Using Airless Sprayer Pump Preserver

Proper storage of your airless paint sprayer is critical to its overall life and can keep maintenance costs down. There are various methods for storing paint sprayers; different routines for various types of paint sprayers, numerous techniques for different time lengths of storage, a variety of methods for different spray materials.

In virtually all cases, the product to be used as a pump preserver is used ONLY in the pump; do not run the material through the hose and gun!

There are several pump preserver / protectant products available, we primarily use; Graco Pump Armor , Titan Liquid Shield, mineral spirits and mineral spirits with engine oil. Some paint sprayer storage products also protect against freezing and most of those are non-flammable.

These instructions are geared towards Graco Contractor Series Airless Paint Sprayers such as; STX, 390, Ultra, Ultra Max, Ultra Max II. If you have a Graco Magnum Series airless paint sprayer other than the 190ES, please disregard the portions referring to Throat Seal Liquid.

This guide is not a replacement for your airless paint sprayer manual!

Use standard safety precautions such as wearing eye protection, grounding equipment when using flammable materials and please dispose of waste material properly. See more about airless paint sprayer safety.

If your airless sprayer will be subject to freezing temperatures while being stored, choose a pump-preserver that will not freeze! We recommend; mineral spirits or mineral spirits & oil or Pump Armor (use full-strength to protect down to -30° F)

Thoroughly clean your airless sprayer prior to storage!

Using Pump Armor or other pump preserver - preserving the sprayer...

It really depends on who you talk to when it comes to preserving an airless sprayer. Even some sprayer manufacturers have different steps or methods depending on which manual or manual version you read.

Here's a basic way with two possible endings

  1. Clean / flush the sprayer gun and tip with the solvent of the material you are spaying; latex = water, oil-base = mineral spirits
  2. Turn the sprayer off
  3. Relieve pressure using the gun in "spray" mode.
  4. Remove the bucket of solvent/water from intake tube letting the tube drain/drip for a bit to get excess water/solvent out.
  5. Turn the knob pressure way down.
  6. Put the sprayer in prime mode
  7. Place return tube in waste container
  8. Slowly place intake tube into the Pump Armor container
  9. Turn on the sprayer
  10. "prime it" (run sprayer until the blue Pump Armor liquid is coming out of the return tube)
  11. (here's where things can really vary)
  12. I put a 1 Qt Ziploc bag over the intake and return tube and use either a thick / wide rubber-band or bigger diameter one that I can double or triple loop to hold it / seal it. I have even heard of people putting a bag on each tube.
  13. Relieve pressure? Some say yes some say no. Just don't dump the prime valve to relieve pressure.
  14. Long term storage; Some say leave the hose and gun on and run Pump Armor through them too.
  15. Some say after relieving pressure, remove the hose and gun and drain it. Then take the tip and guard off the gun. After that while holding the gun upside-down with the trigger pulled, pour (or by other means like the straw trick) get Pump Armor into the gun inlet unit some comes out the spray end. Release trigger then place it, the guard and the tip in a sealed bag (Ziploc freezer bag?) with a splash of Pump Armor. If you use this method you should also seal the hose fitting on the sprayer similarly. This method uses much less Pump Armor.
  16. If you want to be really technical about things; stop the sprayer during the down stroke so the rod is all the way into the pump.