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  #1  
Old 06-21-2005, 01:54 AM
Robert W. Roe's Avatar
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How do you guys drain your air compressors?

I just wanted to ask the technical folks here how do you guys drain your air compressors?
I have a Sears 6 hp 30 gal 175 psi big red one, and there are stickers all over it to drain after each use to get rid of the water that will condense in there. The manual is vague on my questions...
Do you open the drain at the bottom and let everything drain out after each use? Or just let the water out, and then close the petcock, leaving the tank with some air in it?
The last time I ran it the dew point was near 70F and quite a bit of water spewed out when I went to drain it at the end of my work session. Lately I shut off the power and open the drain when I'm done with it, then when I'm ready to use it again I let it run a bit to let any residual water out before I close the petcock.
Sorry if this is in the wrong forum but I didn't want to ask this in the tech help forum.
Thanks, Bob

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  #2  
Old 06-21-2005, 02:31 AM
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I could be wrong on this, but I don't drain mine every day unless it's cycled on and off quite a few times. Mine is a lot smaller -- an Emglo 4 gallon, and somedays, I use it lightly. I don't think it hurts it to leave full of pressure for several days running, though again, maybe I'm wrong.

When I used to work big jobs (construction) we would have bigger compressors, and sometimes they wouldn't get drained for a few days, and when you did, oh boy, lots of stinky water.

I guess the problems with too much water in the tank are mainly: it'll rust the inside of the tank; and it will get more water into your tool.
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  #3  
Old 06-21-2005, 03:10 AM
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Open the petcock and let it run till only air is coming out.

My compressor is at my California house and I have only drained it a couple times...a luxury of low humidity. If I had it at my Michigan house I would have to drain it daily.
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Old 06-21-2005, 06:29 AM
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Place where I used to work had a small air compressor witha 10 gallon tank. I noticed that it only ran for a few seconds before shutting off and asked someone when it was last drained. I got a totally blank look. I opened the drain and watched as almost 10 gallons of water ran across the floor and out the door.
I open mine until only air comes out.
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  #5  
Old 06-21-2005, 11:34 AM
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I drain it after using it each time...
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  #6  
Old 06-21-2005, 11:42 AM
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I have to admit that I'm negligent on the draining. Probably do it once per year.
I don't use it all that often, however. Maybe once per month. I've owned it for over 10 years, so, I'm not all that concerned about it.
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  #7  
Old 06-21-2005, 11:47 AM
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Couldn't you crack open the drain a tiny bit and leave it?

I live in a desert too and rarely do I get water out of mine.

I wonder if any compressor tanks exploded cause the bottom rusted out
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  #8  
Old 06-21-2005, 12:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Anderson
Couldn't you crack open the drain a tiny bit and leave it?

I live in a desert too and rarely do I get water out of mine.

I wonder if any compressor tanks exploded cause the bottom rusted out
Tank will not 'explode', but a hole of the tank will blow out if rusted through.
Usually the tank blows a small pin hole in the rusted area just about 2 inches from the bottom.

Mines quite old and 1/4 inch thick.

There are large bungs in the tanks to allow the insuance guy to look inside.

I drain mine everytime I think of it.
........tried leaving the petcock cracked open but it soon sealed it's self up.

Was going to look for a 'self drain' like the wet tank on a semi truck...never got 'roundtuit. ...anyone know if it's available/possible ?



.
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  #9  
Old 06-21-2005, 01:02 PM
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http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=46960

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Old 06-21-2005, 04:31 PM
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Absolutely!

And I'm like Brian Carlton...infrequent usage, even more infrequent draining.

A hands-off system would be the way to go for people like us!

And my 60-gal unit is bolted to the floor. Crawling on the floor to get to the petcock is the MAIN reason I don't drain often...
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  #11  
Old 06-22-2005, 03:50 AM
Robert W. Roe's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G-Benz
Absolutely!

And I'm like Brian Carlton...infrequent usage, even more infrequent draining.

A hands-off system would be the way to go for people like us!

And my 60-gal unit is bolted to the floor. Crawling on the floor to get to the petcock is the MAIN reason I don't drain often...
I used to have an old pillow in a plastic bag in my garage just for kneeling on to get to the petcock.
My wife threw it away
I like the automatic drain thing from Harbor Freight, although I'm not sure exactly how it works, and I did skim the online manual ....
My petcock will slow down and speed up even when it's open, like a tiny piece of debris (rust?) is moving on and off of the petcock on the inside.
Weird.
So it looks like, so far anyway, that some of you people drain the tank all the way down to 0 psi, and some / most only drain the water and then shut it off.
As to the cmac2012 point of water getting into the air tools, I did get that once when using an air drill with a grinding wheel sharpening a couple of shovels. Actual water blowing out of the tool in various places.
This convinced me that air drills are not necessarily better than my good ol Black and Decker 1/4" plug-in drill that I've had since the late 1960's.
I did buy one of those litle filters at Wal-Mart that is supposed to trap water but the most I've seen it catch is a few tiny droplets.
On very muggy days I still see what looks like water vapor coming out as I use my blow gun... I figure this is condensation external to the output ?
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Last edited by Robert W. Roe; 06-22-2005 at 03:56 AM.
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  #12  
Old 06-22-2005, 09:37 AM
boneheaddoctor's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert W. Roe
I used to have an old pillow in a plastic bag in my garage just for kneeling on to get to the petcock.
My wife threw it away
I like the automatic drain thing from Harbor Freight, although I'm not sure exactly how it works, and I did skim the online manual ....
My petcock will slow down and speed up even when it's open, like a tiny piece of debris (rust?) is moving on and off of the petcock on the inside.
Weird.
So it looks like, so far anyway, that some of you people drain the tank all the way down to 0 psi, and some / most only drain the water and then shut it off.
As to the cmac2012 point of water getting into the air tools, I did get that once when using an air drill with a grinding wheel sharpening a couple of shovels. Actual water blowing out of the tool in various places.
This convinced me that air drills are not necessarily better than my good ol Black and Decker 1/4" plug-in drill that I've had since the late 1960's.
I did buy one of those litle filters at Wal-Mart that is supposed to trap water but the most I've seen it catch is a few tiny droplets.
On very muggy days I still see what looks like water vapor coming out as I use my blow gun... I figure this is condensation external to the output ?

You don't have a water seperator if thats happening....idealy you will have a length of pipe after the compressor to the water sperator/regulator at the other end...for those to work the air needs to cool a bit (its fairly hot right out of the compressor and reluctant to give up moisture) the longer this pipe is the better it works as it allows the air to cool before the water seperator.

If you paint you alreagy know this is impairitive to do.
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1987 GMC 3/4 ton 4X4 Diesel
1989 Honda Civic (Heavily modified)
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  #13  
Old 06-22-2005, 11:39 AM
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I've got a great little Fini Biscout, I drain it pretty much after every use, esp. in summer. I let all the air out and let the compressor run a bit until all the water has been blown out. When it's really humid, I'll let it fill back up to about 50# and then I'll drain it again. There's usually some residual water left over.

When I used my roofing nailer on hot summer days, I would also notice condensation blowing out of the gun when nailing. I'd make sure to add a little extra oil to the gun on days like that.

Reminds me...I should change the compressor oil soon.
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  #14  
Old 06-22-2005, 11:35 PM
Robert W. Roe's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boneheaddoctor
You don't have a water seperator if thats happening....idealy you will have a length of pipe after the compressor to the water sperator/regulator at the other end...for those to work the air needs to cool a bit (its fairly hot right out of the compressor and reluctant to give up moisture) the longer this pipe is the better it works as it allows the air to cool before the water seperator.

If you paint you alreagy know this is impairitive to do.
What I have so far is the little filter connected straight to the compressor, a little whip hose connected to a 60' 3/8" hose, with a quick disconnect (great invention) on the far end.
Not sure if the little filter would do its stuff if I put it at the end of a 60' hose; I think the instructions say to keep it vertical.
I've seen the diagrams of what looks like copper plumbing on the wall, with various drains, filters, lubricators, and a certain slope ... problem is, my garage is way too small and full of stuff to make it easy to construct something so elaborate.
I'm pretty new to the whole air compressor realm; that's why I started this thread in the first place.
So far I've used it to inflate tires and basketballs around the house, blow off my mower prior to storage, as well as using the three air tools that came with it (air ratchet, air hammer, and impact wrench) for rotating tires, cutting welds on my muffler, and some light grinding with an air drill.
Painting is one thing that I have not tried yet, but it is nice to have air at one's disposal.
I live in the country; the nearest gas station is almost two miles away, and the nearest one that has free air is a good six miles away, so it's nice to have air to inflate my tires when they are cooool.
I do like that automatic drainer thing from Harbor Freight; it boils down to automation vs kneeling on the garage floor
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1973 Olds 88, 1972 MB 280SE, 1978 Datsun 280Z, 1971 Ford T-Bird, 1972 Olds 88, 1983 Nissan Sentra, 1985 Sentra, 1973 230.6, 1990 Acura Integra, 1991 Volvo 940GLE wagon, 1983 300SD, 1984 300SD, 1995 Subaru Legacy L wagon, 2002 Mountaineer, 1991 300TE wagon, 2008 Murano, 2007 R320CDI 4Matic 52K, some Hyundai, 2008 BMW 535xi wagon, all gone... currently
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  #15  
Old 06-23-2005, 10:42 PM
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I looked into this when I was at Harbor Freight but determined it was not compatable with my type of air compressor. The auto drain kit is not recommended for air compressors which have a hard piped connection to the air pressure switch.

The Harbor Freight auto drain kit opens a drain valve everytime the compressor shuts off due to reaching adaquate pressure. I believe it opens it only for a short amount of time to allow any water in the tank drain out. The kit also requires splicing into the tube going to the compressors air pressure switch therefore it is not recommended for air compressors which have a hard piped connection to the air pressure switch.

I usually manually drain my 60 gal Sears air compressor every time I use it. I just open the drain valve until no water run out (usually for about 10 seconds).

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