How to Plumb Air Compressors

Setting up an air compressor to provide dry air at a constant pressure is key to the successful use of compressors for driving tools.

Permanently installed air lines can make your compressor more versatile.Permanently installed air lines can make your compressor more versatile.
Many compressors come equipped with a quick connector that can be installed in a minute or less to provide compressed air almost immediately, but taking a little extra time, and investing in a few parts will make your compressor much more useful to you in the long run.

Wrap Teflon tape around the threads on all joints and fittings that you intend to attach to the compressor. This provides an air-tight seal, while allowing the parts to be removed, and even reused as needed. Do not use a locking grease or plumbers dope on these fittings.

Thread a female quick connector onto the outlet of your compressor and tighten it clockwise with a wrench. Attach a short, flexible air hose to the connector, long enough to reach an available wall stud, near your compressor.

Use two pieces of perforated pipe strap, cut to fit around the air dryer cylinder. Wrap the pipe strap around the dryer and drive a 1 ¼-inch drywall screw through the end hole on each end of the strap, into the stud, to hold the dryer in place. Install it about chest high for easy access, and install one strap at the top and one at the bottom of your dryer.

Thread a ½-inch threaded pipe nipple into the inlet on the dryer. Wrap a rag around the threads on the opposite end and tighten the nipple with locking pliers. Thread one opening of a four-way air regulator valve to the end of this nipple and tighten with a pipe wrench. Fit threaded nipples into the remaining three openings and tighten with the rag and pliers.

Fit an air pressure gauge to the nipple opposite the opening you attached to the dryer. Tighten with a pipe wrench. Fit a male quick connect on the nipple closest to the compressor and a female quick connector to the nipple on the opposite side. Tighten these fittings with a pipe wrench.

Run air hose, supported with brackets made of the same perforated pipe strap you installed your dryer with, along the center beam of your shop, if possible. Use T-fittings to branch this line off wherever you need air. Use flexible rubber air hoses to create your air supply. It leaks less and absorbs the vibrations of the air hose. It can be purchased ready made in many lengths, with quick connectors already in place that fit most tools.

Things You Will Need

  • Teflon tape
  • Pipe wrench
  • Locking pliers
  • Rag
  • Fittings
  • Air hoses
  • Air dryer
  • Regulator valve

About the Author

Mark Morris started writing professionally in 1995. He has published a novel and stage plays with SEEDS studio. Morris specializes in many topics and has 15 years of professional carpentry experience. He is a voice, acting and film teacher. He also teaches stage craft and lectures on playwriting for Oklahoma Christian University.