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Old 10-13-2005, 07:53 AM
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water in my air lines

The title says it all -

I'm running a husky pro, 220v 60 gallon air compressor with a husky air filter/water trap. I'm using 50' of 1/2 air hose. The tank I drain weekly and the trap as needed. I'm still getting water coming out of the exhaust of my air tools. This in itself I'm not terribly concered, but this is definitely going to be an issue when I paint.

What else can I do to eliminate the water in my air? Another filter?

Any help is appreciated!

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Old 10-13-2005, 09:08 AM
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Not sure I can help all that much with the water problem in our lines since I occasionally have the same problem. However, whenever I paint I use a small disposable air filters like these that you can buy which will take care of the problem while you're painting. I also use them when I fire up my plasma cutter because it requires very dry air to work properly.

Good luck, hope this helps.
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Old 10-15-2005, 08:45 PM
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If you are running a 50' air hose directly off of the compressor, you will have water problems. A water filter located closer than 25' from the compressor does little to keep the water out. The air has to be able to cool before reaching the filter.
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Old 10-15-2005, 09:00 PM
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Sounds like in addition to a decent drier/filter, you also should have a drip leg. Have a look at the attached link. I know it is industrial, but it helps illustrate what you need. Over simplified - the drip leg is the lowest point in the system and you should take your air supply from the highest point in the system. Let gravity work for you.

http://www.ecompressedair.com/library/piping.shtml
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Old 10-17-2005, 07:32 AM
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Thanks for the replies guys!! This really helps!!
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Old 10-17-2005, 08:30 AM
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Modas, Where is your drier located? If it is on the compressor itself it will do very little good and as Adkart already pointed out it MUST be located some distance away giving the air a chance to cool. The air coming out of a compressor is usually hot unless the compressor has been sitting idle for a while so the water is in a vapor form and very difficult to trap. Once the air has a chance to cool the water vapor will condense into liquid form making it much easier to deal with. The drip leg Cebby is talking about is an excellent idea and almost a must for really dry air but even that will not help much if the air is still hot when it passes that point since gravity will have almost no effect on water vapor. The main point here is to remove the heat first then the moisture will be a lot easier to deal with since it is VERY difficult to remove water in vapor form. This is another reason not to use plastic or rubber supply lines in addition to the very real safety concerns of using plastic.

Last edited by oldred; 10-17-2005 at 11:49 AM.
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Old 10-17-2005, 12:37 PM
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Dryer? I don't have no steenking dryer

Actually, I've got a water trap/filter coming right off the tank, which goes direct into my 50' of hose. Can anyone recommend a dryer that isn't going to break the bank? The cheapest I could find was about $450 (a floor mounted unit). I'm somewhat limited in floor space so that isn't really an option.

Ugh, I'm gonna have to hard plumb this thing ain't I....
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Old 10-17-2005, 12:45 PM
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run more line. i personally use pvc and have for 30 years. even with good traps on some days you are making the water at the tool exhaust. unless you can run enough line to cool it it will make water regardless. my booth is bout 120 ft from my compressor. the moisture trap is in the booth. my line comes in at the bottom and runs up to midway. drop drain there helps. try this site for good information.
asetusa.com
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Old 10-17-2005, 03:39 PM
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Modas, I assumed you had a water trap and I should not have referred to it as a drier. A water trap should be just fine and you probably don't need a real expensive drier although it would be nice if you don't mind spending the ca$h. PVC will insulate the air and make it difficult to cool along with a couple of other problems but lets not get into that. If you plumb your system with metal pipe and use that drip leg set-up AFTER the air is cooled with the water trap after that then you will find that your water problems will be solved and with the disposable filters that Centerline is talking about, which are a GOOD idea anyway when painting, water will no longer be an issue. If you can not run a lot of pipe between the compressor and water trap then you may need to use some sort of cooler close to the tank. I just recently helped a buddy plumb his system and he used an old A/C evaporator core from a ford ranger and positioned it in the air flow from the compressor cooling fan(pump pulley) and then his water trap about 15 feet down stream from that using copper line and he now has zero water problems, not exactly a fancy set-up but it works great. The trick is to use whatever method you have available to cool the air before the water trap so it can do it's job, most work really good when receiving cool air. With a little ingenuity and planing you can have a set-up that works right and it should not be difficult nor at all expensive.


BTW, that A/C core was tested to 190 PSI before installing it and it will be used at a max of 135. I am not suggesting you do this I am just using it as an example of what can work.
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Old 10-18-2005, 02:46 PM
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Shine -

Thanks for the link. Lots of good stuff on that site.

Oldred - Also, thanks for the info. I guess I'm going to have to "re-engineer" my air system. The set-up I have is definitely not going to cut it in terms of removing the water. In the end, I want it to be right, not cobbled together, even if it means I have to change some stuff around.

I'm learning as I go. Thanks again for all the help!!!
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Old 10-18-2005, 06:04 PM
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I at one time owned a auto body shop in mn. We get some pretty humid days here in the summer and I had the same problem even with water separators.This old timer told me how to build a home made water separator. Take and old drive shaft the bigger around the better drill and put a petcock in one end.That will be the bottom. Drill and weld a pipe fitting about half way up the shaft thats where the air in line is attached. Then put the same kind of fitting at the top of the shaft. Thats where the air out line is attached. Then mount drive shaft to wall, paint booth or what ever.You wont believe how much water this thing Will collect.
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Old 10-19-2005, 08:48 AM
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Swvalcon, That's a good idea also and I have seen it used before but with pipe not a drive shaft, although a drive shaft should work just fine. This works on the same principle as the "drip leg" set-up using gravity to collect the water at the bottom of the pipe but again this will only work after the water vapor has condensed into a mist in the air and droplets on the pipe walls. The cooler the air is the less moisture it can hold as vapor so it must be cooled in some fashion to allow this condensation to take place. That large diameter pipe(drive shaft) will slow the air flow and radiate the heat through the metal walls and allow the water to condense on the cooler walls and then flow to the bottom where it can be drained. The trick to making this work is to keep that pipe(drive shaft) as cool as possible so if for instance you painted it black and had it located in a sunny spot or located it near a heat source it would not work nearly as good as it would if it were located in a cool area with good air flow. Getting the water out of your compressed air is not at all hard to do with a little understanding of what is causing the problem in the first place and whatever system one uses need not be complicated nor expensive.
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Old 10-20-2005, 06:28 PM
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Ok, here's where I'm gonna show my ignorance ;D

In the thread below regarding hard plumbing air lines, there were a couple of diagrams showing pipe drops of approximately 4" per 25' of run.

Now, all the fittings I've ever seen for corners (either copper or steel) are either 45 or 90 corners. Are you guys bending custom corners to get that 4" drop or am I missing something?

Thanks for the assistance!!
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Old 10-21-2005, 09:09 AM
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I don't have a whole lot of experience with this, but I do a lot of copper plumbing at home.

My parents' house has baseboard hot water heat.

I wonder if you could put one of those baseboard heaters in line with the copper air lines. I haven't looked at them for awhile, but I think they were copper tubing with aluminum fins attached. I bet they would radiate a lot of heat off the compressed air if they could take the pressure.

Maybe the fins are available seperately to attach to standard copper line.

What I think would really work great would be to build yourself a water cooler for use when painting. At least for me, I don't care if I get a little bit of condenation in the line when using air tools, but when I occassionally paint, I want really dry air.

Seems it would be worth running a couple of courses of copper pipe through a tray or containerthat could be filled with ice water, followed by a drip leg. That ought to cool the air down enough to get most of the water out. Since you'd only need it when painting, it would be worth the occassional inconvenience.

Maybe if you put a fan on it for normal use, that would cool the air enough for air tools, then you could put water or ice water in it for painting.

Is there any problem with air being too cold for painting? Would it be worth putting a temp gauge at the end fitting to monitor that?
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Old 10-21-2005, 10:23 AM
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Ckucia, That ice water trick works great, I have done that my self and a couple of other guys here said they have too but it is of course not practical for full time use. You will not get your air too cold and in fact the commercial air dryers use a refrigeration unit that cools the air down to about 35 deg in order to condense as much water as it can. The bottom line here is to get the air as cool as you can before it enters the separator but in most cases getting it down to near freezing with refrigeration or ice water is not necessary to get the moisture under control. A water separator works by spinning the air flow thus using centrifugal force to sling the condensed water droplets out of the air but water vapor will pass through and as the air cools in the line this vapor will condense on the walls of the air line and exit as liquid water into you paint, tools, etc. So it is important to condense as much of the vapor as you can before it enters the separator but in most cases getting it down to a little below outside temperature with some sort of cooler or a lot of METAL pipe will most times be sufficient unless you are using a lot of air such as running a sandblaster.
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