Air compressor, receiver tanks, and you


Peanut butter and jelly. Abbott and Costello. Fall Sundays and football. Some things just go together seamlessly. Add to the list: compressed air systems and tanks. You can’t have one without the other.

“If you have a compressed air system,” says Brad Bost, Air Components and Systems Account Representative, “you need a compressed air receiver tank.”

But unlike the above examples, the function your compressor tank serves might not be immediately evident.

Brad goes on to explain that the receiver tank stores compressed air as a stockpile, so if your demand surges the system can accommodate. That receiver tank, if it’s the correctly-sized tank for your system, can prevent your compressor from short-cycling, which can shorten the life of your system.

MATH ALERT: Brad says the receiver tank should be sized at 4-5 cubic feet per minute (cfm) of the system capacity. For example, a 400 cfm system requires a 1600-2000 gallon receiver tank.

The location of the tank within your system depends on if it’s a “wet tank” or a “dry tank.” Wet tank = between the compressor and the filtration equipment. Dry tank = after all the compressed air equipment.

Like just about any mechanical device, maintenance of your tank is very important. A good drain at the bottom of the tank (Brad recommends an automatic drain that kicks in at a regular interval, or when liquids reach a preset level) can prevent condensation from gathering in the tank and causing problems. Even in a dry tank water can gather, and if it does it’s usually an indicator that you have a larger problem in your system. An automatic drain in a dry tank can alert you to potential trouble.

Automatic drains need to be inspected regularly, and since your compressor system is a “pressure vessel” there are local regulations that require regular inspections as well.

Questions and answers, two more things that go together well! Contact us if you have any questions about compressed air systems and tanks and we can walk you through it.

About Brad Bost

Brad Bost

Brad Bost has several years experience in the Compressor industry with Air Components. To expand his knowledge and help his customers even more, Brad has been through rotary and parts training with Ingersoll Rand. As an account manager, he makes sure customers compressed air system works as efficiently as possible through understanding utilization of their compressed air and conducting audits.If you have more questions or would like to work with Brad, you can reach him at