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Thread: Do you leave your compressor pressurized?

  1. #1

    Do you leave your compressor pressurized?

    I have no experience with air compressors. I got a Ridgid twin tank 4.5 gallon compressor in trade a few months ago. I have since fixed her up, replaced a few screws, tightened things up to reduce vibration and bought a basic air kit.

    My questions is, the manual says to de-pressurize and drain water from the compressor for storage. My neighbor, "the tool guy", says to leave the pressure on indefinitely, just turn the motor off.

    What do you do?

    Thanks. /bing
    Last edited by bing!; 04-29-2010 at 09:47 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Sunshine State
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    7,091
    I do not leave mine on all the time, as I have a piping network with enough quick connects that it leaks down and cycles the compressor every hour or so, and it's loud...

    I have a tube and ball valve piped to my compressor drain, and I open it briefly if I have used the compressor for any appreciable time. With the humidity here in FL, it's hard not to get some condensate build-up from time to time, but I have been on this same tank for nearly 20 years without a rust problem.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Spring Valley, MN, USA.
    Posts
    632
    I don't depressurize mine even and I don't use it every day. I do drain it about once a month. I don't leave the switch on because when it kicks on it scares the **** out of me.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    NW Indiana
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    6,021
    I drain mine after using for the day. The petcock stays open until I'm ready to use it again.

    FWIW, my neighbor, whose opinion I have a great respect for, doesn't drain his. But I think leaving the tank with water in it, invites problems.

    Ed
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Foresthill, CA, USA.
    Posts
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    I have a 30 year old Craftsman unit that I leave pressurized all the time. I periodically depressurize and drain it but usually don't get much condensation. Here in the Bay Area it's pretty dry. Went not in use I also switch it off...if it kicks in when you're not expecting it, it can give you a start.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Katy, TX, USA.
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    16,998
    i turn mine off but don't bleed it down.
    when i drain it I drain it with pressure on it until it no longer drips water then close the stopcock leaving the remaining pressure in it.

    When i come back a few days later apparently it leaks enough it'll be at zero pressure more or less.

    I don't leave it powered on
    it'll come on when the pressure falls as it leaks, that'll be noisy and power wasting.
    If something comes loose and springs a leak as piping might do when pressurized, it'll make a mess and your motor will run continuously until you find it. If a hose comes loose it can do a lot of damage whipping around unattended for a long time.

    Doesn't take long to refill the tank from off.
    Last edited by LCHIEN; 04-29-2010 at 11:01 AM.
    Loring in Katy, TX USA
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Independence, MO, USA.
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    4,766
    Both. Drain the portables so I am not driving around with a pressurized tank, and leave the fixed compressors.
    She couldn't tell the difference between the escape pod, and the bathroom. We had to go back for her.........................Twice.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    League City, Texas
    Posts
    7,282
    Your neighbor either has no clue about how pnuematic tools work, or he wants you to ruin your compressor. The idea behind draining the pressure out is that air contains water, when it compresses the water drops out of suspension, and in turn, if left in the tank will rust out that compressor quick...

    Take a look at what the auto repair shops do at the end of each work day. They throw the breaker on the compressor circuit, and then bleed the lines and compressor tank. Each and every day, which usually takes a tech 15 minutes or so of billable time to do... In the evening. Then in the morning they reverse the process and have to wait until the compressor comes up to full pressure before they can get to work and start making money.

    If guys billing $50.00 plus an hour as a regular part of their practice take the time to blow and charge the tanks, there is a REALLY good reason for it...

    Of course YMMV depending on your climate... Here in coastal Texas the air is almost a liquid anyway...
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2004
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    Off The Back
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    charliex's practices most closely match my own. I used to faithfully drain the tank down every day, as Ed62 does. After a while I tired of that little chore, and noticed that very little condensation would drain out even after two or three weeks. I generally assume that the manufacturer knows his own tool design better than anyone else, but the recommendations in a manual have to allow for a lot of variables. For some owners, "storage" might mean two weeks. For others it might mean two years. So I would suggest developing your own schedule, depending on your frequency of use and local conditions.

    One thing to watch out for: on some compressors, such as my Porter-Cable 6gal pancake, the drain petcock is not at the lowest point of the tank. Tilt the compressor as necessary to ensure that any accumulated water actually does drain out.
    Larry

  10. #10
    I don't drain mine daily, as it would be a real nuisance to wait 5 minutes for it to charge back up just to blow a little dust off something.
    Even draining it once a month only produces about 1/4 cup of water.

    To keep the connected lines from bleeding down the air tank when not in use, I removed the quick disconnect right at the output of the regulator, and inserted a ball valve. When I'm done for the day, I close the valve and it maintains the charge in the tank.

    Mine's a portable, but not real portable

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