A Guide to Pneumatic Control Systems

You may have heard of pneumatics before, but may not really know what it means. At its most basic, pneumatics involves using pressurized air or gas. A pneumatic control system helps to control an HVAC system by using compressed air. Here is how a pneumatic control system works.


The compressed air used by a pneumatic control system is pushed through plastic and copper tubes. It starts from a controller, and travels to a controlling device, which is most often a damper or a valve actuator. There are sensors attached to the lines that measure any changes in temperature, humidity, static pressure, and other factors. In effect, the compressed air is the method by which all of this data is communicated. A thermostat will be connected to these lines and will regulate the air accordingly.


Pneumatic actuators are the motors that drive the whole system. They control the valves and dampers. They are extremely durable and reliable, and are very cost-effective. There is no need for regular maintenance on these actuator types, either. In just about every factor, whether it be durability or affordability, these actuators are superior to electric actuators.

Modular Control Components

The components that make up the system provide excellent performance and versatility. These components, such as receivers, thermostats, and pneumatic relays, can be custom configured to fit your building’s needs. No matter what, they will relay the necessary data accurately regardless of how the system is configured.


Despite it being an uncomplicated system, there are some limitations to pneumatic controls. Because of its simplicity, building managers often overlook or forget the need for quality preventative maintenance. It is not a process that can be handled by just anyone. The air supply should be checked regularly to make sure that it is clean and dry. Also, a regular maintenance program is required to inspect all components of the system. Every two years or so, components should be adjusted to make sure there is no shifting of the setpoint.

Maintenance and adjusting are best handled by professional contractors who know the ins and outs of pneumatic controls. They will make sure that your system is running smoothly and efficiently at all times.

If you want your system to run more efficiently, the experts at Corporate Mechanical can help. Reach out online or call 763-533-3070.

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