Watch out for your air compressor!

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Blog entry by Jim posted 08-11-2011 05:47 PM 4324 reads 0 times favorited 28 comments Add to Favorites Watch

...Because this can happen to yours too. Regulator didn’t shut off and it overfilled with me standing 10ft away. It flew 10ft through my shop (luckily in the opposite direction) and the blast wrecked everything within 15ft. Just wanted to say something so that it might not happen to someone else. I didn’t even register the fact that it had been running a while after I had stopped spraying paint.

-- -- Jim - Kokomo, Indiana

28 comments so far

View Grandpa's profile


3264 posts in 3759 days

#1 posted 08-11-2011 05:51 PM

Whew!! One of those hidden hazzards. Glad you are alright. You were needing a new compressor anyway. Compressed air can be a dangerous thing and most of us act like it is nothing. I don’t always treat it with the respect it deserves. Glad it blew 10 ft on the opposite direction.

View Manitario's profile


2818 posts in 3967 days

#2 posted 08-11-2011 05:56 PM

wow, glad you’re ok!

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 4007 days

#3 posted 08-11-2011 06:01 PM

Glad you are ok. Looks like rust thru is what got you. How old was the tank?

-- Life is good.

View jeepturner's profile


946 posts in 3876 days

#4 posted 08-11-2011 06:06 PM

Wow, when I first saw the title I was thinking, another compressor tank failed due to corrosion. That is even scarier than a corrosion failure. I couldn’t imagine how loud that would have been. I am glad that you are OK, hope you didn’t get any injuries from flying debris, or ear damage.
I keep my compressor in a corner, of the garage, as far away from the living quarters as possible. I know that it is capable of exploding, but I tend to take it for granite that it will always work for me.
How old was your compressor?

-- Mel,

View Jim's profile


150 posts in 4406 days

#5 posted 08-11-2011 06:11 PM

Not 100% on the age, I’ve had it for almost 3 years, bought it used, but it was fairly new when I acquired it. The explosion was so loud, my sister who lives almost a 1/4 mile away heard it from inside her house, and there’s plenty of houses and trees between us. I’m fine both in body and hearing, just a bit shaken up and pissed off lol. I was actually spraying a bunch of wainscoting and trim I wanted to put up tomorrow (white paint) and now it’s covered in soot and debris… and I can’t even respray it because it was my only compressor.

-- -- Jim - Kokomo, Indiana

View JimF's profile


147 posts in 4377 days

#6 posted 08-11-2011 06:15 PM

Where did the failure start? Top, bottom or side? Was it at a corrosion location? A poor weld? Some other flaw? I know the root cause was overpressure, but I’m wondering where the weak point is in one of these tanks.

-- Insert clever tag line here

View Jim's profile


150 posts in 4406 days

#7 posted 08-11-2011 06:26 PM

It’s all peeled away from the bottom. I don’t think it’s on an actual seam. It was very close to where the wheels were mounted (found them in different areas of the shop completely obliterated). There was a ton of soot and what looks like rust powder where the compressor had originally been setting before it blew up. You can see a bit of it in the background of the first photo.

-- -- Jim - Kokomo, Indiana

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3950 days

#8 posted 08-11-2011 06:29 PM

This is pretty scary stuff and I would say that you are very fortunate that you were not hurt.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View MikeGo's profile


76 posts in 3587 days

#9 posted 08-11-2011 06:30 PM

“WOW” glad your ok.

-- Mike, Marietta,ny

View DaddyZ's profile


2475 posts in 4124 days

#10 posted 08-11-2011 06:33 PM

Time for new shorts !!

-- Pat - Worker of Wood, Collector of Tools, Father of one

View Gary's profile


9419 posts in 4517 days

#11 posted 08-11-2011 06:39 PM

wow and double wow. That’s spooky. Gotta admit, I’ve never given it a thought. Will from now on. Glad you didn’t get hurt. Gonna take lots of JB Weld to fix that thing…lol

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 4354 days

#12 posted 08-11-2011 06:51 PM

I have seen this happen before on a job site. Scared heck out of all of us and hurt a few guys mostly from being startled. It is quite a big bang….especially when you have a couple nailers all going when it goes.

Glad to hear that fate sent the debris away from you….and that you were not hurt….These types of accidents are hard to prevent….but you can alleviate some of the possibility by doing maintenance and checking on your pressure in the tank now and then. I also bleed out the air and water after every use and leave the stopcock for the water open while not in use (to air out the tank and reduce rust damage). I also put a few drops of pnuematic oil in the tank (through the stopcock) prior to turning it on and pressurizing…

I do not know if that would have prevented or alerted you to the problem with the compression regulator…and this certainly makes one more observant of tools normally ignored.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View Jim's profile


150 posts in 4406 days

#13 posted 08-11-2011 06:56 PM

Yea, I make sure not to leave air in it when not in use, not sure how the previous owner took care of it. I try to clean the contacts and all that every couple months and haven’t had a problem with it for a long time, and today I was too concentrated on the paint job that I didn’t realize it was continuously running till BOOM!. Glad I wasn’t hurt and glad it was away from all my heavy machinery. Could have been a REAL expensive accident. ...Now I need to find another compressor and sand off all the soot and debris from the wainscoting and trim. That’s what I get for hoping this was going to be a quick and easy project for once…

-- -- Jim - Kokomo, Indiana

View Maveric777's profile


2694 posts in 4160 days

#14 posted 08-11-2011 07:00 PM

Wow! Talk about scary! Glad to see lady luck shining down on ya…

I can’t help but wonder why the pop off safety valve didn’t trigger… Does it have one? Figured it would seeing the age of it and all….

Thanks for sharing… Going to keep a close eye on mine for now on…

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View Eric_S's profile


1565 posts in 4279 days

#15 posted 08-11-2011 07:52 PM

Holy crap Jim. Glad you guys and your house are ok. i would have thought it had a safety release valve for the pressure.

I literally just got back from HD with my new Porter Cable 6g 150psi pancake compressor and open my inbox to see your compressor failed. This is my first compressor purchase(I have used them before but only limited use). I’ve heard to drain it when not using it and keep the valve open so water can escape and not rust out the tank inside. Other than that I’m not sure what else to do safety wise with it. Time to read the manual lol.

Since you’re in need of a new one ;) HD has a Porter Cable 6gal 150psi for $189 or $199 with a 25ft hose and porter cable 1-2.5” finishing nailer that goes for $149 by itself. I went with the $199 one since I’ll be doing lots of molding soon.

Debbie, perhaps you can do one of your safety week forums on Air Compressors soon lol.

-- - Eric Noblesville, IN

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