Portable air compressors are indispensable tools for DIY enthusiasts, auto shop owners, and contractors. However, they need regular maintenance to ensure their optimal performance and longevity, including periodic air filter changes.
Air compressor air filters protect air compressors from dust, dirt, oil, and other contaminants that can lead to costly damage and reduced efficiency. They also play a significant role in maintaining the compressed air’s quality, which is critical for applications that require clean, dry air. Consider the different types of air compressor filters.
Particulate filters remove solid contaminants like dust, dirt, rust, and even pollen from the compressed air. They work by trapping these particles within their filter media, preventing the particles from entering the air compressor and affecting its performance.
Depending on the air quality requirements of your application, you may need particulate filters with different filtration efficiencies. Regular maintenance and replacement of these filters are necessary to ensure the continued operation of your portable air compressor.
Activated Carbon Filters
Activated carbon filters primarily remove vapors and odors from the compressed air, making them ideal for applications that require clean, odor-free air. The activated carbon in these filters creates a physical barrier that stops molecules of vapors and odors, allowing only clean air to pass through. It's important to note that activated carbon filters don’t remove solid particles or water, so people often use them in conjunction with other types of filters.
Coalescing filters remove oil and water aerosols from the compressed air. They work by forcing the compressed air through a filter media that coalesces the tiny aerosols into larger droplets. These droplets then fall to the bottom of the filter and get drained away. Coalescing filters are essential for applications that require dry, oil-free air.
Intake filters are at the intake of the portable air compressor. They remove dust and other airborne particles from the ambient air before it enters the compressor, protecting the internal components from premature wear and tear. Regular cleaning or replacement of intake filters can significantly extend the lifespan of your portable air compressor.
Inline filters go directly in the compressed air line and remove various contaminants, including dust, dirt, oil, and water. The type of inline filter you need depends on the specific requirements of your application.
Oil filters are crucial for oil-lubricated air compressors. They remove any solid particles that may have entered the oil circuit, ensuring the optimal performance and longevity of the compressor. Regular replacement of oil filters is necessary to maintain the quality of the oil and prevent damage to the air compressor’s motor.
Air Filter Micron Ratings
One crucial factor when purchasing an air filter is its micron rating. This rating determines the amount and size of debris filtered or removed from the ambient air. Being able to read and comprehend micron ratings allows you to decide between different filtration options.
What Is a Micron?
Air line filters and intake filters have categories based on the size of the particles they can “catch.” These particulates are extremely small, so it’s necessary to measure them in microns (1 micron = one millionth of a meter). For comparison, a human hair is about 100 microns across, and a red blood cell is 8 microns in diameter.
If you’re using a fine particulate filter, such as a 5-micron filter, the element inside will trap invisible particulates smaller than a red blood cell. It's best to have a general-purpose filter (30 to 40 microns) installed upstream in the system to catch larger particulates. This way, the incredibly small holes in the 5-micron filter downstream won’t get clogged. Doing so will save you from constantly replacing the smaller filters.
Air compressor filters play a vital role in maintaining the efficiency and longevity of air compressors. By understanding the different types of air compressor filters and their functions, you can choose the right filters for your application and establish a regular maintenance routine to keep your portable air compressor running smoothly. For an air compressor intake filter replacement, head to Master Tool Repair.