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Should we have our air compressors checked?

Started by kodydog, August 29, 2018, 04:01:31 am

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August 29, 2018, 04:01:31 am Last Edit: August 29, 2018, 04:03:29 am by kodydog
Moving my compressor around today got me thinking. Should these things be checked for the possibility of explosion.

I know with propane tanks, you have 12 years from the manufacture date before the tank must be re-certified with a new date stamped on it.

My air compressor is about 25 years old. It runs like a champ and I drain it about 3 times a year. But I wonder what would happen if it went bad. Would it explode?

Our shop in Mt Pleasant SC was next door to a very old and dilapidated house with 5' tall tanks abandoned in the back yard. Propane I guess. One day when I was working in my back deck I heard a loud pop and swissssh. No explosion but more like a rupture or leak.

Last year I learned a childhood friend was killed in a dive shop accident when a tank exploded. That thought sticks with me.

So now I wonder should these things be checked occasionally. How often and by who? And what do they look for.

There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.


Good point Kody.
I'd think in a humid climate like yours, it's better safe than sorry.
Finding a tech though, I don't know.


Most likely, a rupture would occur first. The rupture would relieve pressure, and probably prevent a serious explosion.
But as you say, explosions have happened, and will happen again.

My compressor is on a timer. On at 8:00 AM. Off at 5PM. Mon-Sat. If I come in on Sunday, I have to manually turn it on. My fittings don't hiss. But they aren't completely air tight, because the compressor always bleeds down during the night.

It's probably a good idea to replace the pressure relief valve and the shut-off valve if the compressor is over 10 years old.

My compressor is located in my back store room. I'm separated from it by 75 feet and 2 walls. So I'm not too concerned about the risk of injury.

I drain mine twice a year. We used to have one that had completely rotted through on the bottom. No explosion occurred. Just a mild hiss that developed in to big one.
"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban


Mine is also over 25 years old.  A few years ago I was concerned for that same issue and I called the retailer who sent over a tech to pressure test it and ck the mechanicals  - cost me
$ 100.00 but was worth it for peace of mind.  I also believe as long as you listen for changes in the sound, ck the pressure relief value every so often - clean the air filter - ck the water for rust - change the oil,  you will be OK .  Before the guy left he filled out an affidavit certifying the compressor as fit and on the doc it says in accordance with the law ?

Darren Henry

Like Dennis said a compressor will rust out an develop a leak that gets worse and worse. I try to drain my compressor weekly to prevent that,

That scuba tank exploding is a freak. They have to be visually inspected annually and hydro tested every 4. The old 72 cu, ft. steel tanks run 2250 PSI, 80 cu/ft aluminum 3000 PSI and the big 106's 3300. If you drop one and break the valve off you will get a rocket not an explosion.
Life is a short one way trip, don't blow it!Live hard,die young and leave no ill regrets!


All the units ive had have a preasure relief vale that blows if the pump dosent shut off


If you stay on top of draining out the moisture and keep up on oiling (in a 2 stage compressor of course) most of them will last a really long time before needing to replace them.  This is for at home use or low use; in an industrial setting where the compressor is running at 80%+ of max all the time then it should be checked by a professional regularly.