Do I need a moisture filter on my air compressor?
On my pneumatic tools, I installed an air dryer to remove moisture and fine particles. I use the type for paint guns all of the time with every air tool. My buddies tell me that nobody uses them on air nailers, but I have never had a tool break due to moisture. Am I doing right by drying my air?
—Bob Davis, Denison, Texas
Air dryers or moisture filters make sense for spray guns, Bob, but they're more of a precaution than a necessity for nailers. Senco Products, for example, suggests attaching moisture filters to compressors powering its nailers, but doesn't require them. Just make certain your moisture filter doesn't restrict air flow to your nailer.
Moisture condenses in an air compressor tank and air hose during use. If you use your nailer infrequently in high humidity, then store it for long periods, condensation from the compressor can interfere with lubricant in the tool or damage some rubber seals and diaphragms by causing them to swell, warns Senco technical support manager Lee Zinsle.
To protect your tools, drain moisture from the compressor tank twice daily during heavy use. Before storage, lubricate nailers as the manufacturer recommends.