Air blows are a cost effective and safe method for cleaning piping systems, fuel supply lines, steam lines and more. By performing an air blow before the startup of new systems, you can ensure no debris, dirt or contaminants will inadvertently clog pipes, ruin valves, or damage equipment upon startup.

There are two main types of air blow the RIG team performs. High velocity surge flushes are a low pressure, can attain velocities up to 200 feet/second, and are mainly used for long pipe runs. Very little water is required, but construction debris, semi-adherent material and other contaminates are quickly removed. Surge flushing, which does use a small amount of water, is the preferred method when semi-adherent material is the main concern.

The RIG team can recommend the best air blowing methods for your application. Learn more about our air blowing service below or contact us to get a quote.

Utilizing air blowing helps projects avoid delays from unexpected equipment problems (typically caused by contaminants). It also a thorough, effective cleaning method that is both safe and quick to perform. For these reasons, air blowing is a preferred pre-commissioning service for new plants, boilers, piping and more.

Air blowing can be used for:

  • Removal of metal working debris, mill-scale, dirt contaminants and other contaminates
  • Air blowing pipe cleaning
  • System pre-commissioning
  • Pressure and flow testing
  • Leak testing

Typical Air Blowing Procedure

Our team of certified technicians will develop a custom plan for your situation. Typically an air blow project progresses as follows:

  1. We extract job specifications from you over the phone and schedule a site-walk down (which can be as quick as the same or next day depending on your location).
  2. Our technician walks your site and develops a specific plan for access points, blowing procedures, temporary piping, etc.
  3. All equipment is shipped to your site and arrives with our team, who take full responsibility for executing the blow on-site.
  4. A typical setup includes:
    1. High and low set points calculated for your system. We can also can also provide a pneumatic target inserter to eliminate the use of a manual target bar. Targets are designed out of an appropriate metal and cut to the correct pipe size
    2. A quick opening valve is used to rapidly release the pressure to atmosphere
    3. Air receiver, quick opening valve and temporary pipe to control the exiting water capsule for faster cleaning and elimination of the need to dispose of cleaning solutions
  5. Cleanliness is approved by the cleanliness of the water/air exiting the pipe and visual inspection of the piping in visual accessible areas.
  6. Following testing and cleaning, we provide detailed inspections, thorough documentation, project summaries and engineering recommendations.


Husky Lima OH – New Hydro Plant- The RIG team performed chemical cleaning on the reformer, air blowing of the process lines and continuous steam blows of the header and users.

DTE Solvay

DTE Cogeneration to Solvay Marietta, Ohio RIG performed chemical cleaning of the boilers, Gas line airblowing and steamblows


Valero Cogen Wilmington CA – RIG performed citric acid chemical cleaning of the HRSG, Gas Line air blow  to the Duct Burners and CT. Oilflushing of the CT and Kobelco Compressor. Steam blows to the header.

What is air blowing?

Air blowing is an industrial plant service that uses compressed, oil-free air to clear pipes and other equipment of debris and contaminates.  The surge flush method will remove construction debris, semi adherent material, and safely transport the removed items out of the system.This method allows for quick cleaning of piping systems without need for disposal of cleaning solutions.

Should I Hydrolaze before air blowing?

Hydrolazing, sometimes also called Aqualazing, is a newer turnaround service that can drastically enhance the results of steam and air blowing. This high pressure water jetting method is effective at removing mill scale, construction debris, and process deposits.

Benefits of hydrolazing include:

  • Reduces the cleaning times and costs of steam and air blowing services by up to 75%
  • Requires 80% less de-mineralized water
  • Cuts natural gas requirements in half
  • Zero environmental impact because no chemicals are required

Should I use air blowing or high velocity oil flushing (HVOF) to clean my pipes?

Air blowing is a somewhat more versatile and cost-effective way to remove loose debris and hydro testing fluid. Air blowing removes construction debris and other contaminants from process and piping systems.

HVOF is better suited for more robust applications. Fundamentally, High-Velocity Oil Flushing (HVOF) is an efficient way to eliminate debris and varnish from pipelines as well as newly constructed systems.

When should I use air blowing vs. steam blowing?

Air blowing works in great combination with chemical cleaning, such as in power plant systems. The chemical cleaning solution will dissolve mill scale, and then the non-soluble particles that have been dislodged during cleaning can be removed via air blowing. Air blowing  puts less direct stress on your system than steam blowing does, so if a chemical clean will be sufficient to remove mill scale, it’s easier on your system to combine it with air blowing.

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