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Forum topic by AxkMan posted 05-08-2018 06:57 PM 516 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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AxkMan

65 posts in 547 days


05-08-2018 06:57 PM

I’ve heard several things over the years about storing an air compressor. Water can get into the air compressor that will cause rust eventually. The valve is used to open and close off the tank.

Some say that leaving the valve open when storing will cause dust and insects. Insects? Never heard of that one. The dust part makes some sense, but I always thought a good air compressor has the necessary filters to keep anything but air going in and water coming out.

Closing it makes sense, but there is still a small possibility of condensation build up.

So has anyone experienced problems with closing or leaving open the valve when storing?


10 replies so far

View RobHannon's profile

RobHannon

276 posts in 951 days


#1 posted 05-08-2018 07:04 PM

I have left my big oiled one open and never had an issue. My portable one I drain and then close. I do have rust buildup in this, but oil-less compressors are disposable tools in my opinion. Something breaks on them way before they rust out.

My hoses are all left open and disconnected all the time. Never had an issue with dust or bugs in them that has affected any of my tools.

View CRAIGCLICK's profile

CRAIGCLICK

117 posts in 494 days


#2 posted 05-08-2018 07:15 PM

How big is your compressor and how long do you plan on storing it?

-- Somewhere between raising hell and amazing grace.

View Mike_in_STL's profile

Mike_in_STL

859 posts in 954 days


#3 posted 05-08-2018 07:28 PM

Moisture in the tank is inevitable unless you have some kind of drying system on the intake side. Compressed air has moisture in it, even at low temps. The compression of the air extracts the vapor and liquefies it where it settles in your tank.

I drain my tank periodically because my tank is small. I just crank the petcock on the bottom open and run the system to blow it out.

Do that, then leave it open if you’re going to store it. Any critter that crawls in is in for a bad day because it’s likely it’s not going to get out.

-- Sawdust makes me whole --Mike in STL

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

6570 posts in 3615 days


#4 posted 05-08-2018 07:32 PM

I have never left the drain plug open on mine….After so many hours of use, I drain the tank of any condensation buildup…....Mine is a 36 gallon belt drive, Inger-Sol Rand, and it’s about 18 years old….Never had a problem other than tightening the belt…..Drain the tank regularly, and you’ll be ok…!!

-- " At my age, happy hour is a 2 hour nap".....!!

View Loren's profile

Loren

10477 posts in 4068 days


#5 posted 05-08-2018 07:35 PM

I leave the valve open when not using then and
have not had problems with two compressors
I’ve been doing this with for years.

Maybe in Africa or the Amazon ants might build
a colony inside, but it seems far fetched if
you live in a place that doesn’t have crazy
insects. The valve opening is not very big.

View MrUnix's profile

MrUnix

7405 posts in 2619 days


#6 posted 05-08-2018 07:51 PM

Interesting question – although I doubt it makes much difference one way or the other IMO. Condensation is formed inside the tank due to temperature differences, where it’s heated as it’s being compressed (and can therefore hold more moisture), then cools once it’s inside the tank. That don’t happen if you don’t run it :)

I’ve never left the drain open… but then again, mine is plugged in and pumped up 24/7. I try to remember to drain the tank now and then – but usually that schedule is measured in months or years, not days or hours :)

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View CRAIGCLICK's profile

CRAIGCLICK

117 posts in 494 days


#7 posted 05-08-2018 08:16 PM

Compressor accumulators are one of those things that make me absolutely paranoid.

In my factory, I have a 150HP Quincy twin screw compressor for high-demand situations (such as pressurizing my autoclave) as well as a 10HP Quincy reciprocating compressor for makeup air. I have twin 550 gallon accumulators on them and the thought of rust eating away at them scares the absolute heck out of me (I’ve seen the aftermath of a compressor tank failure…it ain’t pretty).

Once a year, I pull the plugs on them and use a fiber optic camera to check out the inside because I don’t feel like I can trust the drain timers to do their jobs.

If it was me, I would open the drain and run the compressor for a little while to make sure you’ve run all the water out and just shut the compressor off and close it again.

Since there won’t be any pressurization cycles, you won’t be getting any moisture in there.

If there is a plug on the tank, however, I would still check it out in there before I started using it again…but like I said…I’m paranoid.

-- Somewhere between raising hell and amazing grace.

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

1273 posts in 915 days


#8 posted 05-09-2018 12:19 AM

The moisture that accumulates inside a compressor tank Occurs when ambient air, which always carries some water vapor (we call it humidity) is compressed. Some of the water vapor will condense out when the air is compressed and settles in the bottom of the tank. The small valve at the bottom should be opened periodically to drain the accumulated condensate, or you can add an automatic condensate drain if you have a large enough compressor and it runs a lot. The amount of moisture that would condense out of ambient air due to temperature changes would be insignificant compared to the moisture accumulated from running the machine normally. If the tanks is drained, the valve closed and the compressor stored, the only moisture present would be from the air left in the tank, so essentially nothing.

I installed a 6,000 CFM compressor years ago. When that machine ran on a humid day the condensate drain almost seemed stuck open, it was practically a constant flow of water draining out. But there was still more moisture left in the air, which is why industrial compressed air dryers are installed after the compressor. Many common units work much like an air conditioner to cool the hot compressed air, which further reduces its ability to hold water vapor so more condenses out.

That’s a long way of saying i’d store the compressor valve closed, but be sure to drain it before you store it.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View AxkMan's profile

AxkMan

65 posts in 547 days


#9 posted 05-10-2018 09:44 PM



How big is your compressor and how long do you plan on storing it?

- CRAIGCLICK

6 gallon air compressor. I’m not always certain of length because I don’t always know when I need it.

View AxkMan's profile

AxkMan

65 posts in 547 days


#10 posted 05-10-2018 09:50 PM



The moisture that accumulates inside a compressor tank Occurs when ambient air, which always carries some water vapor (we call it humidity) is compressed. Some of the water vapor will condense out when the air is compressed and settles in the bottom of the tank. The small valve at the bottom should be opened periodically to drain the accumulated condensate, or you can add an automatic condensate drain if you have a large enough compressor and it runs a lot. The amount of moisture that would condense out of ambient air due to temperature changes would be insignificant compared to the moisture accumulated from running the machine normally. If the tanks is drained, the valve closed and the compressor stored, the only moisture present would be from the air left in the tank, so essentially nothing.

I installed a 6,000 CFM compressor years ago. When that machine ran on a humid day the condensate drain almost seemed stuck open, it was practically a constant flow of water draining out. But there was still more moisture left in the air, which is why industrial compressed air dryers are installed after the compressor. Many common units work much like an air conditioner to cool the hot compressed air, which further reduces its ability to hold water vapor so more condenses out.

That’s a long way of saying i’d store the compressor valve closed, but be sure to drain it before you store it.

- TungOil

That sounds like a good idea. It is just maybe laziness, but I agree with the paranoia. One goes boom, it’ll be like a bomb. No worries, but its a responsibility unlike other tools in the shop.

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