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Kodeman
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161 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been using my portable air compressor (Emglo-Airmate) for many years, framing houses. At the end of each day I emptied the air tanks, because years ago I was told that if you didn't, condensation would cause them to eventually rust, then lead. Now that I'm retired, I would like to leave them full of air, to use at a minutes notice, instead of lugging it out and setting it up for refill. I guess my question is, am I risking the integrity of the tanks??

Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

Kodeman
 

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Member
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833 Posts
does it have a good air filter to filter out the condensation before it gets into the tank it self?..and if i remember right.they come with a drain plug to drain out the condensation from the tank it self.i do think the condensation will cause it to rust from the inside, if left in the tank..
 

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Time Traveler
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3,917 Posts
The question is not whether you have moisture inside your air tank but how much. I'd bleed the water off and then close the valve. If you want to bleed a little more water the next morning just to get rid of any that has run down the sides in the night, that would be a bonus. Your tank will eventually rust through no matter what. If they made these tanks out of stainless they would last a lifetime, but they want to sell you more than one.

I had an emglo for years, great product.
 

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I love the smell of Argon in the morning
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2,850 Posts
I have had air compressor all my life and all my shop air compressors are 100% charge 100% of the time. I have never had a compressor tank rust out and that's for compressors that have been in use for decades.

What I do is to completely drain the air off of the tanks every few months and then drain all the water out. It's not uncommon to get a few gallons out of a 60 gallon tank.

My big main compressor is a 3 cylinder 60 gallon compressor that also charges another 30 gallon tank in my shed that's about 120 feet away. The compressed air goes through a pipe underground but before it goes under ground I have 2 condensation removers mounter in the line. It works pretty well to keep moisture from getting in the smaller tank in the shed.
 

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Newbie (in training)
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806 Posts
i drain my compressors for on jobsite every night.
The one i have in my pole barn hasn't been drained in over 10 years, and hasn't rusted out yet. I just turn it on, get my use out of it, and turn it off.

I don't have any kind of filters in any of mine.

My jobsite Emglo sprays rusty water out every night when I drain it.

I like the suggestions of draining the water off once in a while.
 

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WELL SEASONED
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782 Posts
You could put a normally closed brass Asco solenoid valve in place of the manual valve you have now, when the compressor starts the valve will open and release the water and a timer will closed the valve after a preset time. Or you could install the Asco valve and have a timer turn the solenoid valve on and off regardless of weather the motor is running or not.

One thing you should do is replace that little petcock or gate valve with a ball valve, they tend to not plug up with rust as easily.
 

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I love the smell of Argon in the morning
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2,850 Posts
I've had my 60 gallon compressor for about 15 years. I drain it out once a year as winter is approaching. I don't want water in the bottom of the tank when the temps start falling and staying below freezing. I've never had "a few gallons" drain out but then I don't use it that hard either.
I use mine everyday. I use a oil drain pan under it when I'm draining the water and on some occasion I fill one up and partially fill up another. The pan is about 14" in diameter and 5" deep. I keep this compressor in a room that's heated so freezing isn't an issue.
 

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I sold my soul to the internet
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2,121 Posts
We had a 60 gallon tank in the wood shop I worked in, I drained it every day I worked & left is empty, no air or water.
However the shop burned to the ground 3 years later & so I can not say that the tank would last forever.
 

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Banned
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1,962 Posts
Air Compressor

Moisture / water left in tank will rust out the tank (been there - done that):eek:. Wall thickness will determine the rate of deterioration. Small compressor systems equal thin wall tanks, large system (commercial) will have thicker walls. Amount of use will establish rate of water build up. Monthly draining of occasional use should be adequate. Heavy use requires weekly drain, very heavy use - drain daily. Filters installed between compressor and tank can trap the moisture but is not practical on small systems in MHO.
 

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Kodeman
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161 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks to all that commented. My compressor is small so there is no air filter. I think I will continue to drain the air after using it, then leave the petcocks open.
 

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Time Traveler
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3,917 Posts
Another option is to get another pressure tank. When you run the compressor fill the second tank and use that for flat tires or whatever you wish. If you run the air through an air dryer first then water buildup will be minimized.
 

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RockyMountainCanadian
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4,288 Posts
I agree with Caribou's statement. Here it is easy to get a hold of no longer used automotive propane tanks, they make great reservoirs after you vent the oderizer out of them. a full air tank is handy.
 

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I sold my soul to the internet
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2,121 Posts
Thanks to all that commented. My compressor is small so there is no air filter. I think I will continue to drain the air after using it, then leave the petcocks open.
An air filter would help any air system & is worth it's weight in gold,IMHO.
 

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Banned
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3,375 Posts
Water in the tanks.....

Installing a manual drain is the most affordable option - but not the most efficient because it requires someone to empty the tank by manually opening the drain. You can upgrade to a timer-based drainage system that utilizes a valve and electronics that automatically dump the water at regularly scheduled intervals. Timer-based drains are not typically readjusted based on seasonal conditions but are usually set for the worst case scenario, i.e. the wettest time of the year. If the timer drains are not adjusted during dryer seasons, they can waste compressed air because they remain open even after the water has been removed. They require an external power source and some adjustments based on seasonal weather changes. So the best bet is to have a manual valve and in a few seconds you can dry the tanks and avoid rust, I actually spray my tanks with wd-40 ,haven't had any problems yet.
 

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Psalm 91
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68 Posts
The water is caused by the air being heated during the compression part of the cycle and then being dropped to ambient temp in the tank. Water is literally squeezed out. Some air pumps have a coiled or finned cooler going from cylinder to cylinder, this is a inter cooler or simply cooler, they do work, the cooler those lines are the better, use your own ideas here, a extra fan, more fins etc.. Drain the water every time you use it, make it easy so it gets done more often than not. A quarter turn ball valve is best, crack it and it's done. I leave all of our shop comps pumped up all the time. The type of work we do requires our air to be dry (cnc plasma and bead blasting) so we use a refrigerated dryer to pull the moisture out. The dryer has an auto dump valve that will dump a gallon or so when it does open. That is usually during hard use and maybe once a week.

So, to recap (off track again lol) it is not a huge problem to leave your tank pressurized, just remember to crack the drain after use and maybe before use. Water is "made" during use, so it follows after use is the best time drain.

Hope that helps!

WSS
 
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