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Air compressors are one of the essential tools or machines we have in our society today. If you have one, you are already aware of their immense contributions. They can be used for many indoor and outdoor tasks around the home and community. Some of these tasks might include: spray painting, pumping tires, pressure washing, carpentry, and many others.
Air compressors come with air tanks that hold or store pressurized air. The tank size and capacity might differ from tank to tank, but they serve the same purpose. This article focuses on the tanks, if they expire, signs, and how to care for them.
But the big question is, do they expire?
Do Air Compressor Tanks Expire?
In short, yes. Like many materials that undergo wear and tear, air compressor tanks do expire. Most home-used air compressors do not come with an expiry date on their tanks. However, portable air compressor tanks do have expiry dates. Please note that air compressor tanks and portable air tanks are pretty different.
Your air compressor might be working correctly. Industry standards, however, suggest an eight-to-ten-year maximum usage for air compressor tanks.
Why Do Air Compressor Tanks Expire?
A lot of people never imagined their air compressor tanks were capable of expiring. This is because it is difficult to tell. There are several reasons why air compressor tanks may expire or become unusable. First, because there are sometimes no expiration dates, it can be hard to tell when your air compressor tank is no longer usable.
There are four main reasons why air compressor tanks might expire. They are as follows:
1. Wear and Tear
The idea is that constant use of anything over time reduces or chips away its original quality. Furniture or machines are typical examples of this phenomenon. If you use your air compressors consistently or for work-related use, you can also expect them to wear out. To check this, always ensure adequate maintenance of your air compressor.
Rust forms when elements such as water or acidic bodies come into contact with metal. Remember that a by-product of compressed air is water. A combination of that and the metal tank container almost certainly guarantees rust. As air compressor tanks rust, they become less and less usable. Because rusting occurs inside the tank, it is common for people to not notice when it happens.
We also wrote this article to help you how to keep air compressor tank from rusting. Must read!
3. Poor maintenance
Poor maintenance is also detrimental to air compressor tanks. An example of maintenance activity is draining the air once a week or after extended use. Such activity goes a long way toward extending the life cycle of the air compressor tank.
4. Physical damage
Physical damage to the air compressor or its tank can cause air leaks, making the tank unusable.
Signs of Expired Air Compressor Tanks
It is difficult to tell when your air compressor tank has expired. However, some clues or signs can help you with that. Some of them are:
1. Expiry date
Some air compressor tanks do not come with an expiry date. Those that do usually have stickers pasted on them with the expiry date. The dates are generally in the month or year format. If it has passed the expiration date, see the manufacturer’s guide.
2. Pressure level
Pressure level testing is done by a professional. First, consult professional testing companies to help recertify the air compressor tanks for businesses. Then, take it to a welding shop for private or home-used air compressors. However, these tests can be expensive.
3. Elements of rust in liquid
While draining the condensed liquid from the air compressor tank, check for elements of rust in the liquid. If it has started to rust, you will see elements of rust in the liquid. The more rust there is, the more evidence that the situation in the tank is terrible.
4. Physical damage
Are there dents or holes around the surface of the air compressor tanks? They are also indicators that the tank has expired. Do not use it under those conditions to avoid accidents.
How Long Do Air Compressor Tanks Last?
Air compressor tanks vary in their use. The standard life cycle is eight to ten years for industries, manufacturing companies, or factories. However, as a business, you can get professionals to determine if the tanks are still in good condition. If they are, they can recertify it, maybe for a few years.
For individuals, it can last anywhere from 10 to 15 years. However, always ensure you check for the signs mentioned earlier to be on the safe side.
What Will Happen If You Keep Using an Expired Air Compressor Tank?
The most significant caveat to the constant use of an expired air compressor tank is the chance of it exploding. Depending on the size of the tanks, an explosion can cause severe damage. Some include material damage, injuries, or worse, loss of lives. An explosion can be caused by corrosion in the tank or air leakage.
There are other, less dangerous effects of constantly using expired air compressor tanks. They are constant air leakages and poor functionality of the air compressor. Air leakages occur because the tank is weak. Closing the holes does not work because the vulnerable nature of the tank ensures more holes will open up.
Can You Fix an Expired Air Compressor Tank?
Fixing an air compressor is relatively easy. Manufacturers typically make it so users can quickly fix it themselves. However, fixing the air compressor tanks is another matter. It is more challenging to fix and would often require professional attention.
If an air compressor tank expires, it is usually because the material has deteriorated. This makes it difficult to repair it. For example, if corrosion damages your tank, it isn’t easy to repair without overhauling it. Subsequently, when holes start to form on the tanks as well, wielding them doesn’t help a lot either. This is because when holes start popping up, it is a good sign the tank materials are horrible.
However, if noticed on time, the tank can be fixed. Physical damage such as dents can also be repaired if it is not too bad. However, in cases where it costs a lot to fix or overhaul, consider buying new air compressors. Another alternative is adopting portable air compressors. For a lasting solution, consider purchasing a new air compressor.
Advice on Making the Most of Your Air Compressor Tank
- Always take safety precautions to avoid physical damage. An example is keeping the air compressors safe.
- Always drain the condensed liquid after each use. The leftover liquids are one of the chief deteriorating agents in the tank. If possible, keep the valves open between uses.
- Consider using water separators as well.
- Pay attention to strange sounds that might occur in the tank or air compressor during use.
- Frequently test your air compressor. This helps you notice or catch issues that might be detrimental over time.
- Regular air compressor and tank maintenance, such as changing the oil and air filters, also helps a lot.
How Do I Check if My Air Compressor Tanks Are Expired?
Constantly checking your tanks for expiry is an excellent way to extend the life cycle of your air compressor. There are two ways to test air compressor tanks. Testing by sound and testing for pressure.
Professional welders or dive shops do testing for pressure. Though it can be costly, this testing is typically done every few years.
Testing for sound can be done individually. Simply hit the top and then the bottom of the tank gently. It indicates that the tank is good if it makes the same sound. Different sounds indicate expiry.
Do Air Compressor Tanks Rust Out?
Air compressors usually rust from the inside out. This is because of the condensed liquid inside the tank. However, when exposed to rain or another liquid source, rust starts from the outside.
Can Air Compressor Tanks be Welded?
Yes, they can. However, it is advisable to change it if it comes to that. Welding tampers with the material structure of the tank, which is not sustainable when exposed to high pressure.
Why is Tank Testing Required?
Tank testing helps give us an idea of the condition of our tanks. This test is beneficial because looking at and seeing it for yourself is impossible.
Why Do Some Air Compressor Tanks Have an Expiration Date?
Industrial air compressors typically have expiry dates. It is also required by law in a lot of countries or communities. Indoor air compressors, on the other hand, do not have expiration dates.
Can an Old Air Compressor Tank Explode?
Yes. Old air compressor tanks are susceptible to corrosion. It is the chief cause of tank explosions. However, a properly maintained tank is safe to use.
The air tanks are vital when operating any air compressor. Unfortunately, they are also susceptible to damage. That is why taking good care of your air compressor tank is essential. Whether you are a business or an individual, taking good care of tanks can prolong their use or life cycle. Tank explosions could be hazardous occurrences. Therefore, we should always take care to prevent it.