How to Use Pneumatic Tubing For Low Voltage Home Automation

How to Use Pneumatic Tubing For Low Voltage Home Automation

Pneumatic tubing, also known as air tubing, provides an easy and affordable way to create a home automation system for low voltage applications. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to utilize pneumatic tubing to automate various functions in your home.

Introduction to Pneumatic Tubing

Pneumatic tubing, sometimes called air hoses or air tubes, are hollow tubes made of plastic or rubber that are used to transport compressed air between components in a system. Some key advantages of using pneumatic tubing for home automation include:

Pneumatic tubing is ideal for basic, low-cost home automation projects using low voltage sensors, switches, and actuators. It may not be suitable for complex integrations requiring high speeds or volumes of data.

Planning Your Pneumatic Home Automation System

Here are some key steps to consider when planning a pneumatic home automation system:

Thorough planning will ensure your pneumatic home automation project is successful and meets your unique needs.

Installing the Pneumatic Tubing System

Here is a step-by-step guide to installing pneumatic tubing for your home automation system:

1. Mount the Air Compressor

Choose a small air compressor or pump capable of at least 40 PSI output pressure. Mount it to the wall or floor in a central, accessible location where tubes will connect.

2. Run Main Air Supply Lines

Determine one or two main pneumatic lines that will distribute air throughout the home. Use larger 3/8" or 1/2" tubing for main lines up to 200 feet. Conceal tubing along baseboards or under carpeting.

3. Install Distribution Blocks

Use push-to-connect style distribution blocks like manifolds to split the main air line into multiple outputs for different control zones. Secure blocks to wall studs or mounting panels.

4. Connect Individual Devices

Run 1/4" branch tubing from distribution blocks to individual devices like valves or cylinders. Use grommets when routing tubing through walls. Label both ends of each tube.

5. Leak Test System

After completing tubing runs, pressurize the system and spray soapy water on all joints and connections. Fix any leaks or loose fittings before proceeding.

6. Regulate Air Pressure

Install a pressure regulator on the compressor output to maintain steady 40 PSI pressure to pneumatic devices. This provides optimal tubing transmission speeds.

Following best practices for installation will result in a reliable pneumatic automation system. Take your time routing and connecting tubing to avoid problems down the road.

Components for Pneumatic Home Automation

Here are some of the main component choices for building your pneumatic home automation system:

Choose pneumatic components from reputable manufacturers like Parker, SMC, Festo, etc. Avoid no-name brands that may have quality issues or leak prone fittings.

Example Applications and Circuits

Pneumatic tubing can automate many types of low-voltage devices in the home:

Pneumatic Door Locks

Automated Window Blinds/Shutters

Central Vacuum Control

These are just a few examples of many ways to incorporate pneumatic tubing for home automation control. The flexibility of pneumatic systems allows integrating them into many low voltage devices.

Tips for Reliable Pneumatic Control

Here are some best practices to ensure ongoing performance of your pneumatic home automation system:

By following pneumatic control best practices and using reliable parts, your home automation system will provide many years of trouble-free operation. Carefully planning your system and installing tubing runs properly from the start is key to success.


Pneumatic tubing offers a simple, affordable method to automate low voltage devices throughout your home. Careful planning of control circuits along with proper installation of durable tubing can create a reliable automation system. Combining air pressure control with electronic switches and valves enables many options to enhance convenience, comfort, and security. With quality components and disciplined maintenance habits, pneumatic home automation will function smoothly for the long haul. The air tubes can essentially act like wires behind the walls, making automated living easy and budget-friendly.