Compressed Air Dryers Explained

Compressed air dryers are important for removing moisture from compressed air. Compressed air will always contain some amount of water, which comes from the air that gets sucked in by the compressor. But if you’re going to get the best, most efficient and longest-lasting use out of your compressor and all its attachments, you’ll want to remove that moisture before expelling it from the machine. This is where the compressed air dryer comes in.

Perhaps the most common type of compressed air dryer is a refrigerated compressed air dryer, which has a simple design, is relatively inexpensive and requires little in the way of maintenance. This is the best choice if you’re looking for a dryer and do not have any special requirements related to the kind of work you’re going to be doing.

So, what is a compressed air dryer and how is it used by Wisconsin operations like yours? Here’s an overview of what you should know.

How compressed air dryers work

With a refrigerated compressed air dryer, you remove moisture from the air by cooling it down. Warm air is more likely to be humid, so as the warmer air enters the dryer, it gets cooled down to approximately three degrees Celsius. All the water that was in the air as vapor condenses into water, which falls out of the air and can be removed from the machine through a water trap.

Once that process is complete, the cold air can then get reheated up to room temperature. The air will be significantly dryer when it comes out of the compressor, because most of the water condensed and was removed from the system.

The cooling happens in much the same way it does in a refrigerator or freezer. Liquid refrigerant evaporates in the evaporator, cooling down the warm, compressed air that passes through. The air then gets cooled, which warms the refrigerant, which then gets compressed and cooled again in the condenser.

Choosing a compressed air dryer

If you find yourself in the market for a refrigerated compressed air dryer, here are some of the most important features and points for you to consider in your selection:

  • Max pressure: You’ll need a maximum pressure on the dryer that is equal to or greater than that of the compressor.
  • Max flow: The maximum airflow that you can send through the dryer must be higher than the maximum airflow your compressor can deliver. Otherwise, you will experience a significant drop in pressure, which can make for less efficient operation.
  • Max outside temperature: The hotter the room in which the compressor will be used, the higher the max temperature you need for the dryer.
  • Inlet temperature: Air dryers will also have a max inlet temperature, and if you go above this temperature it will damage parts of the dryer. If you know you’ll be working with particularly hot air, you may need a higher max inlet temperature.

For more information about how compressed air dryers work, contact the team at Wenniger Compressor Co. in Wisconsin today.

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