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Thread: Compressors and potentially freezing temperatures..

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
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    Default Compressors and potentially freezing temperatures..

    I recently acquired a compressor that I wish to house in an small unheated attachment to my garage. I concerned about any potential safety or operational issues due to freezing temps in the winter. Any input would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    Prestatyn, North-Wales
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    air tools you wont use ..you'll soon chuck them to the side once you've got frost bite in your hands ..

    freezing air will also cause condensation problems on panels when you spray ...

    so basically you cant use them if the temps aren't above say 5 degrees c... 41f

    thats my experience anyway .

    and spraying paint requires the temps to be above 15 degrees c - 60f for a good job.

    all the best.markj
    Last edited by aboard_epsilon; 04-23-2012 at 10:46 AM.

  3. #3
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    What you want to do if the temps go below freezing is to not run the compressor, and have the tank blown dry. If you plan to install a piping system then you would want that to not have any standing water in it anywhere either.

    If you intend to site your compressor outside for use inside in a heated shop, it may be a problem for you to have to go without compressed air. In that case, it should be straightforward to heat your compressor enclosure above freezing.

    Wonder what guys with remote electric well pumps do for winterizing?-

  4. #4
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    Just came to mind reading this post, also wonder about the gas/diesel compressors used on those tractor trailer tire repair trucks you see running around?
    Most are exposed all winter.

  5. #5
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    I'm running my compressor when it's well below the freezing point.
    Otherwise, I'll be out of air for whole winter in WI. The compressor is located in un unheated garage, and I use the air in my heated workshop.

    Frankly, I don't remember seeing any precautions written by the manufacturer beyond using a suitable (light) oil when it's cold. I, however, keep the regular one whole year around.

    I do drain the tank after I'm done.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
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    My compressor is in an unheated part of the barn where it gets down to outside ambient temperatures, that's well below freezing at times. It's a Gardner-Denver with 5Hp motor that was well-used when I got it 30-some years ago. Horror of horrors, I use 15w-40 Amsoil in it, same as what I use in my p/u truck.

    About the only precaution I take is to shut it off after it's up to pressure if I only need a bit of air. I don't want it starting when the tank is still at 90 PSI, even though there is a blow-down valve on the pressure switch.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Default A couple of good points...

    The fellow who was talking about the amzoil has a good point. In the cold temperatures (in fact generally after break in) I would recommend the use of an artifical oil (only be sure whether your compressor recommends a detergent or non detergent oil). In cold weather it is MUCH harder for a compressor to start with a standard oil because it becomes so much like molasses. Artifical oil solves that problem. The other thing is the the compressor should be stored with the air drained from the tanks. I know it's a pain to drain and wait for it to come up to pressure but the moisture level in the compressed air is much higher and it will condense and freeze in your system. This may also be an issue in your distribution system if you don't take it straight from the compressor. A couple of things you can do to make your life and the compressors a little easier: get a little heater and when you know you're going to be going to the shop give it a couple of hours to heat up. Another choice is a dipstick oil heater, or simply a high wattage bulb put next to the crankcase can often provide enough heat to make life a little easier for your compressor.
    Allans Rule: Anything worth doing is going to be a pain in the butt.

  8. #8
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    Put a heat lamp in a clamp light on a cube thermastat & it will do fine. You'll have about $20 in the whole deal. Use a brooder clamp light as they are rated for higher watts & have a guard.
    Or do the old airplane trick. Most planes use 50wt oil so in really cold weather they'd drain the oil take it inside keep it close to the stove then put it in the plane, prop it & off they went.
    *Plan for the Future but Live each Day as if it were your Last, for one day it will be* Live Life Bold, Strong, Fearless, Happy, Thankful & at Peace.

  9. #9
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    Thanks all for your responses. My plan is a well insulated addition just large enough for the compressor, with perhaps as mentioned a powerful lamp for heat in the coldest of temps.

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