Can I keep my air compressor outside? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 18 Old 01-21-2013, 07:43 PM Thread Starter
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Can I keep my air compressor outside?

I have a 5 gallon Husky oil-less air compressor and I am thinking about building an enclosed box outside of my garage and just piping the air in.
It will be out of the rain and snow but still exposed to the cold and heat.
So, is this a wise thing to do?
What things should I consider when doing this?
I know the obvious ones but I'm just wondering what you guys think.
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post #2 of 18 Old 01-21-2013, 08:07 PM
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It can be done. My Grandda had his very old (1940's model) compressor attached to brackets on the outside wall of his shop in up state NY with nothing built around it to protect it from the elements. The place where I used to work had the compressor that ran all of the assembly robots inside a shed in back of the building and the plumbing was through an underground hose. A lot of business mount their compressors outside with just a roof over them and a cage to prevent theft. Keep in mind that anywhere the hose drops below the compressor and then rises up to the tool will act like the trap under your sink. Any water that gets in there will stay until it fills the hose and is finally pushed out through the tool. Not a big deal for a wrench, but its death to a finish if you like to spray finish projects.

The biggest problem (especially when it freezes) will be making sure the tank is completely drained. Compressors tend to get lots of water in the tank that needs to be drained. Frozen water doesn't drain very well, and it can cause the fittings to burst.

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Last edited by johnnie52; 01-21-2013 at 08:10 PM.
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post #3 of 18 Old 01-21-2013, 08:45 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks.
I figured it would be okay.
Just wanted a second opinion.

The casement I make for it has to look nice and be functional because it will be ajacent to an outdoor living space.
So i was thinking of making it a bench as well.
Any design ideas?
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post #4 of 18 Old 01-21-2013, 08:55 PM
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I would think about the water that builds in the compressor might be troublesome when it freezes. I don't really see any problems with the heat, but the freezing might be troublesome.

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post #5 of 18 Old 01-21-2013, 10:37 PM
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Mine is in a shed just outsied my garage and I just drilled a hole in for it. It's been 7 years and I've never had a problem and I'm at 6400 ft in Colorado. I do release the water once in a while though.

It sure is nicer in there without the noise of it running though! Heck, even if it reduced the lifespan by 50%, I'd probably still do it just for the peace and quiet in the shop.
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post #6 of 18 Old 01-21-2013, 10:43 PM
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I used to have my compressor bolted on the front of my work trailer. It had no shelter, copped every thing that got past the mudflaps rain hail or shine. Was not looked after, was not serviced, it finally gave up the ghost after 17 yrs of service, I guess it did ok, was only completely exposed to the elements for the last 10 yrs though.

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post #7 of 18 Old 01-21-2013, 11:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveTTC View Post
I used to have my compressor bolted on the front of my work trailer. It had no shelter, copped every thing that got past the mudflaps rain hail or shine. Was not looked after, was not serviced, it finally gave up the ghost after 17 yrs of service, I guess it did ok, was only completely exposed to the elements for the last 10 yrs though.

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Unserviced and completely exposed to the elements for 10 of its 17 years? That had to have shortened its life, just had to have. You know it would have lasted the full 20 if it had been pampered and sheltered.

I wouldn't have thought anything like that would have lasted any length of time outside that way, let alone THAT long. I keep mine in the shop under a counter. I might enclose it since it is fairly loud. I normally leave the room or wear muffs when it's running. It doesn't run very often. I fill up 10 gallons of air and then shoot brad nails with it. Probably drain 9 gallons of air out when done.

Last edited by Duane Bledsoe; 01-21-2013 at 11:31 PM.
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post #8 of 18 Old 01-21-2013, 11:27 PM
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If your compressor is mounted out side it will collect water in the line when it hits the warm shop.

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post #9 of 18 Old 01-21-2013, 11:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duane Bledsoe

Unserviced and completely exposed to the elements for 10 of its 17 years? That had to have shortened its life, just had to have. You know it would have lasted the full 20 if it had been pampered and sheltered.

I wouldn't have thought anything like that would have lasted any length of time outside that way, let alone THAT long. I keep mine in the shop under a counter. I might enclose it since it is fairly loud. I normally leave the room or wear muffs when it's running.
I probably should have changed the oil in that time, I did top it up after it rolled and drained once, in 2001 / 2002 it was in another trailer I was towing that rolled at about 70 miles an hour. The canopy was ripped off the trailer, I watched the whole thing go end over end in my side mirror after the draw bar snapped. Broke a few fins on the motor and had to get a switch rewired. Left the trailer on the side of the road grabbed the compressor and a few other tools and finished the next 2000 km of my trip (1250 miles I think)

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Last edited by DaveTTC; 01-21-2013 at 11:37 PM.
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post #10 of 18 Old 01-21-2013, 11:55 PM
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I have had my compressor outside for more than 20 years with a awning over it to keep rain off of it. From the compressor the piping to the shop runs up 4' with a drain cock at the bottom and then it turns down and goes down and then underground 40' to the shop. I have very little problem with condensation in the line. I drain the line every day or two when I drain the water out of the compressor tank and the amount of water in the line never amounts to more than a teaspoon.

Another option would be to use the compressor inside and pipe the incoming air to the outside and put the air filter outside.
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post #11 of 18 Old 01-22-2013, 02:22 AM
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You can always put an inline water trap in the shop to filter out any water
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post #12 of 18 Old 01-22-2013, 12:07 PM
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Mine is inside. My dad has a craftsman and a very vvvveeerrryyy old one and they both still work and they are outside. I think the old one must have been built before the concept of a brand was invented cause I can't find a label any where and it's belt driven.
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post #13 of 18 Old 01-22-2013, 06:57 PM
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This doesn't apply to the OP as he has an oil-less compressor, but might help some of you: I have a 5HP compressor in my attached, unheated garage. When it got real cold out and the temperature in the garage dropped into the 20's or below, the compressor would kick on and blow the breaker. I assumed it was because the oil was getting too thick. One day I was wandering around Tractor Supply and noticed they had synthetic compressor oil. I replaced my conventional oil with it and haven't blown the breaker since!

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post #14 of 18 Old 01-23-2013, 05:40 AM
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Try NOT to COMPLETELY ENCLOSE IT!! :( If it runs a lot, that motor and compressor head are still air cooled, and need a bit of "fresh air" to keep them cool...a completely closed off enclosure will not help with keepin' them cool...keep that in mind..:)
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post #15 of 18 Old 01-23-2013, 05:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blaineo
Try NOT to COMPLETELY ENCLOSE IT!! :( If it runs a lot, that motor and compressor head are still air cooled, and need a bit of "fresh air" to keep them cool...a completely closed off enclosure will not help with keepin' them cool...keep that in mind..:)
+ 1 on that, it still needs air.

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post #16 of 18 Old 01-23-2013, 05:43 AM
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Good point about a little "fresh air"

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post #17 of 18 Old 01-23-2013, 09:21 PM
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Dave, Your story about the trailer reminded me of the service trucks here in the states that go out to the rigs to change tires. Those all have compressors mounted in the bed of the trucks and nothing at all covering them. Not sure how often they get maintained but I'm betting its not more than once a month if that often.

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post #18 of 18 Old 01-23-2013, 09:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnie52
Dave, Your story about the trailer reminded me of the service trucks here in the states that go out to the rigs to change tires. Those all have compressors mounted in the bed of the trucks and nothing at all covering them. Not sure how often they get maintained but I'm betting its not more than once a month if that often.
All mine for was an occasional water drain and maybe 2 oil top ups.

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