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Air compressor maintenance: The importance of draining your air receiver

Taking proper care of your air compressor will extend its life and ensure that it continues to work at optimum efficiency. One important little task is to drain your air receiver as often as possible. Normal atmospheric air drawn into your air compressor’s receiver contains water vapour. As this air is compressed the water vapour condensates and collects as moisture in the receiver. After a while this moisture will build up, and should be removed in order to prevent damage – in the form of rust – from weakening you air receiver.

air receiver drain valve

Most small compressors for domestic or light commercial use will have a drain valve situated on the underside of the air receiver. This valve can be opened by unscrewing it to release the collected moisture within the air receiver. Since this moisture may also contain particulate matter (dirt!) and oil deposited during air compression, it’s a good idea to wear protective gloves when draining your air receiver and, unless you want a dirty stain on the floor of your workshop, to collect the water in a container of some sort. Once you have drained your air receiver you may wish to leave the drain valve open in order to let any remaining moisture in the air receiver to evaporate over time. Never forget to close the drain valve fully before attempting to use your air compressor again – if left open, your air compressor will run and run without actually building any air pressure.

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