What Is a Refrigerant Dryer, and How Does It Work?

A refrigerant air dryer is a specific type of compressed air dryer that is used to remove moisture from compressed air, which always contains water. Any time the compressor sucks in air, it brings in exterior moisture as well, so to protect your equipment, it is important to have a compressed air dryer in place to prevent any potential damage.

But how does a refrigerant dryer work, and why choose this particular option for your Wisconsin facility? Here’s a quick overview.

What to know about refrigerant dryers

Refrigerant air dryers are commonly used types of compressed air dryers because they do not require much maintenance, are relatively cheap and are easy to operate. If you don’t have any special requirements for your application (such as extremely low dew points), they’ll work quite well. You can install it and then likely never have to think about it again.

The system works by cooling down the air to approximately three degrees Celsius. At that point, all the water vapor condenses into water. That liquid water can then be removed from the system through a simple water trap, after which point the cold air gets reheated to room temperature. Because most of the water has been condensed and removed from the system, the reheated air is significantly dryer than it was before.

The cooling process works similarly to the process used in a refrigerator or freezer. Liquid refrigerant gets evaporated in a separate circuit, and is used to cool down the compressed air. As the air cools, the refrigerant gets warmer. The refrigerant goes into a small compressor of its own, then gets re-cooled in a condenser, and the process continues to cycle over and over as the air compressor brings in more air.

Factors to consider when purchasing a refrigerant dryer

Here are just a few of the most crucial factors to take into consideration as you do your research into a potential refrigerant dryer to purchase:

  • Maximum pressure: The dryer’s maximum pressure will need to either be the same or higher than the maximum pressure of the compressor.
  • Inlet temperature: Every air dryer will have its own specified maximum inlet temperature. If you exceed this temperature, it could damage parts of the equipment. There are some compressors that might have an after-cooler attached to the system, which will make sure the compressed air stays within reasonable temperature ranges.
  • Maximum flow: Maximum flow refers to the maximum amount of airflow that can run through your dryer, measured in liters per second in most cases. If your dryer is too small, this could result in significant drops in air pressure, because the air will have a hard time passing through it.
  • Maximum room temperature: Where will your dryer be located? If you’re putting it in a hot rom, there’s a chance it could overheat. You need to make sure the maximum operating temperature for your dryer is able to accommodate the maximum temperatures in the room in which it will be operating.

For more information about refrigerant air dryers in Wisconsin, contact Wenniger Compressor Co. today.

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