Tech Notes


Compressed Air Piping

A key item often overlooked during compressor installation is the importance of a  properly configured and sized distribution system. Improperly configured compressed air piping can result in excessive pressure drop, turbulence and velocity. If present excessive pressure drop, turbulence or velocity will effect the ability of the compressor(s) to accurately sense system pressure, leading to poor compressor control and wasted energy.

Many times the connection size at the discharge of the compressor package is interpreted as the guideline for sizing the compressed air distribution system. This approach often causes major problems with compressor control and hinders the ability of the compressor to maintain stable downstream pressure.

Good piping practices dictate that the piping should be sized for the anticipated flow rate with the objective of minimizing system pressure drop, turbulence and velocity. Again itís easy to be misled by the size of the compressor discharge connection. Often times the compressor discharge size may be smaller than the properly sized pipe to accommodate the output flow from that same compressor, not to mention the capacity of multiple compressors.

Below best practices in compressed air system design:

  • Use directional angle entries instead of crossing tees.
  • Use long sweeping ells instead of tight 90ís.
  • Use of large headers to negate any pressure drop
  • Use of properly sized and placed control & auxiliary receivers  
  • Use of drip legs
  • Piping configured to slope away from compressor
  • Avoid use of any PVC piping
  • Use of loop distribution system
  • Outlets taken from top of pipeline.
  • Connection provisions for use of a temporary compressor

It may cost a little more initially to do it right, but long term benefits of minimized operating costs, avoiding production issues and potential revamp costs are well worth it.

If you have questions concerning compressed air distribution piping AirNow Compression Services is available to assist.




AirNow Industrial Compression Services
10440 N. Central Expy, Suite 1010
Dallas, TX 75231
Phone: 1-972-861-1200