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Picking Proper Piping

Everyone knows that your compressor is the heart of your entire air system. However, that does not mean that we should ignore all the other components that make up the system. Like a fully functioning human body that needs all of its organs healthy, a fully working compressed air system requires all of its components to be in good shape.


The piping for one, is something that most would consider a secondary concern, but like how your heart can fail when arteries are clogged, your compressor can malfunction when there are piping problems like having the wrong type.


What Do You Want from Your Piping?

First, you want a leak-free piping for the simple reason the leaks are really bad for your bottom line.


Second, you want a minimal pressure drop from your pipe system. We say minimal because every pipe system will always have some pressure drop because of the friction between the pipe itself and the air running through it. So, we are just looking to minimize pressure as much as we can.


Third, you want a long lasting pipe system. How do you achieve that? For one, never use PVC. Aside from the fact that it’s not really legal, it is also not meant for compressed air. Black iron, while it used to be the go-to pipe for compressed air systems, is no longer recommended. Black iron corrodes both in and out, and that’s definitely not food for your compressed air quality.


You’d do well to choose from copper, galvanized steel, stainless steel, and aluminum. As to which one should you choose depends on a variety of factors. You should consider these things, too:


Is an expansion likely? If so, you might want to oversize your pipe. A bigger pipe won’t hurt your system and it is a whole lot more convenient than having to go back to change what you already have installed.


Should you put drip legs? Unless you have a membrane, refrigerated, or desiccant dryer, then you have to install drip legs. Because compressors squeeze water out of the air and your filter will only be able to get out some, more water will condense in your pipe. This water would have to go somewhere else and it’s either into your equipment or back into your compressor. Unless you have drip legs.


Do you need ball valves and unions? You know you do. Sooner or later, something is bound to go wrong and break and you would have to fix it. A ball valve would allow you to isolate it from your system.


Pipes can greatly affect how your compressor performs. While we do know that you are probably an expert yourself, it is still safer to get a professional installer who would know all the important codes and regulations, as well as the best practices in the industry. Give us a call! Picking the proper piping is something that we can do for you!


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