Air compressor life span

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  #1  
Old 05-05-04, 07:37 AM
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Air compressor life span

I have a old air compressor that my father used and its about 10-15 years old. I belive its from Sears and its gas powered.My question is....do they have a life span on the container? Its welded but I dont know if its safe still or should I have it looked at and by who? thanks!
 
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Old 05-05-04, 10:42 AM
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ddayton217:

There is no defined lifespan for an air compressor pressure tank.
They are pressure tested when manufactured, recieve a certification tag or stamp, (which all must have), and then do not require retesting for the life of the tank.

As an owner of a compressor you only need to ensure the cylinder is in good physical condition, that there are no major dents or surface rust that has begun pitting the surface.
As far as the inside of the tank goes you can get an indication of it's condition by what comes out when the tank is drained of water.
Although the tank does contain moisture as a normal condition, the air coming from the compressor pump also contains oil vapor which will condense on the inside surface of the tank, offering some measure of protection from rusting.
The only time you will have any problems is if the tank is never drained, has a thick layer of crud on the bottom and sits for an extended period of time.

You can check it yourself by first draining the tank to see what comes out.
What sometimes helps is to run the compressor to build up the pressure, shut it off and then slowly open the drain a small amount and let the drain run.
Another way of checking is to have the tank exhausted of air and lightly tap on the side of the tank with a small hammer and then tap on the bottom to see if you can detect a difference in sound to tell if there is dirt built up on the bottom.

What I have described I would believe you would be able to determine the serviceability of your compressor.
If you have any doubts about this or are unsure just ask, or if you do not feel confident then by all means take your unit to an authorized depot for the brand of unit you have.

Any questions just fire away.
 
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Old 05-05-04, 02:09 PM
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I drained my compressor aftor 10 times of use when I should of done it earlier. I got alot of water and oil out of it. At least I think it was oil. The liquid was all brown color. I should of drained aftor 5 times of use, but I did not. I think my tank is still perfectly fine though. If that brown stuff was oil than my tank is well protected from rust right?
 
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Old 05-05-04, 02:25 PM
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10 to 15 years isn't old. My compressor is 40+ years old and runs like new. Just follow the advice here, and it should last a long time.
 
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Old 05-05-04, 05:20 PM
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I just wanted to make sure the tank wasnt going to explode or something!..thanks I'll try draining it and maybe testing it somewhere...thanks!!
 
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Old 05-05-04, 05:41 PM
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ddayton217:

You could check the oil in the compressor and engine and if ok operate the unit and let it run long enough to get warm, likely 20 minutes or so.
You could check that as the pressure builds and approaches 100 psi the unloader shoud engage and throttle down the engine to maintain 100 psi or so.
Some units use a blowoff valve that allows the engine to run at a steady speed by just allowing a large volume of air to escape.
This is a maintenance item on a gas compressor and should be checked to prevent the compressor from running at too high a pressure.

After you check it out you would do well to change the oil in the compressor and engine.
You can use 30 weight non-detergent motor oil. Oil that is labelled "compressor oil" is just non-detergent oil in a more expensive bottle.


Chris:

Yes, that brown stuff would be a mixture of oil and water and is perfectly normal.

How often you drain it would have as much to do with how long you use it, as much as how often.
If you just run it to do a quick job then the air would not likely get hot enough for much water to condense.
If you find that you run it and the head gets very hot, which it's suppose to, you will begin to condense a lot of water inside the tank.
If you run it continuously at full output for a long time, say many hours, the tank will begin to get warm and less water will tend to condense inside the tank. This is where you begin to have all sorts of grief with water condensing inside the hose or the tool you are using.
A common time for this to happen is in doing body work and running a sander for hours on end. ( Been there done that )
 
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Old 05-05-04, 06:08 PM
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Oh ya,
I forgot to say that to warm up the compressor, after the thing comes up to pressure you can open the drain valve and let the air come out to keep it running at full output.
 
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Old 05-05-04, 06:23 PM
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Thanks GregH. I use the compressor aftor every service I do. What I mean is I use it to clean off my equipment aftor each use. I also have a tire chuck but only use that once a year. I have been thinking of buying a grinder for it, do you think a grinder can work on a home use compressor? It has two different CFM reading on the label. One shows 8,48 and the other shows 3,88

Thanks GregH...
 
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Old 05-05-04, 08:33 PM
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I have a little die grinder and a cut off grinder and niether of them have very much power, even with a larger compressor.
They are really only good for very light grinding, like maybe touching up a lawn mower blade.
Any more than that and you would be better off with electric.

The cfm rating you list could be 8 [email protected] 48 psi and 3 cfm @ 88 psi.
This would be a bit too low to operate most air tools.
Here is a link for common tool CFM ratings
 
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Old 05-05-04, 08:49 PM
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GregH,

My compressor has a maximum output of 125 PSI. It runs my blow gun, tire chuck, nail gun, sandblaster, paint sprayer, just fine. But I also have a torque wrench, but I don't think my compressor has enough volume because it does not run right on it. I have a 6.6 gallon compacity. Thanks for the link, very educational.
 
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