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How do Desiccant Air Dryers Work

Wet air passes directly through the desiccant medium which adsorbs the moisture. The desiccant medium has a finite capacity for adsorbing moisture before it must be dried out, or regenerated. To do this, the tower containing saturated desiccant medium is depressurized and the accumulated water is driven off.

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How this happens depends on the type of desiccant dryer:

  • Heatless dryers use only compressed air as a purge
  • Blower purge dryers use a combination of air from an external blower, heat and minimal compressed air
  • Heat of compression dryers use the heat of the compression

Air Dryer Maintenance and Repair


  1. Check and record inlet pressure, temperature and flow. Verify that it is within specifications.
  2. Check tower pressure gauge readings within operating tolerance.
  3. Check tower pressure gauges for proper dryer cycling
  4. Check that there is no condense discharged from prefilters.
  5. Verify that pressure in purging tower is 5 PSIG or less.
  6. Verify that prefilters and afterfilters differential pressure is within operating limits.

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  1. 1. Check your operating conditions: inlet flow, inlet pressure, and inlet temperature.
  2. Check prefilters and afterfilters.
  3. Check dryer cycle and sequence of operations. (i.e. drying, depressurizing, regenerating, heating, and cooling)
  4. Check tower temperature gauges during third and fourth hour of regeneration cycle.


  1. Replace prefilter and afterfilter elements.
  2. Check pilot air filter element and clean.


  1. Check outlet dewpoint.
  2. Blow down relief valves.


  1. Check desiccant and replace if necessary.
  2. Inspect and clean pilot operated valves and replace packings as required.
  3. Inspect and clean pilot operated valves and replace packings as required.
  4. Inspect and clean solenoid valves, check valves, purge lines and lubricated plug valves.
  5. Test lights and switches, replace as necessary.
  6. Test electrical components, replace as necessary.


  1. Replace desiccant if necessary