It is very common to find retracting style hose reels installed in locations that use hand tools. These items are installed for convenience and make it easy to put the air hoses away, reducing trip hazards — but they have some commonly found problems that can increase compressed air costs and lead to performance problems:
- The compressed air is transferred to the hose through a special rotating seal. This seal will wear out and start leaking after a few years of use. If the reel is ceiling-mounted, the leak may not be easy to detect.
- The reels often hold very long lengths of hose, which can cause considerable pressure loss to the tool depending on the required air flow. For a fairly large air tool a 50 foot, ¼-in. hose will have a 50 psi pressure loss at 15 cfm flow, causing very poor tool performance. Always size for the largest tool.
- Hoses are often put away nice and neat, but pinholes will develop over time due to rough handling. These are hard to detect on a rolled-up hose.
- Often times, shut off valves are missing, making repairs difficult.
- It is common to install quick connect couplers on the inlet of the hose reel, this can cause extra pressure loss. Always try to minimize the number of connectors.