Airless Sprayer
Set-Up

Setting up an airless sprayer for painting entails a few basic steps. The solvent inside the pump, external filter, pressure hose, and spray gun needs to be replaced with paint. Before priming the pump with paint, be sure that the solvent (water, mineral spirits, or lacquer thinner) inside the sprayer is compatible with the paint you are going to use. If the existing solvent is not compatible or you are not sure, it is best to flush the airless sprayer with the proper solvent.

  • water base paint – water
  • oil base paint – mineral spirits
  • lacquers and conversion varnish – lacquer thinner
  • shellac - denatured alcohol

If you are flushing the sprayer with mineral spirits, lacquer thinner, or denatured alcohol, a quart of solvent should be plenty.

The following steps should apply for most airless sprayers:

Flushing with the Proper Solvent

  1. Place the correct solvent into a clean 1 or 2 gallon bucket. Try not to use more than a quart of mineral spirits, lacquer thinner, or denatured alcohol because disposal of these solvents poses difficulty.
  2. Insert the siphon tube (the hose or tube on the sprayer that draws off the paint) into the clean solvent. Make sure the end of the tube is completely submerged in the solvent.
  3. Remove the spray tip from the tip guard (the tip guard is still threaded to the nozzle of the spray gun).
  4. Adjust the pressure knob to a low pressure position. This should be in a counter clockwise direction. (To begin pumping solvent through the sprayer, you may need to slightly increase the unit pressure by turning the pressure knob clockwise.)
  5. Plug the airless sprayer into the proper electrical outlet. Turn the sprayer on/off switch to the on position.
  6. Open the pressure release valve (most airless sprayers are equipped with a pressure release valve located at the external filter) and allow a small amount of the solvent to pass through the drain hose into an empty bucket. At that point, close the pressure release valve. Depress the spray gun trigger so the clean solvent can be siphoned into the pressure hose and spray gun.
  7. Drain the existing fluid into the empty bucket as it is being replaced by the clean solvent.
  8. Once the clean solvent has reached the spray gun, release the trigger and turn the on/off switch to the off position.

The airless paint sprayer is now ready to be primed with paint. The solvent inside the pump and pressure hose needs to be replaced with paint.

Setting Up an Airless Sprayer with Paint

  1. Place the paint into a clean bucket. (It is a good idea to strain the paint with a strainer bag. This will filter any solids that could clog the spray tip.)
  2. Insert the siphon tube (the hose or tube on the sprayer that draws off the paint) into the paint. Make sure the end of the tube is completely submerged in the paint.
  3. Turn the sprayer on/off switch to the on position. Adjust the pressure knob to a low pressure position. This should be in a counter clockwise direction. (To begin pumping paint through the sprayer, you may need to slightly increase the unit pressure by turning the pressure knob clockwise.)
  4. Open the pressure release valve and allow a small amount of the paint to pass through drain hose into the paint bucket. At that point, close the pressure release valve. With the spray tip removed from the tip guard, depress the spray gun trigger so the paint can be siphoned into the pressure hose and spray gun.
  5. Drain the solvent into a clean empty bucket as it is being replaced by the paint. This solvent can be re-used for cleanup.
  6. After the paint has reached the spray gun, circulate the paint into the paint bucket for just a few seconds to be sure that there are not any air pockets in the hose. Release the trigger so that the sprayer will stop pumping. Turn the sprayer off and release the pressure.
  7. Insert the spray tip into the tip guard and be sure the tip guard is securely threaded onto the nozzle of the spray gun. Hand tightening the tip guard should be sufficient. Turn the airless sprayer on and adjust the pressure control knob to a setting that is compatible with the paint you are using.

Before you begin spraying, test the spray fan on a piece of cardboard. Most latex and acrylic paints require a relatively high pressure setting. If the pressure is too low or the paint is too thick the spray fan may have irregular lines or ridges. Adjust accordingly.

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Professional
Painting,
Inc.

Professional Painting, Inc. is a full service painting company serving the San Francisco Bay Area since 1988.