When it comes to air compressor maintenance, one of the most important—and yet most neglected—tasks to keep up with is draining your air compressor. Whether you‘re a professional contractor or a hobbyist using an air compressor occasionally, it‘s important to recognize the significance of properly draining your air compressor to preserve its functionality and performance. In this article, we‘ll be covering the essentials on how often to drain air compressor, why draining is important, and the different types of drain valves.
Draining an Air Compressor to Preserve Functionality
Draining an air compressor is an important task for any owner looking to maintain its functionality over time. Not all air compressors require draining, but for those that do, it can provide a great benefit by optimizing the performance of the machine. In this section, we will discuss why it’s important to drain an air compressor, how often it should be done, and the steps to do so. We will also go over the different types of air compressor drain valves and when they may be used.
Do All Air Compressors Require Draining?
Whether an air compressor needs to be drained depends on a variety of factors, including the type of compressor and its location. Most air compressors are driven by an electric motor and use pressurized air for various tasks, such as driving tools and running a variety of industrial machinery. Since most of these compressors recirculate the same air, it is important to drain them periodically to remove any moisture and contaminants.
For example, a compressor located outdoors may need to be drained more often than one located in a dry, climate-controlled environment. Outdoor compressors can collect condensation from humidity, rain and snow, which can cause the motor to wear out quicker, so draining them will prevent moisture buildup.
Oil-lubricated air compressors usually require more frequent draining, as the oil gets dirty over time and can cause damage due to contaminants. Many compressors come with drain valves that make it easier to drain the oil, but some only require you to unscrew the drain plug.
Ultimately, while all air compressors require some form of draining, the frequency depends on factors like the environment, type of compressor, and maintenance schedule. Regular, scheduled draining is highly recommended to keep the compressor in optimal condition.
Why is it Important to Drain an Air Compressor?
It is important to drain your air compressor on a regular basis to maintain its optimal performance. An improper draining can lead to issues like decreased pressure and build-up of contaminants that can corrode the internal parts.
When an air compressor is used regularly, condensation builds up in the tank. This condensation is full of moisture, which can lead to the formation of rust, cause pressure drops, and reduce the air compressor efficiency over time. Draining the air compressor removes this condensation and protects the internal components from corrosion.
Furthermore, the inability to remove viscous liquids like glycol, oil and water from the tank can cause the compressor motor to foul over time. Without draining the tank frequently, these liquids will settle into the compressor system and can lead to serious performance issues.
Draining an air compressor also allows you to identify and treat minor problems before they get too severe. By inspecting the condition of the drained liquid, experienced technicians can identify a problem before it becomes a major issue.
How Often Should My Air Compressor be Drained?
Determining how often to drain an air compressor depends largely on the type of compressor and its environment. Generally, air compressor owners should drain their compressor at least once a month. Depending on the environment, however, and the type of compressor, drainage may be required more or less frequently.
For example, if your air compressor is in a very humid environment, more frequent draining may be necessary. Similarly, if you often use your compressor, more frequent draining can help ensure your compressor stays in optimal condition. In either of these scenarios, it is best for an air compressor owner to stay on top of the moisture levels and drain the air compressor regularly to prevent corrosion and buildup.
In contrast, an air compressor used in a dry environment with less frequent use may only need to be drained every three months. But even in this case, checking the moisture levels once a month is advised to keep a handle on any buildup in the compressor.
- In general, air compressors should be drained at least once a month
- Compressors used in humid environments should be drained more frequently (at least every two weeks)
- Compressors used in dry environment and with less frequent use can be drained less frequently (every three months)
- Check moisture levels once a month to maintain optimal performance
Steps to Drain an Air Compressor
Draining your air compressor is essential to prevent corrosion, rust, moisture, and other contaminants from building up inside the machine. Fortunately, it’s a relatively easy task to do. Here are the steps you should follow:
- Turn off the air compressor.
- Locate the drain valve at the bottom or side of the tank.
- Open the valve by turning clockwise or counter-clockwise, depending on your drain valve.
- Allow the water and debris to drain.
- Once the water has completely drained, close the drain valve.
- Turn the air compressor on again.
It’s important to note that if your air compressor has been in use, you may need to wait up to 10 minutes before draining it. This allows the air and condensed moisture in the tank to equalise and ensures everything is properly drained.
Also, be sure to check the drainage valve for any build-up of debris or sediment, as this can clog up the system, resulting in reduced performance or even a catastrophic failure. If you find any sediment in the valve, be sure to clean it before continuing.
Types of Air Compressor Drain Valves
Air compressors come with a variety of drain valves to manage moisture and air pressure build up. Different types of valves allow for more efficient draining and faster air volume flow, depending on the compressor model. Here is a list of the most common types of air compressor drain valves:
This type of valve has a ball-shaped knob and is usually connected to a tank with a rubber washer. It is easy to use and allows for faster draining of moisture and air pressure.
Electric Drain Valve
The electric drain valve is connected to an electronic timer, which allows for automatic draining of air tanks. This type of valve is easy to install and program, reducing manual work.
Manual Drain Valve
The manual drain valve has a knurled knob that must be rotated by hand. The manual valve is preferable for smaller compressors, and it is easy to operate and service.
Floating Ball Valves
Floating ball valves have a ball connected to a float that is placed inside the tank. The float drops when pressure builds up, which opens the ball and allows air pressure to escape. This is the most common and effective way to drain a compressor.
Regular maintenance of air compressors can help keep them in optimal condition and maintain their functionality. Draining the air compressor helps remove moisture and contaminants, and prevents damage and corrosion. An appropriate air compressor valve should be selected depending on compressor model and use, and be drained at least once a month to prevent pressure drops and maintain optimal functionality.
How often should an air compressor tank be drained?
It depends on the frequency of use as well as the specific characteristics of the compressor unit. Generally speaking, it is recommended to drain the tank at least monthly or whenever the tank pressure reaches approximately 10 PSI more than the normal operating pressure. Additionally, the manufacturer’s recommendation should be consulted for specific maintenance schedule and procedures.
Is it OK to leave air in air compressor?
No, it is not recommended to leave air in an air compressor. Air should be released after use by turning the valve on the compressor off and draining out any remaining air pressure. Additionally, any condensation build-up should be released from the tank and lines to prevent corrosion.
What happens if you don’t drain your air compressor?
If you do not drain the air compressor, water vapor can accumulate in the air lines and contaminate the air supply. This can cause rust in your machine components, reduce the useful life of the compressor, and can affect the quality of the air it is providing.
How long can I leave air in my compressor?
There is no exact answer to this question as it depends on a variety of factors, including type of compressor and the ambient temperature. However, as a general rule, it is recommended to ensure that the compressor should not be left idle for more than two weeks without being used. This is to avoid damage from condensation and corrosion.
In conclusion, it is important to regularly drain your air compressor for optimal performance and to prevent the buildup of contaminants and moisture. How often to drain an air compressor will depend on the type, environment, and maintenance schedule – generally, it should be done at least once a month. The process is simple – turn the compressor off, locate the type of valve, open it, allow the water to drain, close it, and turn the compressor back on. By following these steps, you can ensure proper functioning of your air compressor and avoid corrosion and pressure drops.