Clean air is essential to the functioning of your compressor. If you think the compression process obliterates the dirt, dust, water and oil particles which make their way through the intake vent, you’ve got another thing coming. When that junk gets into your equipment, it combines to form a mess of gunky residue which seriously impairs the operation.
Proper filtration keeps your system clean, avoiding premature wear on your components and ensuring reliable performance. Appropriate and correctly sized air filters are vital for the efficient operation for your equipment. Here’s a handy reference for selecting the right filter for your situation.
What’s In Your Filter?
Filters have a deceptively simple mechanism, the contaminated air enters in one end and passes through the filter material, where particulates are trapped, allowing only clean air to come out the other side. The housing and the filter element work together as a team. You can often keep the housing and swap out used filters when it’s time to replace.
Not all filter housings are created equal, so check the label to see compatibility and features. Some filter housings are designed to whip the air moving through them into a cyclone, which agitates oil, water and dust particles so that the solids are broken up before they reach the filter element.
Common Filter Types:
● Particulate Filters – In this simple filter, particulates flow through a very fine mesh or net which keeps everything but the air from escaping. The mesh can be sized for the application, and is measured in microns, or millionths of meters.
● Coalescing Filters – Coalescing filtration is a two stage process, best for situations where you’ll be dealing with liquid contaminates. Moisture is captured by an inner layer and then forced outward and drained separately.
● Activated Carbon Filters – Carbon filtering uses a chemical adsorption method. You read that right: adsorption is a process that takes advantage of the large surface area of carbon to trap contaminants.
The quality of your filter is important. You’re placing a porous barrier between your intake air and your output, which can result in some drops in pressure. To maintain the efficiency of your compressor, you’ll want a filter that doesn’t unnecessarily restrict flow. It is always a good idea to change the filter when you notice any decrease in performance, as even the best filters can clog or simply reach their capacity sooner than you expect.