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Thread: Oops, I have rust in my air compressor tank!

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    E TN, near Knoxville
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    11,851

    Danger, Will Robinson!

    Wise move to power done the compressor when leaving the shop. A friend lost his shop and all tools to fire when a failure caused his big compressor to run continuously while he was out. He had left the compressor on for decades with no problem. Some years later a different failure caused the (new) compressor to run continuously but he had only gone to the house for a short iime.

    The same thing happened to my 5hp compressor when the pressure switch contacts stuck and the motor didnít turn off after it cycled. I had left the shop to feed the llamas and when I walked back I could barely hear it running from outside since the compressor is in a sound insulated closet. The switch contacts were welded together and the compressor had been running for, at most, an hour. Very hot.

    Another time I was in the shop when I heard the compressor cycle when I wasnít using it. In the closet I heard a hiss from a leak in a connection.

    I have a motor disconnect toggle switch outside the closet in the main shop. i put a bright flag on it so I can see at a glance if the switch is on when I leave the ship. My plan is to to wire in a bright indicator light outside the shop door to show the state.

    BTW, on the thread topic: There is a circumstance where the tank can accumulate more water than it would otherwise. The air in and leaving the tank is heated by the compression and hot air can hold more moisture than cool air.. As the air cools water can condense in the line. If the hose or piping from the compressor is long enough and positioned just ďrightĒ this water can run back down the line and drain into the tank. Some advise a long initial line running straight up then sloping down so condensed water will run away from the tank. Iíve read suggestions of at least 25í of copper line with a water trap at the low end with a valve for draining. This length before the normal in-line water separator and desiccant dryer will help keep moisture out of the air, helpful for plasma cutting, spraying paint/finishes, etc. This, of course, may not be practical for a portable compressor.

    JKJ

    Quote Originally Posted by David Walser View Post
    The reason I try to remember to shut off my compressor when leaving the shop is because of a bad experience I had several years ago. While I was out of town on vacation, a connected air hose split. I returned home to find that my air compressor had been running non-stop for about five days. I turned it off and, once cooled off, it would not run again.

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Modesto, CA, USA
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    7,607
    John I have seen recommendations to slope the lines the other way so it all drains back to the compressor to one central drain. At any rate they all agree to slope the lines so they drain in some direction. I set my lines so they all slope to one drip leg near the tank. I blow off the valve at the bottom of the drip leg a few times a year, never seen any moisture come out.
    My auto drain is vented to the outside. It vents every 15 minutes. I can easily hear if I left the compressor on when it blows. It is wired so it only sees power when the pump runs. That way it blows down on every startup and only blows after 15 minutes of run time or more. This way if I forget to power down the compressor it will not auto vent
    Bill D
    Last edited by Bill Dufour; 07-01-2022 at 3:07 PM.

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    The Hartland of Michigan
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    Turning it off is fine, but you don't have to vent all the air out of it. That's just more work for the compressor.

  4. #19
    Join Date
    May 2021
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    Spartanburg South Carolina
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    I have a pancake that I hate. It leaks, noisy and too cheap to fix so I don't even bother to drain. Looking to upgrade to a nice quiet one that can handle a spray gun too.

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    Tampa Bay, FL
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom M King View Post
    The water out of my little California Air aluminum tank runs clear.
    Mine too. I did install an automatic drain valve, though, which is well worth doing.
    - ďItís not that Iím so smart, itís just that I stay with problems longer.Ē Ė Albert Einstein
    - Welcome to Florida. Where the old folks visit their parents

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    FINGER LAKES AREA , CENTRAL NEW YORK STATE
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Clausen View Post
    I have a pancake that I hate. It leaks, noisy and too cheap to fix so I don't even bother to drain. Looking to upgrade to a nice quiet one that can handle a spray gun too.
    FYI you are taking a chance at serious damage or injury
    again just an FYI but what you will see in the link below are the inside of compressor tanks that do not look all that corroded...just saying.
    https://sites.google.com/site/metrop...mpressor-tanks
    mike calabrese
    Last edited by mike calabrese; 07-02-2022 at 11:13 AM.

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    In the foothills of the Sandia Mountains
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike calabrese View Post
    FYI you are taking a chance at serious damage or injury
    again just an FYI but what you will see in the link below are the inside of compressor tanks that do not look all that corroded...just saying.
    https://sites.google.com/site/metrop...mpressor-tanks
    mike calabrese
    ....Yikes!
    Please help support the Creek.


    Where we have strong emotions, we're liable to fool ourselves.
    - Carl Sagan


  8. #23
    Join Date
    Nov 2021
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    Columbia MO and Howard County MO
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    884
    All 3 of my horizontal tank failures were just tiny leaks that spooked me enough to discontinue use right away.
    Best Regards, Maurice

  9. #24
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    E TN, near Knoxville
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Clausen View Post
    I have a pancake that I hate. It leaks, noisy and too cheap to fix so I don't even bother to drain. Looking to upgrade to a nice quiet one that can handle a spray gun too.
    I once saw a video that captured the exact moment when a tank ruptured. I donít remember if there were injuries. If interested you might find such videos on youtube.

    I used to work in a facility where we tested pressure vessels. Hydro tests made with pressurized water are safe - a rupture instantly lowers the pressure of the non-compressible water and there is very little energy involved. A pressure test with air is so dangerous we did it in an underground bunker so if the tank ruptured no one would be injured or die. Compressed air can hold an amazing amount of energy. A rupture releases it all at once like a bomb. With shrapnel.

  10. #25
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Griswold Connecticut
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    6,720
    I donít know why folks empty the tank. In a properly maintained, and set up system, you really donít want to be draining the tank.
    If every time a person goes to use a compressor, they have to charge the tank, the tank is now in a saturated moisture condition, and until the air in the tank condenses the moisture, that saturated, moisture laden air is going to go throughout their system. The longer it stays in a vapor state, the less effective any moisture type filter will be.
    Once the moisture is out of the tank itís fine to leave it pressurized.
    Add the auto drain and at the same time add a larger diameter pipe to the elbow tap on the tank bottom. The pipe will act as a sacrificial reservoir of sorts for the moisture that does condense in the tank and accumulate at the bottom.

  11. #26
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Wenatchee. Wa
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    I remember reading several years ago that a way to prevent corrosion and rust in a tank was to spray something into the tank (preferably when new) that would coat the tank and prevent c&r. I do not remember where I read that nor what the spray was. Anybody recall seeing this information?

  12. #27
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Mesa, Arizona
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    1,751
    Quote Originally Posted by Bernie Kopfer View Post
    I remember reading several years ago that a way to prevent corrosion and rust in a tank was to spray something into the tank (preferably when new) that would coat the tank and prevent c&r. I do not remember where I read that nor what the spray was. Anybody recall seeing this information?
    I thought I had seen something similar, which is why I asked the question in the first post in this thread.
    David Walser
    Mesa, Arizona

  13. #28
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
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    7,018
    I used this after repairing a leak in a tractor diesel tank, and it was the first time I ever saw clear fuel in the clear bodied fuel filter. I thought it might be good for an air tank, but never heard of it, or had the time to try it.

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B3I2NWG...2-587d01f975e8

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