Factors Affecting the Quality of High Pressure Breathing Air

 In Education

You just changed oil, your filter is new, your compressor is clean, yet you failed the air quality test. Much worst if this situation happens and your compressor is brand new. While the condition of your compressor is the primary factor in producing good air quality, there are other factors that can significantly contribute in producing the best air quality possible.

One of the common failures during an air quality test is the high carbon content. With this, we are laying down the possible factors that affects such, and by doing so, can significantly improve the quality of high pressure breathing air being produced.

  • The Use of Petrol vs Electric Motor

Without a motor to keep it running, a compressor is just a compressor. While most portable high pressure breathing air compressor gives you the option to either run it using petrol or electric motor, using such influences the amount of carbon gas emitted in the surrounding environment. You should know by now that petrol motor emits more carbon gas. But this does not mean that electric motors do not emit such, as they do, but lesser in quantity.

Nonetheless, the problem of carbon emission from the compressor’s motor engine can easily be addressed by following other succeeding factors.

  • Location and Surrounding Environment of the Compressor

Photo courtesy from Njuskalo

As a general rule, you should place and operate your compressor in an environment that is described as clean and well ventilated. Remember, the air that is being compressed by your compressor comes from your surrounding environment.

So, the assumption here is that if your surrounding environment is dusty, dirty or other descriptions that comes similar with not being clean, then the possibility of producing contaminated high pressure breathing air is high. Same goes the other way around if your surrounding environment is clean where you can expect to produce good air quality.

Furthermore, ventilation is a key component in selecting the location of your compressor. Regardless if you run it using petrol or electric motor, carbon gases are emitted and just imagine the accumulation of this toxic gas if there is no ventilation. Hence, a well-ventilated area is paramount in compressor site operation.

  • Location, Size and Length of Intake Pipe

Photo courtesy from Michael McFadyen’s Scuba Diving Web Site

The production of high pressure breathing air starts when surrounding air is suctioned and drawn inside the intake pipe that leads to the compressor. For most portable compressors, intake pipe comes in the form of plastic tube with over a meter in length and is directly attached vertically above the compressor unit. With this kind of set-up, wind direction plays an important role. You should orient your compressor in such a way that the carbon gases emitted from the motor engine goes in a direction away from the intake pipe.

Rather than plastic tubes, long and flexible intake pipes are required for large compressors. But not just flexible pipes where you maybe thinking that a longer intake pipe that can reach further away from the compressor is the best thing to do. If this is what’s on your mind, then you’re thinking the wrong way. Based on studies and best practices, the general rule is that you have to double up the size of the intake pipe every 10 feet (3 meters).

For example: a 1-inch (2.5 cm) diameter flexible intake pipe can go as long as 10 feet. But if you want it to go as long as 20 feet (6 meters), then you should use a 2-inch (5 cm) diameter pipe. Further, if you want it to go as long as 30 feet (10 meters), then you should use a 4-inch (10 cm) diameter pipe.

Why Compressor Filters Cannot filter-out carbon gas?

We do all know that the primary purpose of having a compressor filter is to filter-out any air impurities. But you have to take note that most, if not all, compressor filters available today are designed to remove water instead of carbon, although it does, especially when the compressor filter is new.

However, as the compressor filter is used over time, water is absorbed and accumulated in the filter’s molecular sieve, which in turn, releases the trapped carbon filtered from previous operation. This is the reason why the carbon content in the produced high pressure breathing air is at its minimal when the compressor is still new, but will gradually increase over time.

Now, let’s go back to the failed air quality test mentioned in the early part of this article. Let us say that you made the necessary revisions in operating your compressor and followed all the recommendations mentioned above and now ready to retake a new air quality test. You might consider inviting a couple of your friends to witness the actual testing. And viola, you failed again.

This time, we are now sure that the reason for the failed test has nothing to do with the compressor or the factors the can potentially affect the results as humans, represented by your invited friends, also emits  carbon gas through respiration and the figures can go high if its a crowd in a small room.

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