Water in compressed air lines… Check the Drains First

As a compressed air systems service company, one of the most common calls we receive is that there is water in the compressed air lines and could we send an air dryer technician.

Most of the industrial air dryers we see are refrigeration type and that means sending a specialized refrigeration technician so as to abide by the laws regarding working on refrigeration systems. More often than not the report we receive indicates that there is nothing wrong with the dryer but that one of the system drains is not functioning, sometimes it has simply been unplugged, one of our technicians claims that 70% of all his air dryer service calls are nothing more than a faulty drain.

When air dryers are working but drains are not the problem is much worse than one would imagine, the air dryer is cooling the air so that the moisture condenses into raw water but it cannot come out of the system due to a faulty drain, this water gets pushed through the system and collects in tanks, at the end of pipe runs and into drop legs directly into machines.

So, where are these drains anyway?

  • On the bottom of air tanks, sometimes just a ball valve that requires daily manual operation
  • On the moisture separator after the air compressor or after the air dryer, sometimes internal to these units but usually identifiable by a plastic tube.
  • On all filters
  • A typical compressed air system has up to 5 drains.

How do you avoid a problem drain corrupting your compressed air system?

  • Perform a daily drain inspection and function test.
  • Install automatic drain valve bypass to manually check water collection points
  • Keep a few extra condensate drains in stock, replacement takes a few minutes and drains are inexpensive normally in the $175.00 range.

The potential savings in system maintenance are quickly realized by knowing where your drains are and how they are working. A typical service call for a dryer technician will cost $300.00 – $600.00 plus the cost of a drain if it needs replacing, more painful still if it just needed to be plugged in.

The costs associated with water in your air lines can be devastating from machine failures, replacement of pneumatic controls, rusting pipes and lost production runs.

When we visit your plant to address “water in the compressed air” we Check Your Drains First!