Air Compressor -- When to Retire

lothian

New User
lothian
I own a 17yo Craftsman air compressor (model: 919167240). It operates perfectly. I use this thing often.

919.167240picture.jpg


Owners of this compressor are supposed to drain accumulated water from the tank after each use to prevent internal rust. Rust potentially weakens the tank walls and that creates the very real risk of explosive decompression.

Admittedly, I drain the tank only intermittently, and only when the schloshing of water within the tank reminds me that this minor maintenance item is overdue. I realize this is a bad policy in light of the previous paragraph. I also have never used an air dryer with the thing. I am a bad owner.

So now I'm pondering the following...
Given the age of this compressor, given the less-than-idea maintenance by yours truly, and given the consequences should those two facts conspire, is it prudent to replace the thing?

I've since bought an air dryer (after 17yrs without). I'm curious if an air compressor specific rust inhibitor commercial product exists explicitly for this issue.

Comments?
 

allisnut

Adam
Corporate Member
The air dryer won't prevent the water in the tank, just prevent that moisture from moving through the hose to your tool. I don't have a good answer for you regarding when to proactively retire the compressor. I share your less than stellar maintenance habits and have wondered about something to put in the tank to prevent the rust, but I've never found that product.
 

Jeff

Jeff
Corporate Member
How much is a new compressor like that? If you use a compressor a lot then maybe it's worth getting a new one.
 

DavidK

David
Corporate Member
It is really unlikely that the tank will exposively decompress. What almost always happens is that the tank starts to leak. The leak will probably be at or below the water line so you will find a large rust patch under the compressor and will hear the leak.

I am not proud of it, but I follow the same maintenance schedule.
 

ScottM

Scott
Staff member
Corporate Member
A quick internet search did not reveal any 3HP 15 gallon compressors. 3 HP yes. 15 gallon yes but not one having both. What is the most important features you want. Pancake compressors start at about $100
 

DSWalker

David
Corporate Member
I'd not overlook the fact that you have a 17 year old comp that is still running. It is very likely made with much better materials than anything you would replace it with.

I'm sure there is a way to test the tank wall thickness.
 

riggsp

Phil
Corporate Member
Doubt very seriously an explosive decompression will happen...as DavidK said, most likely will develop a small leak if and when it rusts through.
If you have a real concern about it, tanks can be hydrostatically tested.
 

Pop Golden

Pop
Corporate Member
I have a small Emglo compressor. I drain the tank ounce or twice a year. When I drain it there's no rust. After draining it I clean the air filter, but before replacing it I turn the compressor on and spray WD-40 in the port. I only use the unit for driving nails & blowing stuff off so the WD-40 isn't a problem. I now have a new larger compressor and I do drain it often.

Pop
 

BWhitney

Bruce
Corporate Member
Gee. And I thought I was the ONLY one who only drained one or twice a year.

FWIW if I replace mine, I am going to take a serious look at the California Air Compressors.
 

junquecol

Bruce
User
Drain mine when I think about it. Have one we used on construction projects, which was drained daily. Compressor came to me used over fifteen years ago. Tank was not ASME rated. Last winter, tank delveloped a small leak on bottom. Stripped running gear from leaking tank, and installed on a tank (ASME rated) that came to me with a compressor that was KNOCKING! When teaching shop, got a 30 gallon compressor from warehouse. Had to use a fork lift to load onto trailer. Before moving trailer, opened drain cock, and let out about 30 gallons of water. Much lighter to unload.
 

Mrfixit71

Board of Directors, Treasurer
Rich
Staff member
Corporate Member
I have a Craftsman 2 HP air compressor with a 20 gal. tank that's around 45 years old. Maintenance is about the same as you describe. I replaced the pressure controller about 10 years ago and changed the oil once. There are other things on my wish list so I'll keep this one as long as it keeps running.
 

zdorsch

Zach
Senior User
My compressor tank was built from parts when my father worked at a lawn tool place prior to me. I inherited it several years ago, which puts the compressor at least 40 years old. I’ve replaced the seals for the compressor motor and the power cord. The compressor has always lived in an unconditioned garage.

Draining has been through a slightly opened petcock for as long as I can remember. I did close the petcock a few months ago and had water in the tank—it’s now slightly open again.
 

Oka

Oka
Corporate Member
You can flush the air tank with vinegar to get most of the rust out then rinse. But, after that you just drain the water after every use. Also, if you want to lower the moisture content set up the intake to a 4" hose and suck the air from a conditioned room, the humidity is usually 15-25% lower than ambient air. Or ..... you could get a bunch of desiccant and make a filter that air sucks through, it would take a lot.

Unless you are shooting a lot of lacquer any cheap filter will work to prevent mositure issues mounted at the gun.








'
 

Gotcha6

Dennis
Corporate Member
I took my existing compressor's drain petcock off and replaced it with a street elbow and some tubing to a ball valve so I could drain it easier.
 

tvrgeek

tvrgeek
User
I retired mine when evey hole I welded up just led to another and the valve head was shot anyway. Made it about 25 years. New Craftsman, pop-off valve won't hold air. Every part of it is cheaper. Crap.

Good mod Dennis.
 

Dudelive

Dude
Senior User
On my speedaire I just leave the valve cracked just a little and moisture is always drained. It is not open enough to hear unless you are laying on floor at it. Works for me, yes I have kept a check on it and no water.
 

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