Air receivers for compressors are tanks that store compressed air after it leaves the compressor. 

The receiver acts as a reserve, providing compressed air on demand without rerunning the compressor.

Simply put, air receivers for compressors are pressure vessels, and they come in a range of sizes and configurations depending on the type of air compressor you have.

So – do you need an air receiver, and how do they work?


What Do Air Receivers for Compressors Do?

These receivers are a temporary storage unit and a great way of running your compression operations more efficiently.

Receivers have a few primary functions:

  • Storing compressed air, available on-demand for short-term applications.
  • Provides a steady air signal sent to the air compressor controls.
  • It can act as a secondary heat exchanger, improving efficiency in wet tank receiver set-ups.


Why is Compressed Air Storage Useful?

We’ve mentioned improved efficiency. That occurs because if you have compressed air stored, the system can average out peaks in demand over each work period.

The air receiver stores air that acts like a battery, powering short processes of around 30 seconds as a quick burst of energy.

Typical applications of this duration can include:

  • Operating a blowgun to remove dust.
  • Running a sandblaster.
  • A dust collector pulse.

Using stored compressed air means you don’t need to start the compressor running again, prolonging the system’s lifespan and avoiding putting extra pressure on it for sudden demands.

Air receivers for compressors reduce overutilisation and minimise the number of cycles you need, with frequent cycling often a cause of faults and system failures.

Businesses may also be able to opt for a smaller HP model for larger applications.


Are Air Receivers for Compressors More Energy Efficient?

Using an air receiver improves efficiency considerably, and not just in reducing short-term cycling:

  • They reduce compressed air waste from repeated sump blowdowns.
  • Air receivers lower pressure demands on the compressor and air supply network.
  • They improve efficiency by reducing moisture and the knock-on filtration processes.

Each time you turn a compressor on and off, a small amount of compressed air will be wasted, as the oil tank is vented.

Over time, that results in potentially thousands of cubic feet of compressed air, so having an appropriately sized air receiver cuts down on venting and subsequent wastage.


Should I Have a Wet or Dry Air Receiver?

Compressed air storage is either wet or dry. 

The tank itself will be no different in construction, but it depends on where the air receivers for compressors are located in the system.

  • Wet air receivers are placed before the air drying system, with air flowing through the tank and then exiting to the dryer on top.
  • Dry air receiver tanks are located after the air dryer, storing air that is dry and filtered. That means you don’t need to transmit air through the tank for dry storage.

Wet compressed air storage is helpful since it allows excess lubricants and water to condense before reaching the dryer. 

This type of air storage extends the life of the pre-filter components since the airflow is dryer and cleaner, reducing slugging and pressure drops.

Dry air receivers for compressors have other advantages, primarily that dry compressed air is available for immediate usage.

Unlike wet compressed air storage, there is less risk of over-capacitating the compressor, as the dryer won’t be trying to pull through the air at too high a volume.


Where Can Air Receivers for Compressors Be Stored?

Some air receiver tanks are large, and you can potentially store them outdoors if you have minimal space or limited capacity in your compression room.

In warm weather, keeping storage tanks outdoors can reduce strain on ventilation systems since the tank will generate heat as the hot air inside cools down.

However, in UK winters, having a storage tank outdoors in low temperatures is inappropriate, so some insulation is required.

When the weather reaches freezing, air receiver tanks can ice up and even rupture. That can be very dangerous indeed, given the pressurised nature of the compressed air inside.

Therefore, we’d recommend keeping air receivers for compressors indoors unless you have some outhouse storage or an adequately insulated and ventilated storage facility.


How Large an Air Receiver Do I Need?

Your air storage capacity requirements will depend on many factors, such as:

  • The capacity of your air compressor in CFM.
  • Your peak CFM demands during maximum capacity.
  • How consistent the airflow is.
  • The size of your pipework.

One of the simplest ways to work this out is to plan for between 13 and 23 litres of air storage for each CFM air compression output.

For example, a compressor rated to 100 CFM should have storage of about 1,360 to 2,275 litres of compressed air, split between around one-third in wet storage and two-thirds in dry.

Looking for support with air compressor installations visit AMS Compressors.