Best Practices for Air Treatment Integration

At Air Handling Equipment, we provide high-quality air compressors from industry-leading brands.

However, we know that simply investing in a high-quality air compressor does not guarantee optimal performance. Without effective air treatment, products and process equipment that depend on compressed air are subject to increased scrap, poor quality and additional maintenance.  

This blog will discuss air treatment and the best practices for ensuring clean, quality compressed air.

What is Air Treatment?

Air treatment involves incorporating specific components into an air compressor system to ensure that the compressed air it receives and supplies is free from contaminants and flowing at a proper dew point level. Dust, dirt, moisture, oil, and other foreign contaminants can enter and pollute compressed air as it travels downstream. Proper air treatment integration can improve the efficiency of your compressed air system, reduce maintenance costs, reduce scrap rates, and prolong process equipment lifespans.

Selecting Your Air Treatment Components

Air treatment integration involves using several components, each playing a specific role in maintaining air quality. When choosing the parts and equipment best suited for your processes, consider factors such as air quality requirements, local regulations, flow rates, and pressure levels. 

Some of the main air treatment components include:

  • Filters and Regulators 
  • Dryers
  • Aftercoolers
  • Water Separators
  • Drains
  • Mist Eliminators
  • Oil Water Separators

A Brief Overview of Compressed Air Parts

Filters and Regulators

Filters and regulators are integral to air treatment integration. Filters remove airborne particulates and contaminants, while regulators help control the pressure of the incoming air.  There are several filtration grades available to meet your specific air quality requirements. 

These include:

  • Activated Carbon Filtration: Removing oil vapor and hydrocarbon odor
  • General Purpose Protection: Removing particles down to 1 micron
  • High Efficiency Oil Removal Filtration: Removing particles down to .01 micron
  • Dust Filtration: Removing dust particle down to 1 micron  

It is important to understand your facility’s tolerances when it comes to particles, water, and oil carryover. ISO8573:2010 Contaminants & Purity Classes provides a breakdown of class ratings for max particles passing through, pressure dew point levels, and oil carryover.  


Dryers eliminate condensation by lowering the dew point of compressed air. This prevents moisture from building up in the compressed air pipe downstream.  Excess moisture can cause corrosion, damage equipment, and negatively impact the performance of point of use equipment (i.e., air-powered tools) and the final product.

There are three types of air dryers: 

  • Refrigerated: Delivering 38 Degrees Fahrenheit Pressure Dew Points
    • Using a refrigerant circuit, refrigerated dryers cool the air to a low temperature to condense water vapor and drop the liquid water out through drains.
  • Desiccant: Delivering -40 and -100 Degrees Fahrenheit Pressure Dew Points
    • Desiccant beads or molecules are used to absorb water vapor.  Desiccant dryers utilize two towers then, one for drying the air with the desiccant and the other for regenerating the desiccant.  These towers switch back and forth.
  • Membrane: Delivering 40 to -40 Degrees Fahrenheit Pressure Dew Points
    • Sometimes utilized in point of use applications, membrane dryers use special-shaped membrane fibers to remove water vapor from the compressed air stream.  

While each dryer uses different technologies to dry air, each dryer type does an effective job of providing clean and dry compressed air downstream.  As recommended above, it is important to understand max tolerances in pressure dew point levels for your facility’s process equipment and products.  


Aftercoolers are heat exchangers that reduce the temperature of compressed air. By cooling the air, they help remove moisture from it, minimize the workload of downstream dryers, and enhance the overall efficiency of the air compressor system.

Water Separators

Designed to remove up to 99% of bulk liquid water from your compressed air system, water separators play an integral role in preventing the accumulation of water.  Water separators reduce the risk of corrosion, contamination, and compressor operation inefficiencies. 


Compressors, dryers, filters, water separators, and other air treatment components are all going to produce and collect unwanted moisture, oil, and particulates.  Drains play an important role in removing this unwanted condensate from the compressed air.  Without drains or functioning drains, condensate will cause serious issues of backing up into the compressed air system or pushed downstream. 

There are 4 types of drains: Manual ball valve, Mechanical Trap, Timed-Solenoid, Zero Air Loss

Mist Eliminators

Another method of removing oil and water vapor from compressed air systems, Mist Eliminators act as the failsafe air treatment system.  With the ability to capture and retain large amounts of oil and water should a drain or an oil separator fail, the mist eliminator will protect downstream equipment from contamination.  

Oil Water Separators

Compressed air systems produce a byproduct of condensate that contains lubricant carryover.  This condensate needs to be drained somewhere and without an oil water separator, your facility is susceptible to disposal issues.  Beyond pollution and financial exposure, your facility is open to legal liability depending on your location’s allowable amount of lubricant contamination sent into the sewer.  Oil water separators are designed to receive condensate from the entire compressed air system (compressors, dryers, coolers, filters, drains) and properly filter the condensate from the water carryover.  Once this separation process is complete, the remaining water can be disposed of safely and in compliance with your local regulations.  

Best Practices for Air Treatment Integration

1. Air Quality Requirements

Different applications have varying air quality requirements. Identify your facility’s air requirements and what factors may be impacted based on different air treatment options.  

If you are new to compressed air systems and looking for somewhere to start, Air Handling Equipment will provide the guidance you need. Our team will work with you to select the appropriate air treatment equipment and develop an efficient treatment plan.

2. Proper Installation and Placement

Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installing and placing each air treatment component.  It’s okay if compressed air systems aren’t your specialty; they’re ours. Our employees receive continuous and extensive training on the design, installation, and placement of compressed air systems. We’ll make sure everything is in the right place and working properly.

3. Routine Maintenance and Monitoring

Like any other piece of equipment, compressor parts require maintenance. Each of the air treatment options listed above have some maintenance required to maintain optimal efficiency.  Staying proactive on these maintenance items can expand the lifespan of your equipment while ensuring air treatment systems function optimally.

We know preventative maintenance may be difficult to stay on top of with all the other responsibilities at your facility. Consider partnering with Air Handling Equipment for your preventative maintenance needs. We make the process as convenient as possible, fitting your schedule with 24/7 support and rental equipment available so you don’t have to stop production.

4. Troubleshooting Common Issues

While our team can support your preventative maintenance needs, we still encourage you to be aware of signs of potential issues.  This can be accomplished with routine inspections (daily, weekly, monthly) that take only a few minutes of time walking through your compressed air area.  

Some of these routine inspections include:

  • Routinely check for air leaks by inspecting the equipment and listening for hissing sounds.
  • Check drains daily to make sure they are properly removing condensate from the system.
  • Examine filter elements for contamination or clogging quarterly.
  • Adjust pressure levels as needed.
  • Conduct a thorough system inspection, including connections, valves, and fittings.
  • Inspect daily the aftercooler for any blockages.
  • Verify that flow rate sensors are properly calibrated and functioning correctly.
  • Replace faulty components.

5. Compliance with Safety and Environmental Regulations

Follow safety guidelines and environmental regulations concerning the integration and operation of air treatment components.  Following these guidelines ensures proper operation, minimizes risks and keeps businesses in compliance with relevant regulations.  Feel free to contact Air Handling Equipment today about ensuring your air quality is in full compliance. 

Air Handling Equipment is authorized to conduct air quality audits in compliance with SQF, ISO, BCAS, GFSI compressed air quality requirements + specifications: ISO 8573, NFPA 1989, NFPA 99, OSHA, CGA, CSA, and many more. 

6. Training and Awareness

Lastly, properly train your staff on air treatment integration practices and the importance of following them. An educated and proactive team can significantly improve your compressed air system’s long-term performance and reliability.  Air Handling Equipment offers customer training throughout the year at our training facility, as well as onsite at your facility.  Contact us today to learn more about our training.  

High-Quality Air Treatment from A Partner You Can Trust

Air Handling Equipment has you covered for reliable solutions and high-quality compressed air systems and parts

With our expertise and extensive range of products, we will customize your air treatment integration to meet your specific needs and requirements. 

Take the proactive step towards enhancing the efficiency and reliability of your compressed air systems by contacting us or calling 1-800-736-3321 today.

With office locations in Sidney, Loveland, and Gahanna, Air Handling Equipment has provided compressed air system solutions to the Midwestern and Southern Ohio markets since 1977. This includes proudly serving the greater Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, Lima, and Findlay, Ohio areas. For questions about our selection of used air compressors, call one of our locations or fill out our online contact form, and someone from our team will get back to you as soon as possible.