Can an Air Compressor Explode?

Air compressors are beneficial for many kinds of jobs. These machines are used for various industrial applications, and smaller ones often appear in residential workshops and garages worldwide.

Like other machines, providing reasonable care is essential to keep the compressor functioning safely and correctly. One of the big problems that you must be aware of is the possibility of your compressor explosion.

So can an air compressor explode? How to prevent that? We will help you clear these queries through the following article.

Can an Air Compressor Explode?

A compressor can explode for many reasons. There have been various occasions where a tank of a compressor holding air explodes.

This machine can explode for several reasons

Following are the leading causes of air compressor explosions:

  • Tank corrosion.
  • Manufacturing defects.
  • Lack of cooling.
  • Nearby things can explode or catch fire.
  • The pressure shut-off switch gets damaged.
  • The pressure relief valve is faulty.
  • Insufficient compressor lubrication.
  • Improperly installed valves and tanks.

Tank Corrosion

Corrosion will quickly weaken the tank ball. In this case, it can't sustain the high pressure produced by your compressor.

When the compressor operates, condensation will begin to form inside its tank.

If the tank is not drained regularly, the buildup inside will form over time and eventually cause corrosion.

So, you should drain your tank after each use and remove the air pressure from the tools attached to your compressor.

The thickness of the tank's walls will determine if it can withstand high pressure.

If rust results from corrosion of the tank's thickness, it cannot withstand the compressor's high-pressure demands, leading to an explosion.

Manufacturing Defects

Manufacturing defects rarely occur, but it is feasible. If a component or valve does not fit correctly, you must stop ordering and call the manufacturer.

If a part is incorrectly machined or too thin, your machine can't function effectively and may fail.

Lack of Cooling

Cooling problems are unlikely with small compressors that are used in a workshop. But large commercial compressors rely on the cooling system to stay at a safe level.

If these machines are not adequately cooled, they can overheat, resulting in an explosion.

Nearby Things Can Explode or Catch Fire

Another possible reason compressors explode is that they are placed too close to overheated equipment. So avoid installing or using these machines in a confined area with poor ventilation.

If there is a furnace in your business or shop, never install or place compressors near it in case it ruptures or fails.

Instead, you should store and use your compressors in dry, cool areas. Intense heat might weaken the tank and lead to a severe accident. 

Insufficient Compressor Lubrication

Lubrication will prevent friction from occurring between moving parts. It can't operate optimally if you don't lubricate your compressor correctly.

Large friction can increase the temperature, causing a part to fail, resulting in an explosion and rupture. Dried oil in the valves might heat up and finally ignite.

Improperly Installed Valves and Tanks

Compressors often come with an owner's manual, which includes a specific guide on using the machine safely and correctly.

We recommend always following the manufacturer's specs for maintenance routines and maximum PSI levels if you invest in a machine for personal use.

You should get the help of professionals to install a large compressor for commercial uses. They follow strict protocols when installing your machines.

Do not try to install a compressor if you are inexperienced and unsure of your abilities, as any mistake might lead to an explosion or rupture.

In most cases, local authorities will be responsible for checking out these installations. It is wise to double-check the work performed by a professional.

Ensure the drain valves or your compressor tank are appropriately installed, the psi output doesn't go further than the limits of your tools attached to it, and the oil capacity of the machine always stays at the maximum level.

In addition, there are other causes, such as the pressure shut-off switch getting damaged and the pressure relief valve being faulty.

How to Prevent Your Air Compressor from Explode?

How to prevent this machine from exploding

Drain Your Tank After Each Use

After you finish working with this machine, you must turn it off and drain the tank. Otherwise, condensate can build up and corrode the inside of its tank.

Also, don't forget to release the air from your attached hoses to ensure the longevity of the hoses and other attachments.

Check Out The Lubricant and Oil Levels

An oil-free compressor does not need as much maintenance as the oiled one. But you should regularly track oil-free machine lubrication. 

The oil-free machine uses synthetic gel lubrication on several parts. Some manufacturers say that these models do not require maintenance.

Yet, dirt may build up on their surface, causing premature wear. That's why oil-less models have a shorter lifespan.

Place Compressors in Ventilated Areas

When you should use your air compressor in a well-ventilated area as they need a steady stream of air to function correctly.

Never block the air intake of your machine with nearby supplies or equipment.

Follow Guidelines Regarding Max Pressure

Following the manufacturer's guide when installing and operating your compressor is wise. 

For example, if compressors are not rated to bear pressures above 120 psi, never push their pressure further than that level.

The tank might rupture if the pressure is higher than the recommended one. One ruptured tank may cause massive injury and damage.

Ensure All Components Are Undamaged and Secure

Check out your hoses, connections, valves, and tank for any damage. If you find a cracked valve or hose, it is time to replace them.

Safety Tips When Using a Compressor

Utilize protective eyewear when working with this machine
  • Use protective eyewear when working with this machine.
  • Never point a tool or nozzle at any part of your body, other people, and animals.
  • Do not touch hot surfaces. Allow your machine to cool down after use before maintenance.
  • Turn it off and bleed the pressure from its tank and your hoses before performing or servicing maintenance.
  • Keep your hair, loose clothing, and jewelry away from moving parts.

FAQs

Can Compressors Explode From Excessive Heat?

It is not necessary to worry about ambient heat with this. 

If you are in a hot area, proper lubrication is more critical as this machine will likely run at a higher temperature. Optimal temperature range from 50 to 90°F.

Overheating compressors may cause an explosion, which is when you should worry about excessive heat.

It is typically due to poor lubrication, causing friction and might force oil into valves. Then this oil may ignite and lead to a rupture or explosion.

Are These Machines Safe to Use?

After reading our post, you may wonder if these machines are safe to use.

While it is possible for them to explode, it is a rare occurrence. Follow the manufacturer's guidelines, and these machines are safe to use.

Poor maintenance or improper use of compressors can increase the risk of a severe accident.

If you use them in your workshop or garage, you should read the owner's manual and follow any instructions therein.

If you work on these machines in your company or a commercial environment, you should get professional help in maintaining them.

Should I Leave My Compressor Pressurized?

The answer is that it can be dangerous or safe, depending on how well you maintain your machine.

If you use it within several hours, it is okay to leave it pressurized. If not, we recommend releasing the air from its system.

How Can I Ensure My Compressors Are Safe to Use

The owner's manual includes everything needed to ensure your machine is safe to use. Just follow the instructions in it, and you'll be fine. 

When it comes to some general guidelines, here are the steps to help you ensure your compressor is safe to use.

  • Drain your air tank frequently: You should drain it once daily or a minimum of once weekly.
  • Change the oil yearly: It is easier than it seems and will ensure proper lubrication. Don't forget to check out the oil levels frequently.
  • Change the air filter yearly: It is okay to do it by hand or with the help of one screwdriver.

By following our owner's guide and recommendations, you can rest assured that your compressor is always working correctly.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, it depends on how much attention you pay to your machine.

To ensure that it stays in the best condition possible, you should follow the guide from the manufacturer to properly service and maintain your compressor.

Follow the maintenance schedule recommended by the manufacturer. You cannot expect your machine to run smoothly without regular upkeeps.

Taking a moment to do these simple tasks will not only extend the life of your machine but will also ensure that you do not have to worry about your machine exploding.

Thanks for your time!

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