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Adding Copper Lines on Compressed Air Supply to Remove Water?

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Forum topic by Crashcup posted 11-24-2015 10:24 PM 1420 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Crashcup

12 posts in 665 days


11-24-2015 10:24 PM

Hi, I was reading some forum posts about compressed air supply in the shop, and thinking ahead a bit on how I want to approach this in my basement shop.

I was considering two possible places to store the compressor to keep it out of the way – one under some steps, and the other in an adjacent utility room. When I read some posts about removing water from the air lines, I realized two things: One, the area I was considering in the utility room is close to a floor drain, which may be convenient for draining condensate. Two, I have scrap copper pipes – mostly 3/4” – from replacing our previous hot-water heat with a force-air system. I’m hanging on to the copper to sell for scrap, but if I can get some benefit out of re-using it myself, all the better!

The diagram attached is what I am envisioning. A series of 3/4” copper pipes going up the wall, where the air could cool and the condensed water run down to a drain. I would probably run the copper over the wall and into the shop, and then convert over to the Rapidair piping to distribute air around the shop.

Finally, my question. I’m wondering if someone here has done something similar and can comment on how effective this might be. If this just isn’t going to remove much water, then I don’t want to waste my time and the copper. Or, if just a couple of lengths of the copper would remove a good portion of the water, then something like the 9 lengths I showed in the diagram might be overkill. Without getting into a bunch of equations, I just don’t know how to get an idea whether this would be worthwhile.

One thing I just realized looking at the diagram again: I have to add a drip leg below the Tee shows, and have the valve off that. As shown, it wouldn’t have anywhere for the liquid water to go and would be pushing it forward through the lines.

Seems like there’s a lot of variables to consider. Two things I can say is that this being a basement in an air-conditioned house, the air temp should always be in the 68 to 82 degree range, and the humidity should be in a reasonable range, probably 40-50%.

Anyone?

Thanks,
Keith


19 replies so far

View CecilD's profile

CecilD

46 posts in 2892 days


#1 posted 11-25-2015 12:07 AM

Most of the water will build up in the compressor tank so be sure to add a drain to the bottom of the tank. I put a tee at each outlet with a drop leg as well as at the compressor. I installed ball valves on each of the drops. So far no problems (3yr.) with the system. I am in mid Missouri and I do keep some heat on in the winter. (mid 40’s to 50’s)

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tomsteve

394 posts in 685 days


#2 posted 11-25-2015 12:19 AM

id suggest taking the zig zag down the wall and turning them 90 degrees with a drain at the bottom of each run like so

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

5765 posts in 952 days


#3 posted 11-25-2015 12:33 AM

Or buy a dryer.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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johnstoneb

2146 posts in 1638 days


#4 posted 11-25-2015 12:48 AM

Your moisture will be in the tank. you need to drain the tank often. and have traps and at each drop. If you are really hav ing trouble with moisture add a filter and dryer.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

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Crashcup

12 posts in 665 days


#5 posted 11-25-2015 01:12 AM



Most of the water will build up in the compressor tank so be sure to add a drain to the bottom of the tank. I put a tee at each outlet with a drop leg as well as at the compressor. I installed ball valves on each of the drops. So far no problems (3yr.) with the system. I am in mid Missouri and I do keep some heat on in the winter. (mid 40 s to 50 s)

- CecilD

Yeah, I have one of those auto-drain valves from Northern Tool. It opens when the unloader valve opens as the compressor shuts off. I’ll be able to run a small line from the auto-drain valve to the floor drain. Never used one of those before, so we’ll see how well this keeps water out of the tank.

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Crashcup

12 posts in 665 days


#6 posted 11-25-2015 01:14 AM



id suggest taking the zig zag down the wall and turning them 90 degrees with a drain at the bottom of each run like so

- tomsteve

I’m not sure what kind of length is in those pipes in your pic. If they show 4 back-and-forth runs, maybe that would be enough for mine also?

Is it more efficient at draining condensate if there are multiple places for it to drain out?


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Crashcup

12 posts in 665 days


#7 posted 11-25-2015 01:16 AM



Your moisture will be in the tank. you need to drain the tank often. and have traps and at each drop. If you are really hav ing trouble with moisture add a filter and dryer.

- johnstoneb

Thanks for the replies. I should have mentioned that I’ve never done any spray finishing. I’m only thinking about removing some of the water thinking it’ll be better in the long run for air nailers… brad nailer and pin nailer.

Someday if I want to try spraying finish, that’ll be a whole different ball of wax. Then I might have to look into something like this + dryer.

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MrUnix

4233 posts in 1664 days


#8 posted 11-25-2015 01:29 AM


Or buy a dryer.

- TheFridge

<grin>

That’s what I did.. nothing fancy.. think it was about $8 or so. Includes a filter as well.

I’ve used my compressor for spraying all types of finishes, sand blasting, pneumatic tools and just about everything else you can use a compressor for – and never had a moisture problem. And I’m in FL where on a good day we might get down to 70% RH :)

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

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tomsteve

394 posts in 685 days


#9 posted 11-25-2015 12:58 PM

id suggest taking the zig zag down the wall and turning them 90 degrees with a drain at the bottom of each run like so

- tomsteve

I m not sure what kind of length is in those pipes in your pic. If they show 4 back-and-forth runs, maybe that would be enough for mine also?

Is it more efficient at draining condensate if there are multiple places for it to drain out?

- Crashcup


i got into auto body repair and was running a lot of air tools along with spray guns. thatsetup, plus this at the end

http://www.autobodytoolmart.com/devilbiss-finishline-120cfm-air-line-filter-50cfm-regulator-har-602-p-14418.aspx

kept my air not only moisture free but also cool. this was off of a 60 gal compressor. only difference was i ran down the wall and back up with 4 runs so filter was at the top of last run.. i used 3/4” copper.
when clearing out id have moisture at the first 2 and the last would only have moisture if i wa working on warm humid days or forgot to drain them for a while. the devilbiss filter did a great job,too. i never had a moisture problem in paint.

you might alsowant to look up “franzinator” for another option.

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tomsteve

394 posts in 685 days


#10 posted 11-25-2015 01:02 PM

oh, each verticle run was 3’4”(3 runs from a 10’ piece) and middle horizontals were long enough for the drain, short sections of 3/4” to hook to elbows.

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Crashcup

12 posts in 665 days


#11 posted 11-25-2015 02:42 PM

Thanks Tom. I think I have a plan now. I guess it makes sense that the vertical runs would work better – using gravity to help pull the liquid water down.

How long are the drops between the tees and the drain valves?


I also may use some of these instead of bare pipe. These are the cores of the radiators from the hydronic heat system we took out. With the extra surface area of the fins, it may be even better at transferring heat out of the compressed air.

I think I’ll just start with the “aftercooler” – that will remove a lot of the water and should fine just for using a nailer. Plus I plan to have air to 3 different places in the shop so I don’t have to run long hoses, and that would triple the cost of filter/driers if I want them at point of use. Later, if I start spraying finishes, I can re-evaluate.

Keith

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tomsteve

394 posts in 685 days


#12 posted 11-25-2015 07:22 PM

ive seen people use those. say they work great. gotta get the heat out along with the moisture.
on mine the verticles were only 40” to get 3 from a 10’ section of pipe. i dont think theres a set length they need to be. whatever works for ya.

one thing i also did when spraying vehicles-when the compressor would run a bit long- was leave the drain on the compressor cracked open justa bit to drain any moisture from the tank.

reads like ya have a good plan going.

helluva drill press ya have!

View Redoak49's profile

Redoak49

1953 posts in 1454 days


#13 posted 11-26-2015 12:03 AM

I would be cautious about reusing copper pipe fora pressure system. Water pipe is is typically thin wall and not rated for compressed air.

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Crashcup

12 posts in 665 days


#14 posted 11-26-2015 12:22 AM



I would be cautious about reusing copper pipe fora pressure system. Water pipe is is typically thin wall and not rated for compressed air.

- Redoak49

I was wondering about that. I googled pressure ratings, and found this:
http://www.copper.org/publications/pub_list/pdf/copper_tube_handbook.pdf
Even the thinnest drawn pipe, type M, is rated for 680 psi according to this.

As long as the pipe doesn’t have any pinholes should be good. But if it fails, it would split, right? Wouldn’t shatter like pvc.

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tomsteve

394 posts in 685 days


#15 posted 11-26-2015 11:26 AM

your compressor shouldnt be more that 150 psi. it will split if it fails.

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