Jump to content

Nominations for Tractor of the Month
Garden Tractors and Parts on eBay



Photo
- - - - -

Air Compressor Safety


  • Please log in to reply
20 replies to this topic

#1 motobreeder OFFLINE  

motobreeder

    Member

  • Senior Member
  • Contributor
  • Member No: 3989
  • 425 Thanks
  • 611 posts
  • Location: Eastern Ontario

Posted December 10, 2013 - 07:58 PM

I want to start a discussion and elicit some net wisdom on air compressor safety.

 

Listening to the news this morning, there was an article about a fellow that succumbed to injuries that occurred when his air compressor exploded.  The reason I'm writing this post, I want to understand what do we need to know to help keep ourselves and loved ones safe.

 

The last statement in the article suggests the compressor was old and rusty.

Could this have been a typical home-use compressor (about 100 PSI)?  Do I have a compressor that I should be worried about?

 

I'm sure it doesn't happen often, but are there things to watch out for?  Do they tend to show signs before they fail?

 

 

 

http://www.cbc.ca/ne...osion-1.2457103


  • A.C.T. and CharlesDes have said thanks

#2 A.C.T. OFFLINE  

A.C.T.

    Another Classic Tractor

  • Senior Member
  • -GTt Supporter-
  • Member No: 11085
  • 2,363 Thanks
  • 2,496 posts
  • Location: Dalbo Minnesota

Posted December 10, 2013 - 08:16 PM

A rusty compressor is like a time bomb.    imagesCADCXKEV.jpg Be very careful.


  • Cvans said thank you

#3 superaben OFFLINE  

superaben
  • Senior Member
  • Contributor
  • Member No: 11204
  • 7,664 Thanks
  • 5,677 posts
  • Location: Shenandoah Valley, VA

Posted December 10, 2013 - 08:26 PM

Any air compressor can blow up.  Part of it is the same risk you take starting an engine.  I knew of a guy who nearly lost the use of his legs when an engine threw a rod and threw the side of the block into his foot if I remember right. 

 

You have to have a healthy respect for the air compressor as a tool.  You have to take care of it as a tool.

 

The big one is to drain the water (condensation) out of your compressor's tank regularly.  That's an absolute must for me.  I do it about every two weeks if I am using it regularly, or immediately before I fire it up if I let it sit awhile. 

 

Make sure your safety release is working.  Your manual should explain how to do that.

 

Make sure your gauge is right.  Some compressors have a fitting you can test it with. 

 

Ben W.


  • motobreeder, Cvans, HDWildBill and 1 other said thanks

#4 glgrumpy ONLINE  

glgrumpy

    Getting Out!

  • Senior Member
  • -GTt Supporter-
  • Member No: 8360
  • 6,663 Thanks
  • 6,480 posts
  • Location: Huntington, IN 46750 North East in State

Posted December 10, 2013 - 09:42 PM

Safety valves on most for over pressure. I've had small ones go bad, the bottoms rust away near drain valve. Usually just leak when metal gets thin from rust.  Wouldn't think it could blow all at once, cept in the weak area and just leak down fast and make lots of noise then?  Not sure. I drain mine every time I leave the shop when done for day. And lines here and there in shop too, like moisture traps and filters. 


  • motobreeder and HDWildBill have said thanks

#5 Littledeere ONLINE  

Littledeere

    Tractorholic

  • Senior Member
  • -GTt Supporter-
  • Contributor
  • Member No: 2778
  • 1,545 Thanks
  • 1,443 posts
  • Location: Ruckersville VA

Posted December 10, 2013 - 09:48 PM

Any air compressor can blow up.  Part of it is the same risk you take starting an engine.  I knew of a guy who nearly lost the use of his legs when an engine threw a rod and threw the side of the block into his foot if I remember right. 

 

You have to have a healthy respect for the air compressor as a tool.  You have to take care of it as a tool.

 

The big one is to drain the water (condensation) out of your compressor's tank regularly.  That's an absolute must for me.  I do it about every two weeks if I am using it regularly, or immediately before I fire it up if I let it sit awhile. 

 

Make sure your safety release is working.  Your manual should explain how to do that.

 

Make sure your gauge is right.  Some compressors have a fitting you can test it with. 

 

Ben W.

Only thing I would add to what Ben has said is Don't go over it's rated psi  Mine is setup for 175 psi but it is made to do it. so don.t set your 125 psi rated tank suteoff up to 175


  • motobreeder, Cvans, HDWildBill and 1 other said thanks

#6 Littledeere ONLINE  

Littledeere

    Tractorholic

  • Senior Member
  • -GTt Supporter-
  • Contributor
  • Member No: 2778
  • 1,545 Thanks
  • 1,443 posts
  • Location: Ruckersville VA

Posted December 10, 2013 - 09:54 PM

Safety valves on most for over pressure. I've had small ones go bad, the bottoms rust away near drain valve. Usually just leak when metal gets thin from rust.  Wouldn't think it could blow all at once, cept in the weak area and just leak down fast and make lots of noise then?  Not sure. I drain mine every time I leave the shop when done for day. And lines here and there in shop too, like moisture traps and filters. 

I know of 2 here local that blew up one in a friend of mines fathers shop at home pretty much tore the building down it was in.and another that was on a service truck it made a place on the body of the truck looked liked you hit it with a backhoe.I cant tell you if the pop off valves were working on the one in the shop never found it the one on the truck was working win it was found but with a boom like that it may have freed it up



#7 Sawdust OFFLINE  

Sawdust
  • Senior Member
  • Member No: 36549
  • 4,523 Thanks
  • 2,831 posts
  • Location: Butler, Kentucky

Posted December 10, 2013 - 10:30 PM

Being a contractor & a DIY at most everything I need done my tools are a big part of my life. My concern is the quality of what we buy. The brand name means nothing anymore. It's nothing any more loosing a carbide tip from a typical saw blade wondering where it went. I lost a 1/2" shank router bit one time because it just snapped & hit the base just right or I would have lost my face. Who knows the quality of an air tank, the weld, the fittings etc. All we can do is buy the best we can afford & use extreme safety at all times.
  • Alc, motobreeder, Cvans and 1 other said thanks

#8 Cvans OFFLINE  

Cvans

    Tractorholic

  • Senior Member
  • -GTt Supporter-
  • Member No: 5412
  • 4,522 Thanks
  • 5,033 posts
  • Location: Eastern SD.

Posted December 10, 2013 - 11:32 PM

If the tank starts to leak don't be tempted to repair it. The odds are very good that other parts of the tank are in poor condition also. Unfortunately the larger compressors tend to be a forgotten item until they quit working properly. I'm guilty of this also. When you need air you just expect it to be there. If the pressure control should fail you have the potential for a bomb should the relief valve not open. If you think about how many years that the relief valve has been setting there shut who knows how much crud is stuck under the seat. Good idea to manually operate them once in awhile. 

Good topic and thanks for bringing it up as I'm over due to check mine. 


Edited by Cvans, December 10, 2013 - 11:34 PM.

  • Alc, motobreeder, Cat385B and 2 others have said thanks

#9 Kurtee OFFLINE  

Kurtee

    New Member

  • Senior Member
  • Member No: 7561
  • 463 Thanks
  • 415 posts

Posted December 11, 2013 - 08:34 AM

OK my two cents

 

One reason air tanks on air compressors blow is because the control sticks and it fails to shut down and just keeps on pumping. A MN manufacturer had faulty pressure switches on compressors in the 70s and 80s. (These were marketed under several names.) This being said it is best to shut the air compressor off when not around.

 

In Minnesota commercial air tanks are required to be inspected the same as a steam vessel.

 

Never and I mean never weld on any air tanks. First off as stated previously if it is bad in one spot there are most likely more bad spots. The big reason not to weld on one is that you have no idea what is inside. Oil? Solvents? Most would not weld on a gas tank. This is no different.


  • motobreeder, Cvans, HDWildBill and 2 others have said thanks

#10 HDWildBill ONLINE  

HDWildBill

    Freedom is not Free. Thank those in uniform for your freedom.

  • Senior Member
  • -GTt Supporter-
  • Contributor
  • Member No: 6354
  • 8,712 Thanks
  • 8,564 posts
  • Location: Ga

Posted December 11, 2013 - 11:03 AM

Excellent Idea to start a thread on air compressor safety.  Thanks!

 

There are some excellent suggestions above and this reminds me I need to do some maintenance on mine.  One thing I did was wire my electrical circuit for the compressor to a switch next to the light switch so when I leave both switches gets turned off.  I did it so I would save on electricity but  after reading this thread I think it would also be a safety feature.  I also have both switch right by the door which is on the other side of the shop from where the compressor is.  I think this would be better if something did go wrong I could hit the switch on the way out and put distance between me and the compressor.


  • MH81, motobreeder, Cvans and 1 other said thanks

#11 Cvans OFFLINE  

Cvans

    Tractorholic

  • Senior Member
  • -GTt Supporter-
  • Member No: 5412
  • 4,522 Thanks
  • 5,033 posts
  • Location: Eastern SD.

Posted December 11, 2013 - 06:40 PM

Another thing I would like to suggest is Never use plastic for air lines unless it is specifically rated for that purpose. Plastic (pvc) creates a lot of shrapnel when it fails much like a hand grenade. Came to work one morning and the night grew had installed many feet of PVC with the intentions of using it for an air line. :(  I had to inform them that it was to be removed and replaced with steel. 


Edited by Cvans, December 11, 2013 - 06:42 PM.

  • Alc, motobreeder and Kurtee have said thanks

#12 glgrumpy ONLINE  

glgrumpy

    Getting Out!

  • Senior Member
  • -GTt Supporter-
  • Member No: 8360
  • 6,663 Thanks
  • 6,480 posts
  • Location: Huntington, IN 46750 North East in State

Posted December 11, 2013 - 07:25 PM

Wondering about those new plastic air lines places are selling now?  I see a new one now that has a tin layer of aluminum in the tubing and will actually hold a shape you bend it to. The first ones looked just like Pex plumbing pipe to me and had same kind of ends to put on, just push tube in. Was skeptical. That tubing was softer than the alum mentioned above. Sure looks a lot handier to install. The metal outlet manifolds and metal elbows and connectors are expensive, like the Pex stuff, but sure looks easier. Anyone have or use this stuff and have comments?  Wonder about cold and holding up. My shop is not heated till I'm out there and would maybe be an issue? 


  • Cvans said thank you

#13 Kurtee OFFLINE  

Kurtee

    New Member

  • Senior Member
  • Member No: 7561
  • 463 Thanks
  • 415 posts

Posted December 11, 2013 - 08:32 PM

Another thing I would like to suggest is Never use plastic for air lines unless it is specifically rated for that purpose. Plastic (pvc) creates a lot of shrapnel when it fails much like a hand grenade. Came to work one morning and the night grew had installed many feet of PVC with the intentions of using it for an air line. :(  I had to inform them that it was to be removed and replaced with steel. 

Been there, know exactly how looks when it fails.


  • Cvans said thank you

#14 UncleWillie ONLINE  

UncleWillie

    wabbit wangler

  • Senior Member
  • -GTt Supporter-
  • Contributor
  • Member No: 10399
  • 12,769 Thanks
  • 7,704 posts
  • Location: Gaston county, NC

Posted December 11, 2013 - 08:46 PM

I can't remember what forum it was on, but I recall someone who got a compressor used for an unbelievable price and it lasted a very short time before it exploded. Fortunately no one was in the garage at the time but it shredded his freezer and manged everything else that was in there. There were two descent sized pieces and everything else was shrapnel.

 

Mine is drained everyday. It is so humid here in the summer time that every day it blows a good cloud of water out. It is across the yard inside a building that we are rarely in so if it does explode all we will loose is some stuff that we should probably get rid of anyway. When I get power to my workshop it will go outside in its own enclosure with a steel plate between it and my work area. The chances of it exploding are slim, but I would rather loose a tractor out back than my leg or worse.


  • Cvans, HDWildBill and dodge trucker have said thanks

#15 Cvans OFFLINE  

Cvans

    Tractorholic

  • Senior Member
  • -GTt Supporter-
  • Member No: 5412
  • 4,522 Thanks
  • 5,033 posts
  • Location: Eastern SD.

Posted December 11, 2013 - 09:49 PM

 

Been there, know exactly how looks when it fails.

 

Glad you weren't injured. 


  • dodge trucker said thank you




Top