Air Manifold | Types And Options

The word manifold means “many”.  This is exactly what an air manifold does. It takes one line of air from a pump, compressor, vacuum engine, or other such system and splits it into many of them.  This can be done with or without monitoring the resulting pressure changes and be as complex or as simple as the job needs it to be. 

Because air manifolds can be used for so many things, they come in a huge array of styles and sizes.  You can get tiny air manifolds that are used in aquariums as part of air pump assemblies. These little wonders are usually made of machined metal and can enhance an aquarium by keeping more oxygen dissolved in the water.  The benefits of this are great, particularly if you have rare fish or many specimens in a small space.  You can find large air manifolds that mix air and fuel for various engines and machines.  This is very important for the proper functioning of the engine or machine, and when one of these breaks or cracks the entire, usually expensive, endeavor suffers.  One must not overlook the fact that air manifolds exist as part of air conditioning systems in buildings and built in vacuum systems in some modern homes. In short, any application that needs to split one stream of air under pressure into many will use an air manifold. These items range from machined stainless steel to PVC pipe fitted with ball cock valves. They need not be fancy, but can be, depending on the functions required.

When setting up an air manifold, regardless of application, one should keep in mind that these items are designed to deliver unrestricted airflow to many hoses.  The accessory pieces chosen, in particular the feed hose from the pump, conditioner, or compressor should be large enough to handle the volume needed and made of a non-crimping material. This is the weak area in a setup using such a splitter, as the feed line must remain open for everything that is connected to the manifold to properly function.

Using an air manifold in your pond or aquarium allows one pump to serve a large area, feeding many lines to air stones and diffusers. This can provide you with healthier fish and a cleaner pond or aquarium.  Shops with pneumatic tools can benefit from the use of an air manifold, too.  These tools, with their lines fed into the air manifold instead of directly into the air compressor, can be left hooked in and ready to use in an instant.  Air manifold installed in large buildings serve to allow a single air conditioning unit to service the many varied needs of the occupants inside, be it providing different levels of heated or cooled air on demand or just keeping the air fresh and breathable.  With a little care and some creativity the humble air manifold, with all of the many uses it has, can provide real benefit in the home shop or aquarium.

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