6 Reasons You're Not Getting Enough Compressed Airflow

Have you noticed you're not getting the full effect of your compressed air products? Here are some of the first places to check when you are having trouble with air supply. 

1.     Pipe Length: The longer airflow travels, the more significant the pressure drop will be. Make sure you check your compressed air needs and optimize your piping system before installing any new compressed air products.

2.     Pipe Diameter: Making sure you use the appropriately sized pipe can make all the difference. More often than not, the diameter of your pipe is the most significant restriction to airflow. Imagine breathing through a straw, you only have limited space for air to flow to your lungs. Now imagine trying to force a large volume of high pressure compressed air through a small diameter, it’s going to be difficult! The higher velocity creates more friction and makes the loss in pressure more significant.

3.     Sizing Components: Correctly sized filters, valves, regulators, and quick connections in your piping system can drastically improve airflow. If these components are undersized, it creates more restrictions for the air, causing a decrease in pressure. Also, be sure to avoid using quick connect couplings if possible, as undersized quick connect couplings can produce considerable pressures drops.

4.     Piping Elbows: The fewer piping elbows you use, the better. Just like pipe length, the more elbows in the airline, the less pressure you’ll have available at the point of use. Abrupt changes in direction along the piping route result in loss of pressure if you can’t escape using piping elbows, be sure to use large or long radius elbows. These elbows create less pressure drop because they produce less friction than short radius elbows.

5.     System Checks: Assess your piping system periodically (at least every six months) to ensure there are no leaks in your system. Leaks can cause massive pressure drops in your piping system and can costs you thousands of dollars if not caught soon enough. A 1/8” hole at 100psi can cost you over $1,500 a year in wasted air.

6.     Liquid Removal: Eliminate any oil or mist is in your air supply, as they can quickly ruin your piping system, creating buildup within the pipes and clog cooling devices. This can cause more friction and improve the chances of leaks occurring in your piping system. Be sure to use a coalescing filter because they remove all oil-based liquid contaminates within your compressed air system. Coalescing filters work best when located at the highest pressure point in the system and should be installed downstream of a 5-micron compressed air filter. Want to learn more about removing oils and vapor from your water line? Read our Quick Guide to Enclosure Cooler Maintenance

By following these tips, you can ensure you get the most out of your compressed air system. Having an efficient and effective piping system can save you time, money, and headaches when improving your airflow. The chart below can help you pick the best length and diameter pipe to use for your compressed air application. 

Maximum airflow (SCFM) through a pipe for a 5 PSIG Drop

(At 100 PSIG and 70⁰F)                               

Pipe Size (schedule 40 pipe)

Pipe Length

(FEET)

 

1/4

 

3/8

 

1/2

 

3/4

 

1

 

1-1/4

 

1-1/2

 

2

 

2-1/2

10

29

65

120

254

480

978

1483

2863

4536

20

21

46

85

180

340

692

1049

2024

3208

30

17

37

70

147

277

565

856

1653

2619

40

15

32

60

127

240

489

742

1431

2268

50

13

29

54

114

215

437

663

1280

2029

60

12

26

49

104

196

399

606

1169

1852

70

11

25

46

96

181

370

561

1082

1715

80

10

23

43

90

170

346

524

1012

1604

90

10

22

40

85

160

326

494

954

1512

100

9

21

38

80

152

309

469

905

1435

If you are ever uncertain or need clarification about your piping system give our apps engineers a call. They’re more than happy to help and make sure you get the most out of your compressed air system!

 

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