Storing Airless Sprayers

Storing an airless spray machine.

After completely cleaning your airless spray machine as described in this post it is time to prepare the airless spray unit for storage, especially if it may not be used for some time.

One of the most common problems experienced with airless spray machines of almost any type after the airless paint sprayer has been stored for some time is that it will not prime. If you can't get the airless sprayer primed there is no way it will build pressure and spray paint. At risk of repetition an airless sprayer that will not prime obviously cannot develop any pressure. Many people confuse, or use the wrong terminology when a machine won't prime, and state that it has no pressure. An airless paint sprayer needs to be primed before pressure can be developed.

Okay so let's prepare the machine for storing.

It's usually a good idea to give the external of the machine wipe down including the hose to remove as much paint and overspray as possible. Often a rag dampened with thinners or solvent will speed this process.

It is usually best to avoid winding the airless spray hose tightly around the machine which could cause kinking and can also cause chafing if the airless spray machine is run with the hose tightly wound like this.

I prefer to start at the spray gun end of the hose holding the gun in one hand pull an arm length of hose toward you grab it with a hand holding the gun and repeat. As you work your way along the hose you will find you need to turn the rolled airless spray hose back and forward so it falls in a neat even coil. When you reach the machine simply hang the coil on the hooks or handle are normally provided and use a strap or some masking tape to keep in place.

Now rather than leave the machine dry which can cause priming problems at a later date, or full of water which will corrode your tungsten carbide valves quickly and cause early failure for your airless unit, it is recommended to completely fill the airless spray hose and spray gun with a storage solution.

All the major airless spray machine manufacturers offer a concentrated additive which can be mixed with water for this purpose.
Many painting contractors have achieved remarkably long service life from airless spray machines when they have religiously filled their airless spray machines with kerosene for storage.

Whichever method the manufacturer of your airless spray machine spray machine recommends, or you choose to use, a sufficient quantity will be required in a bucket to completely fill the internal pump hose and spray gun on your airless spray unit.

Place the suction set of your airless spray machine in this solution turned the machine on in the prime or bypass mode and allow your airless machine to run until there is a continuous flow returning back into the container from the bypass hose.

Now turn the pressure control down to the absolute minimum and while holding the airless spray gun on or open close the prime valve or bypass valve and then increase the pressure carefully and allow the machine to run until the solution flows from the spray gun.

At this point open the bypass valve again to relieve any pressure from the airless spray unit and turn the airless spray machine off.

Most contractors will now place the airless spray gun in the container with a storage solution and store the machine full of this solution until it is next needed for an airless spray job.

The benefit of storing an airless spray machine in this manner is that the inlet valve and outlet valve will not dry out and stick, causing a primary issue next time the airless machine is needed, and as long as the airless spray machines manufacturer recommended storage solution has been used corrosion will be avoided.

Almost every airless spray machine manufacturer warranty terms and conditions clearly state that wear and tear and corrosion are not covered by warranty.

Single valves alone for many airless sprayers are in the hundreds of dollars. 15 minutes spent properly preparing your airless sprayer for storage can save you hundreds of dollars and hours of downtime.

Remember if temperatures are likely to reach freezing while an airless spray machine is exposed to these temperatures the addition of antifreeze or a non-freezing solvent will need to be used.

  • Bypass
  • Cleaning
  • Hose
  • Prime
  • Spray
  • Spray Gun
  • Storage
  • Suction
  • Valves

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