. I have two 25ft long coiled hoses hanging on the front of my compressor and it hasn`t helped me at all. I was using my glass bead cabinet yesterday and it had water spitting out. i may need a better dryer.
     
  20. BudW

    BudW Moderator Staff Member

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    A shop I worked in a long time ago, had their bead blaster not far from compressor.
    It shot out as much water as it did glass beads (which water on freshly blasted iron = fast rust).

    The only thing I don’t like about coiled hoses is the likelihood of it collecting water on bottom of loops - but if it works, then great!


    On a lighter side, a person could get an old fridge/freezer, get a huge coil of copper tubing and place in the freezer with a line in/out. Finish it by mounting the drier on side of fridge and you could then call it . . . “freeze dried” air.
    Now I need to go sweep off all the lettuce that was just tossed on the stage . . .
    BudW