Shop air system...leaking slightly

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Forum topic by JeffP posted 01-31-2016 12:28 AM 806 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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573 posts in 1588 days

01-31-2016 12:28 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I have been in the throes lately of moving all my noisy stuff outside the shop.

The (20 amp) HF DC was first, and it is working well now with a simple trash-can separator before the unit and nothing but 7 acres of woods to filter the small amount of dust that makes it past the separator.

This past week I’ve been plumbing in a typical 20 gallon vertical air compressor outside, with many inside quick disconnects to supply me with air at the various stations throughout the shop.

I have “way too many” quick disconnects, and currently no way to turn off the air to various parts of the system. I have 3 different places (with a 4th still to come) where it has a 1 to 3 splitter where one quick disconnect has a one to three splitter plugged into it, and then various things connected and branching off from there.

Altogether I have approximately a dozen quick disconnects, with about half of them currently in use (i.e. with a tool or an air-blower hooked into the quick disconnect).

I used teflon tape on ALL of the connections and tightened things up really tight. The system works well, and no complaints…but about once every 2 to 3 hours, the compressor runs even if I haven’t used any air.

What I’m wondering is if there is some sort of care and feeding I should do with the quick disconnects to make them less leaky. I’m pretty sure that’s where the air is getting out.

I’m thinking maybe I should put some vaseline or white lithium grease on the male parts of the quick disconnects (please skip the obvious jokes here).

Are there any other tricks to cinching down such a system to minimize the “unnecessary” compressor runs?

-- Last week I finally got my $*i# together. Unfortunately, it was in my shop, so I will probably never find it again.

10 replies so far

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2686 posts in 3118 days

#1 posted 01-31-2016 12:43 AM

I put my compressor on a timer so it will only run when I expect to be in my shop. Some leaks are meant to never be found. <grin>

-- No PHD just a DD214 Website>

View eflanders's profile


318 posts in 2047 days

#2 posted 01-31-2016 12:48 AM

My guess is that you have a bad female/disconnect somewhere. Sadly I have purchased them new and have learned the hard way not to buy the less expensive ones. The ones I have had the best luck with have more ball bearingso in them to connect to the male fitting. Try to get them with 6 bearings.

If you can’t hear which one is leaking, dip each In a glass of water to find the leaker.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5170 posts in 2689 days

#3 posted 01-31-2016 01:18 PM

I agree it may be a bad disconnect (or more than one), check them first.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Boberto's profile


21 posts in 1164 days

#4 posted 01-31-2016 01:39 PM

My air compressor has a small hole in the drain valve to let moisture escape from the bottom of the tank.

View splintergroup's profile


2418 posts in 1418 days

#5 posted 01-31-2016 01:59 PM

I’m with Flanders, try some water (soapy).

My compressor has a ball valve at the head of the distribution chain, a quick 1/4 turn and everything is set for the night.

If I spent my time fixing air leaks, I’d never get anything else done!

View JoeinGa's profile


7739 posts in 2203 days

#6 posted 01-31-2016 02:06 PM

Get a sprayer bottle, fill 3/4 full with water and add 6 or 8 drops of Dawn or what ever dish washing fluid you have. Spray each fitting and watch for soap bubbles. If it’s leaking, you’ll find it in no time.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View tomsteve's profile


869 posts in 1415 days

#7 posted 01-31-2016 02:16 PM

since you say you have way too many quick disconnects first thing id suggest is eliminating as many as possible.
then instead of teflon tape use a thread sealant like loctite pst or permatex thread sealant(80632).
use some soapy water on the ones with teflon to find leaking ones and fix em.
invest in an air hose reel or 2.

if you want to end up with crap in your air system, use the vaseline on the connections!

for the couplers, use milton or ampro- not just one one side. it doesnt do any good the have a milton coupler on a drop or end of an air hose then a cheap off brand on the tool. match them. if milton fitting on the air hose milton fitying should be on the tool.

it took me a while to surrender and accept the hf, homedepot, lowes, and ace hdwe air fittings just arent that good. switched to all milton and no more air leaks

View JeffP's profile


573 posts in 1588 days

#8 posted 01-31-2016 03:27 PM

Thanks all.

Found the primary culprit. It was a piece of crap $3 blow gun from HF.

By the end of the day today I will know if I have any more hunting to do. :)

-- Last week I finally got my $*i# together. Unfortunately, it was in my shop, so I will probably never find it again.

View TTF's profile


154 posts in 3374 days

#9 posted 01-31-2016 04:37 PM

I have the same issue. I have no audible leaks, but the system is leaking. I have made it a habit to switch the breaker to my compressor off when I leave the shop. I also switch off the table saw and DC – just to keep things safe (I live in neighborhood with young kids).

-- Troy | | The more I see nature, the more I am amazed at the Creator. - Louis Pasteur

View JeffP's profile


573 posts in 1588 days

#10 posted 01-31-2016 08:28 PM

Well, it is much better now…but not perfect.

It’s a little hard to tell today how much it is cycling on its own, since I have been using it some today. Seems like maybe it is cycling about once every 4 or 5 hours without use.

The “spray it with soapy water” thing seems to have it’s limits. I didn’t find it very practical for assessing the “business end” of quick disconnect for instance. Too many places on one of those female connectors where air could be making unseen bubbles. Can use that for checking the threaded connections, sure. Seems my issues are elsewhere though.

Most of the rubber and plastic hoses in this recently installed monstrosity are new, but there is one rather old 50’ hose on a reel that I’m wondering about. There are no obvious leaks, but it does have that “feel” of being past it’s prime. The rubber just feels different than the newer ones. I think I will unplug that one for a bit and see if there is a difference. Wild guess, probably about 15 years old.

As far as turning off the electric or the air at the compressor…makes sense, but it annoys me that it defeats the whole purpose of the “as needed” controller built into the compressor. I want it to “just work right”. Silly human.

-- Last week I finally got my $*i# together. Unfortunately, it was in my shop, so I will probably never find it again.

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