How to Make a Water Separator for Air Compressor: A Step-by-Step Guide

how to make a water separator for air compressor

If you’re an air compressor user, you’re probably aware that water vapor is naturally present in the air, and when compressed, it turns into liquid, causing serious damage to your equipment. A water separator is an essential tool to ensure that your air compressor remains healthy and functioning correctly. It separates water particles from the compressed air and prevents them from reaching the machine.

But how do you create a water separator for your air compressor? That’s what we’re going to explore today. By following these simple steps, you can create a reliable and affordable water separator using commonly found materials. Whether you are a DIY enthusiast or looking to save money by creating your own separator, this guide will show you everything you need to know.

By creating a water separator, you will increase the lifespan of your air compressor, decreasing the amount of maintenance you need, and reducing the risk of rust and corrosion. It’s a straightforward process, and at the end of it, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve built something that will protect your equipment for years to come. So, let’s get started and explore how to build a water separator for your air compressor.


If you’re looking for a cost-effective way to keep your air compressor running smoothly, a water separator can be a game-changer. A water separator for an air compressor helps to remove moisture from the compressed air system, which can lead to rust, corrosion, and damage to your equipment. With just a few supplies and some basic DIY skills, you can make your own water separator for your air compressor.

To get started, you’ll need a filter housing, a drain valve, and some tubing. Simply connect the filter housing and drain valve to your compressed air line, and you’re ready to go. The filter will capture the moisture from the air, and the drain valve will allow you to release it periodically.

By making a water separator for your air compressor, you can prolong the life of your equipment and get more reliable performance from your compressed air system.

What is a Water Separator and Why Do You Need One?

A water separator is a vital tool used in a variety of industries, including automotive, marine, and aviation. Essentially, it’s a device that separates water from fuel before it enters the engine. This is crucial for maintaining the engine’s performance and longevity.

Water in fuel can cause all sorts of problems, from corrosion and rust to decreased engine efficiency and power. It can even cause the engine to stall or fail completely. That’s why it’s essential to have a water separator installed if your vehicle or equipment operates in wet or humid conditions.

It’s a simple yet effective solution to a potentially disastrous problem. So, if you don’t have one already installed, it’s definitely worth considering.

how to make a water separator for air compressor

Benefits of having a Water Separator on Your Air Compressor

Having a water separator is a crucial component of any reliable air compressor system. It functions as a filter that separates water from the compressed air, ensuring that only clean and dry air is delivered to your tools and equipment. This not only extends the lifespan of your equipment but also improves its overall performance, as wet air can lead to corrosion and rust.

Furthermore, by removing moisture from the air, the water separator helps to prevent leaks and pressure drops in your air system, ensuring consistent and reliable air pressure. Investing in a high-quality water separator is a smart choice for anyone who uses an air compressor regularly.

Materials and Tools You’ll Need

If you’re looking to optimize the performance of your air compressor, a water separator is an essential tool to add to your arsenal. To make a water separator for air compressor, you’ll need several materials: a T-shaped PVC fitting, a threaded intake valve, a ball valve, some Teflon tape, and a PVC pipe with a length of your choice. You’ll also need some basic tools such as a measuring tape, a pipe cutter, and a wrench.

The first step is to measure and cut the PVC pipe to an appropriate length for your setup. Next, screw the threaded intake valve onto the T-shaped fitting and attach it to one end of the PVC pipe. Apply Teflon tape to the threads to create a tight seal.

Then, attach the ball valve to the other end of the PVC pipe using the same method. Lastly, attach your water separator to your air compressor intake line and you’re good to go! With this simple setup, you can ensure that your air compressor is running with dry, clean air, free from the damaging effects of water and moisture.

List of Required Materials

If you’re looking to start a DIY project, it’s important to make sure you have all the necessary materials and tools. The materials will vary depending on the project, but some common items include wood, nails, screws, sandpaper, and paint. It’s important to get high-quality materials to ensure your project looks great and lasts a long time.

In addition to materials, you’ll also need some basic tools like saws, hammers, screwdrivers, and measuring tape. These will help you cut and assemble your materials, and ensure everything is level and straight. If you’re more of a beginner, you may want to consider investing in a starter kit that includes all the basic tools you’ll need.

With the right materials and tools, you can tackle a wide range of DIY projects and create something truly special.

Tools Required

When it comes to woodworking, the materials and tools you use make all the difference in the outcome of your project. Some basic tools you will need include a saw, hammer, chisels, measuring tape, and screwdrivers. You may also want to invest in power tools, such as a drill, circular saw, or jigsaw, to make your work faster and more precise.

Don’t forget safety equipment like gloves, eye protection, and a respirator to protect yourself while you work. Depending on the scope of your project, you may need to purchase specific materials like wood glue, sandpaper, and wood stain. Choosing high-quality materials and tools can ensure that your project turns out just the way you envisioned it.

So before beginning any woodworking project, make sure to gather all the materials and tools you’ll need to get the job done.

Step by Step Guide to Making Your Own Water Separator

If you’re using an air compressor, then you probably know that water and moisture can easily get into the system. This can create problems and damage your equipment in the long run. That’s why it’s essential to have a water separator installed.

Ideally, you’ll want to purchase a separator from a store, but if you want to save some money and make your own, it’s not too difficult. First, you’ll need an old propane tank or some other container that you can repurpose. Next, you’ll need to cut off the top of the tank and weld in your inlet and outlet pipes.

You’ll want to make sure that the pipes are positioned correctly so that moisture can escape from the bottom of the tank while air flows out of the top. Finally, you’ll need to add a valve to your separator so that you can remove any water that collects over time. With some DIY skills and the right tools, you can have a fully functional water separator for your air compressor in no time!

Step 1: Assemble the Required Materials and Tools

To make your own water separator, the first step you need to take is to gather all the required materials and tools. This will ensure that you have everything you need to complete the project smoothly and efficiently. Some of the materials you will need for this project include a clear plastic bowl, a pipe wrench or pliers, Teflon tape, a shut-off valve, a drain valve, a ½ inch PVC pipe, and a few PVC fittings.

You may also need some other materials, depending on the specific design you decide to go with. Assemble all the materials and tools before you start, so that you can have a clear idea of what the project entails, and you won’t find yourself running to the store midway through the project. By gathering all the required materials and tools beforehand, you can ensure that you have everything you need to complete the water separator and save yourself the trouble of running out in the middle of the process.

Step 2: Cut the PVC pipe

Now that you’ve gathered all the necessary materials, it’s time to start assembling your water separator. The first step is to cut the PVC pipe. Make sure you have a measuring tape handy to ensure you make accurate cuts.

Mark the pipe at the desired length using a permanent marker or a piece of tape. Next, carefully cut the PVC pipe using a hacksaw or a PVC pipe cutter. This may take some time and effort, so don’t rush it.

Remember to wear protective goggles and gloves to avoid injury. Once you’ve cut the PVC pipe to the desired length, use sandpaper to smooth out any rough edges. This will prevent any sharp edges from damaging the hoses or causing an injury.

With the PVC pipe cut and smoothed, you’re now ready to move on to the next step of assembling your water separator.

Step 3: Drill holes

Now that you have marked the center of the container and placed the water outlet, it is time to move on to step three: drilling holes. This step is crucial for ensuring proper functioning of your water separator, so make sure to take your time and be precise. Using a drill bit that matches the size of your inlet and outlet fittings, carefully drill a hole into the container.

Then, use a metal file to smooth out any rough edges or burrs. Repeat this process for the inlet and outlet fittings on the opposite side of the container. This will allow the water to flow smoothly through the separator, ensuring clean and efficient fuel for your engine.

Remember to double-check your measurements and make any necessary adjustments to ensure proper alignment of the inlet/outlet fittings before drilling. By following these steps, you will be well on your way to creating your own effective and reliable water separator.

Step 4: Screw fittings on PVC pipe

For this step in making your own water separator, you’ll need to screw the fittings on the PVC pipe. This is an integral part of the process as it ensures that everything fits together securely. It’s important to use the correct size fittings that match the diameter of your PVC pipe.

The fittings may come with their own screws, but you also may need to purchase additional ones depending on the size and number of fittings you are using. Make sure to tighten the screws firmly, but not too tight as this could damage the PVC or the fittings. A tip to make sure everything is aligned properly is to dry fit the parts before screwing them together.

That way, you can adjust them if needed before committing with screws. With this step completed, you’re one step closer to completing your water separator!

Step 5: Install the Water Separator

Now that you have your materials assembled, it’s time to move on to Step 5: Install the Water Separator. This can be considered the most critical step as it will ensure that any unwanted water is separated from the fuel system. The water separator is essentially a filter designed to trap water droplets in the fuel as it passes through.

The water separator should always be installed before the fuel pump so that any collected water can be easily drained out. It is important to note that water separators come in different shapes and sizes, so you should choose one that fits your fuel system as closely as possible. When installing the water separator, make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and take all necessary precautions to prevent any leaks or damage to the system.

By doing so, you will not only be ensuring the engine’s longevity but also keeping it running smoothly and efficiently.

Tips and Tricks for Efficient Use of Your Water Separator

If you’re searching for how to make a water separator for an air compressor, you’re in the right place! A water separator is an essential tool in keeping your compressor running efficiently, as it removes moisture from the air that can cause rust and damage to your tools. Making a water separator is rather simple, and there are several ways to do it. One option is to purchase a pre-made separator and install it between the compressor and the tool.

Another option is to construct a DIY water separator using a clear plastic bottle and a few fittings. Whatever method you choose, it’s crucial to check and replace the filter regularly to ensure maximum performance. Additionally, it’s best to install the separator in a vertical position to allow the water to settle at the bottom and allow for easy draining.

By taking these steps, you’ll make sure your air compressor is working efficiently, and your tools are protected from moisture damage.

How often should you drain the separator?

As a vehicle owner or operator, efficient use of your water separator is critical. It does not only ensure your engine performance, but it also prevents the damages caused by water mixed with fuel. In general, draining the separator should be part of your routine maintenance tasks.

Experts recommend checking it every 3,000 miles or at least once a month, but the frequency will depend on several factors such as weather and driving conditions. For instance, if you drive on rough terrains or in wet weather, the water separator may fill out faster than when driving on smooth roads in dry weather. If you notice a drop in your fuel efficiency or experience engine sputtering and stalling, it may be a sign that you need to drain the separator sooner.

Remember, a little damage prevention goes a long way in ensuring a smooth and efficient vehicle performance.

How to properly drain the separator

If you’re using a water separator, it’s important to know how to properly drain it for optimal performance. One essential tip is to drain the separator daily to prevent moisture buildup that could damage your equipment. To do this, open the drain valve carefully and slowly to ensure all the water and debris drip out.

Make sure to use a clean container to collect the water, as any dirt or oil could contaminate the separator. Additionally, never over-tighten the valve to avoid damaging it. Maintaining your water separator by draining it properly is essential to prevent costly repairs in the future.

By taking these simple steps, your separator will work as it should and keep your equipment safe from moisture damage.


In conclusion, making a water separator for your air compressor may seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools and materials, it’s actually quite simple. The key is to ensure that the separator is properly installed and maintained to prevent any water from entering your compressed air system. With this clever little addition to your workshop, you’ll be breathing easier and keeping your tools running smoothly for years to come.

So go ahead, make your air compressor proud by giving it the gift of separation – of water, that is!”


What is a water separator for air compressor and why is it important?
A water separator is a filter that removes moisture from compressed air before it enters pneumatic tools or machines. It is important because moisture can damage the equipment and reduce its efficiency.

What are the different types of water separators for air compressors?
The different types of water separators for air compressors are centrifugal separators, coalescing filters, and refrigerated dryers.

How does a centrifugal separator work?
A centrifugal separator uses centrifugal force to separate moisture from compressed air by spinning the air and creating a cyclonic effect. The moisture is then collected in a drain trap for removal.

How does a coalescing filter work?
A coalescing filter traps moisture by using a fine filter element that captures water droplets as they flow through the filter. The moisture then collects in a drain trap for removal.

How does a refrigerated dryer work?
A refrigerated dryer reduces the dew point of compressed air by cooling it and causing the moisture to condense. The condensed water is then removed from the air stream.

Can a water separator remove oil from compressed air as well?
Yes, some water separators can also remove oil from compressed air by using an additional filter element that captures oil droplets.

How often should a water separator be drained?
A water separator should be drained at regular intervals, typically every 8 hours of operation or as recommended by the manufacturer. This prevents the accumulation of moisture and potential damage to the equipment.

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