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Maintenance Tips & Projects from Potberg

There have been incidents where the air holding tank of a compressor explodes. Although manufacturing defects can caused a tank to explode, the leading cause of air compressor tank rupture is corrosion of the tank from water condensate.

Basically these types of incidents are caused by failure to follow the operation and maintenance procedures listed in the owner’s manual for that particular equipment.

Water is a natural byproduct of compressed air. It always forms inside the tank. The condensation that forms inside the tank must be drained regularly to help prevent the bottom of the tank from corroding. In fact all air compressor tank manufacturers require that the tanks are drained on a daily basis after each use. The manufacturers also recommend closing the drain valves if the compressor will be stored for any length of time. This will prevent moisture from entering inside the tank and corroded.

Preventing catastrophic failure of any boiler or pressure vessel has always been a concern of the National Board. Boilers in dry cleaning operations, pressurized steam cleaners in jewelry shops, air compressors used by painters, pressurized air systems used with power hydraulic lifts in auto repair shops, even instrument sterilizers in dentists’ offices – all are capable of causing injury due to explosion. On one hand, they rarely are inspected for proper mechanical performance and structural integrity. On the other hand, their operators are occasionally guilty of rigging the wiring or controls intended to prevent potentially explosive operational problems. And as a complicating factor, each state or province has its own inspection rules, and most apply only to commercial operations of a certain size or to water heaters or steam heat systems in dwellings that hold four or more housing units.

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