Water Dripping Out Of My Air Tool

You say you’ve got water dripping out of my air tool? Here’s why.

Compressed air has a lot of water vapor in it. We talk more about that on this page about water in the air lines.

The longer the air compressor runs, and the higher the temperature and humidity in the air the compressor takes in, the more water and water vapor there will be in the tank and in the air lines.

Moving air cools down. High demand air tools like the one below use a lot of air, and the air moving through the drill will cool very quickly.

Water Dripping Out Of My Air Tool - Compressed air drill
An example of a high demand air tool (Photo: www.acklandsgrainger.com)

Even though liquid water was removed just before the air tool, by the compressed air filter /water trap you installed, water vapor that is still in the compressed air can condense inside the air tool as you are using it. If this happens, you will have water dripping out of the muffler on the tool.

What to do about water dripping out of my air tool?

If you have not installed a water filter / trap (also known as a water separator) just before the air tool, try that first. If that solves the problem, you’re good to go.

If it does not, and water continues to drip out of the air tool, then there are a couple of things you can do.

The first solution, and the most expensive, is to install a compressed air drier at the discharge of the air compressor. This will remove a significant amount of water vapor from the compressed air stream going to all the air lines and may result in dry enough air getting to your air tool and if that is successful, that will end the water dripping out of my air tool syndrome.

If adding a fairly expensive piece of equipment to your overall air system doesn’t work for you, you can install an in line water separator just before the air tool. The one shown in the image below is fairly inexpensive, and if it works for you, could be your best solution.

In line water separator for air tool
In line water remover (photo: www.princessauto.com)

 Desiccant drier may be necessary

If an in line water separator doesn’t do a good enough job in drying the air, then you may have to move up a notch to an in line desiccant drier along the lines of the one in the image below.

In line desiccant air tool drier
Desiccant compressed air drier (Photo: www.ecompressedair.com)

Desiccant driers use a chemical to strip compressed air of water vapor, ensuring that only bone-dry air gets to your air tool.

The desiccant chemical does get consumed, and periodic replacement of the chemical, or the drier itself becomes necessary over time. It is important that you get a desiccant drier that has the flow capability equal to or greater than the compressed air flow that will be used by the air tool it is protecting.

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