how to drain an air compressor

How to drain an air compressor in 3 easy steps

How to Drain Air Compressor

An air compressor is a device which uses electrical or chemical energy to convert atmospheric air into pressurized air. Air compressors are used to power construction tools such as jackhammers, grinders, and sanders. They are used to inflate tires, power spray guns, drills, and nail guns. Air compressors are also used in gas stations, and manufacturing plants.

Importance of draining air compressors

Many people ignore or sometimes forget to check the air compressors for faulty parts. Understanding your equipment; functioning of different parts of your machine, how it works, and knowing how to do necessary repairs is as much important as knowing how to operate it.

You can always seek help from customer service to repair or replace your equipment parts. But this will cost you a lot of money depending on the condition of your machine. So, why make a dent in your wallet when you can do this simple task all by yourself. Not only does it save you from buying or replacing the damaged parts, but it also increases the longevity of your air compressor. A lot of repair expenditures can be spared and eventually save you from replacing your air compressor machine.

This is how to drain an air compressor in 3 steps

The draining process of the air compressor is very straightforward. It is almost the same for smaller air compressors and larger industrial air compressors.

Time needed: 15 minutes.

How to Drain Air Compressor.

  1. Turn off the compressor machine.

    Unplug the unit from the outlet to make sure there’s no power flow. This ensures your safety.

  2. Reduce the pressure in the tank below 10 PSI by pulling the ring on the safety valve.

    A safety goggle is recommended when doing this.
    It is best to deflect the air with one hand while the other hand pulls the release ring. While it is okay not to empty the compressor tank, it is recommended to keep the tank empty when draining, for safety measures.

  3. The third step requires you to locate the drain valve.

    The drain valve is usually found on the underside or bottom of the tank. Some drain valves have reversed threads; you have to figure this out. Once you’ve located the drain valve open it, and allow the moisture to escape.

    Larger air compressors may have accumulated water in the tank if it is not drained for a long time. Keep a container below the valve to collect the water. Close the valve once this procedure is complete, and operate your compressor as you normally would.

    It is also safe to leave the drain open for a while if you want to. Remember to close the valve of the compressor tank before your next operation.
    Tilting the tank is a good thing to do as it removes any remaining moisture or water. It is especially recommended for smaller tanks such as 6-gallon tank or lower. The tilting process allows the moisture to escape from both ends of the drain valve.

Automatic drain tanks

There are some models where the automatic tank drain feature incorporated in the design. In this type of units, accumulated air is pumped out with every burst of compressed air. It saves you the trouble of draining the tank manually.

This neat feature does not allow the moisture to collect inside the tank that can lead to rusting and corrosion.

Compressor units with automated drain tanks produce exceptional air quality. They are also durable and maintaining them is effortless and straightforward.

Why and how often should air compressor tank be drained?

  • Draining your air compressor tank is a very crucial step in keeping your air compressor at its best.
  • It is imperative to drain your air compressor as often possible to ensure its smooth functioning and prevent damage.
  • Draining the air receiver and keeping it clean extends not only its lifespan but also avoids costly repairs.
  • Larger or industrial air compressors need to be drained daily or after every use. Bigger compressor pumps dump more water into the tank every time the pump is turned on.
  • Smaller air compressors do not dump in as much water when compared to commercial or industrial size air compressors. However, this does not mean that the collector tank is safe from the threat posed by water. Big or small, air compressors used for domestic or industrial purpose, the collector tank or receiver tank needs to be drained after every use to be on the safe side.

Consequence of not draining the compressor’s tank

Air contains water vapor, as the air is sucked into the collector and compressed; the water vapor condenses and collects in the form of moisture. This moisture will continue to build up and form rust if it is not removed. This is a serious issue, as the rust will slowly weaken the tank. Eventually, it may even cause the tank to explode which can be hazardous. The amount of water that enters the collector tank depends on the humidity

and temperature of the air, duration of operation of the machine, and for how long the air sits in the collector tank. When the humidity of the water is high, more water will enter the compressor tank in the form of water vapor.

Commercial or industrial air compressors have more massive compressor pumps, which mean it pumps in more water in the compressor tank. The volume of water in such air compressors can rise simultaneously. As the volume of water increases, more space in the tank is occupied by water, resulting in the reduction of the capacity of the air compressor tank. For example, your 20-gallon tank may no longer hold up to 20 gallons. This may result in malfunctioning of the gauges.

If the air receiver tank is not drained for a long time, the amount of water in the tank will eventually increase. Some amount of water will then escape the tank through the airline and deposit the water to where the air is being used. If you’re using the air compressor to power up air tools or filling up tires, note that the tools you’re using are prone to damage by rust. You already know what water does to metals. Water rusts metal.