So, I have questions about air compressors...

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Forum topic by Zinderin posted 01-09-2013 09:40 AM 3373 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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94 posts in 2366 days

01-09-2013 09:40 AM

Topic tags/keywords: air compressor bleeding water maintenance question

I have only ever used small air compressors, but now I have a new Huffy 26 gallon, oil-less, air compressor.

In the instructions (yeah, I actually read them) ... it tells me I need to empty the air on this compressor every day, including turning this petcock that is down at the bottom, in the back, of the compressor to let out all the water in the tank.

Now, I don’t really mind popping the release valve and letting what appears to be 80% or so of the air out of the tank, but do I really have to wrestle that thing out of where I store it and open that petcock every night when I’m done?

Is that what you guys do? I mean, to read the instructions, gallons of water are going to build up in your tank, corroding it till it explodes and takes out half your neighborhood. And in all honesty, about a half a teaspoon of water does come out if I lean it back (I live 5 block from the Pacific Ocean, so the air is humid).

I guess what I am asking is … can I like just leave the bleeding and draining to a once a week task, safely?

17 replies so far

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3343 days

#1 posted 01-09-2013 10:11 AM

When you read instructions, it is a good idea to understand that they are general and for a wide range of users. Some people only use a compressor occasionally and habits develop based on their use. I use my compressor very occasionally, so I have a tendency to drain the tank after use unless I am involved in a multi-day project that I know will require it, then I leave it filled until I am done. If you use it monthly, it would be doubtful that you would drain it weekly. However, if you use it regularly, a weekly cycle should be fine.

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View DIYaholic's profile


19738 posts in 2909 days

#2 posted 01-09-2013 12:54 PM

The frequency of draining is dependent upon frequency of use. I switch out the petcock in the tank to a more accessible 90 degree fitting, 6” nipple and a ball valve. It makes draining soooooo much easier, that I actually do it.

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

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David Craig

2137 posts in 3343 days

#3 posted 01-09-2013 01:22 PM

What Rick isn’t telling us is that, in fact, his toolbox happens to be the Empire State Building… :)

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Ross's profile


142 posts in 2207 days

#4 posted 01-09-2013 01:23 PM

I drain my compressor every night. It helps to keep moisture out of all my air tools.

-- "Man Plans and God Laughs"

View b2rtch's profile


4868 posts in 3282 days

#5 posted 01-09-2013 01:34 PM

“The frequency of draining is dependent upon frequency of use.” and where you live.
I live in Utah where the air is extremely dry ( we in fact to use humidifier here) .
I never had on drop out of my air compressor.
In humid climates I used to drain once a week and in the winter everyday to avoid freezing.

-- Bert

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 2422 days

#6 posted 01-09-2013 07:44 PM

I use my compressor infrequently and drain the tank every time. A bit of hassle but sitting water is a bad idea.

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View pintodeluxe's profile


5815 posts in 3047 days

#7 posted 01-09-2013 07:48 PM

Yes, you must drain the tank completely every day. If not, the tank will rust from the moisture that condenses in compressed air. Also if you spray finishes as I do, the water will contaminate a finish. A water trap helps, but drain the tank too.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View DKV's profile


3940 posts in 2738 days

#8 posted 01-09-2013 09:05 PM

I have two compressors. My first one a small Porter Cable I did not religiously drain after every use. I ended up with rusty water. You’re going to have water no matter what you do…you just don’t want it to stay and rust the inside of the tank. My second a large Craftsman I religiously empty and I still get water but not rusty water. Occasionally I will run the compressor for a short time with the petcock open to force water out.

-- This is a Troll Free zone.

View DrDirt's profile


4526 posts in 3976 days

#9 posted 01-09-2013 09:12 PM

Ditto Randy and others – Add a nipple and a ball valve so you don’t have to crawl around for that funky wingnut drain.

I also have a piece of paper towel rubber banded around the exhaust tip, so that it doesn’t spray crappy water/mist/rust on the wall.

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View CampD's profile


1741 posts in 3720 days

#10 posted 01-09-2013 09:14 PM

I seen more than a few compressors rot out on the bottom (not mine, I drain them)
and even ones that have blown open from rusting from the inside.
If you live in humid climes, drain it.
Also its not really a good idea to use the”safety release valve” to drain off air.

-- Doug...

View kizerpea's profile


775 posts in 2602 days

#11 posted 01-10-2013 01:16 PM

I open mine up an blow out the moisture then shut it off…every other day…but i do leave it pressureized…i have a water seperator an filter in the main line..


View BentheViking's profile


1782 posts in 2798 days

#12 posted 01-10-2013 01:47 PM

i usually leave the air escape valve open and then leave the shop for the night. Just make sure to close it back up when you start the compressor up again. Usually when its going on you can’t hear it draining so I’ve waited awhile with no results like a dummy.

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View HorizontalMike's profile


7770 posts in 3148 days

#13 posted 01-10-2013 01:55 PM

I DO NOT drain my 33gal oil-less compressor every day. I DO try to open the petcock and drain the H2O. One trick I also use is to leave the petcock ever-so-slightly open to drain the H2O as it builds up. I am NOT saying OPEN to where you can hear the hissing… I am saying that when you close the petcock, you can put your finger tip over the opening and with practice you can tell if pressure builds up as you hold your finger over it. And I am talking SLIGHT. When not in use, my compressor will recharge about every TWO days due to this very slight opening.

What this does is:
  • Automatically drains the H2O and keeps it from building up at all. I have a towel under the compressor to catch any H2O though so little drops that the towel dries faster than I can check on it. I admit that I live in a drier area of the States.
  • Keeps +90% of the compressed air (which has already dropped its H2O due to compression) IN the tank so that I minimize NEW H2O being introduced all of the time.

I suspect that the “drain every day” instruction is a liability escape clause though you do need to keep H2O from building up.
Just a thought…

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View dhazelton's profile


2804 posts in 2531 days

#14 posted 01-10-2013 02:41 PM

I usually check it each time I use my pancake compressor and if no moisture comes out on my finger I close it back up, leaving the tank pressurized. Lately I notice when I pick up the unit I hear something small rattling around inside. Is it rust? I don’t know, I don’t feel that I’ve ever had that much moisture in the tank but it could be (if not rust, what is it?!). I’d say better safe than sorry.

View Zinderin's profile


94 posts in 2366 days

#15 posted 01-10-2013 02:51 PM

Ok, well I guess I’ll be draining it every day then. I was hoping this was one of those, ” do it every day even though you really only need to do it once a month ” type instructions.

But you’ve scared me now … I live 5 city blocks from the pacific ocean, making the air here, humid here 365.

AND, I wasn’t thinking about the effects on the finish, which is why I bought it … nor the cross-contamination to my air tools which I’m beginning to collect a number of, and are grow quite fond of.

Thank you very much for your replies.

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