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WaynefromWi

Frozen Airlines in the shop

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A few times each winter I have to air up a tire,  or maybe blow some dirt off a repair. Air compressor is in an unheated pole shed. Is there any problem pouring a little RV antifreeze, or semi truck air brake antifreeze into the tank to keep the hoses from freezing?  I would not run it through the compressor itself.  No air tools will be run until warmer weather. Usually I bring the hose in the house to thaw out when I need air, but sometimes I need air and can't plan ahead for it. My main concern is damage to a tire or rubber parts. Maybe I have to keep doing what I am doing.

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Is your compressor a stationary mount or mobile? If it is stationary, remove the bottom plug or drain and get whatever piping or fittings and a quarter turn valve to make a convenient moisture drain. The same thing could also be done on a portable also. Whenever you walk past the valve give it a crack and blow off the moisture that is in the tank. You would be surprised how much moisture accumulates inside the tank.

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I think the problem with a drain is the moisture will be frozen and won't drain off then. I would put a ball valve on the compressor for the hose to hook to. Shut off the air supply anytime it's not being used. Most of our hoses will leak slightly at the couplers and then the moisture condensates there and freezes there if it's an outside hose. 

Airline antifreeze should help you, I don't think rv antifreeze will be any benefit to your problem. The methanol in the airline antifreeze will thaw out ice and help with removing it from the system

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I should have explained more originally, but I needed to stop somewhere. The compressor is a vertical 60(?) gallon tank. The hose exits the tank at about 3 feet from the bottom. The drain at the bottom freezes in November and don't thaw until April. The issue really is that compressing air raises the temperature of the air,  releasing the moisture, and then it condenses in the line. I understand that part. It's just every winter I put up with this. I'm sure I am not the only one. Usually after I use it, I connect an unattached coupler to let all the air escape. Still,  there is enough moisture to freeze the lines. Wife was late for church this morning.... Her car had a low tire. Thanks...

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1 minute ago, WaynefromWi said:

I should have explained more originally, but I needed to stop somewhere. The compressor is a vertical 60(?) gallon tank. The hose exits the tank at about 3 feet from the bottom. The drain at the bottom freezes in November and don't thaw until April. The issue really is that compressing air raises the temperature of the air,  releasing the moisture, and then it condenses in the line. I understand that part. It's just every winter I put up with this. I'm sure I am not the only one. Usually after I use it, I connect an unattached coupler to let all the air escape. Still,  there is enough moisture to freeze the lines. Wife was late for church this morning.... Her car had a low tire. Thanks...

How about getting a short section of heat tape, or even a small light bulb?  Put it next to the drain pipe at the bottom  and throw some insulation around the bottom 

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8 minutes ago, WaynefromWi said:

I should have explained more originally, but I needed to stop somewhere. The compressor is a vertical 60(?) gallon tank. The hose exits the tank at about 3 feet from the bottom. The drain at the bottom freezes in November and don't thaw until April. The issue really is that compressing air raises the temperature of the air,  releasing the moisture, and then it condenses in the line. I understand that part. It's just every winter I put up with this. I'm sure I am not the only one. Usually after I use it, I connect an unattached coupler to let all the air escape. Still,  there is enough moisture to freeze the lines. Wife was late for church this morning.... Her car had a low tire. Thanks...

Another option would be to accept the fact that the tank will freeze, but install a water separator after the tank.  Mine separates and holds the water until I shut the valve off at the tank.  Once the line pressure goes down to a couple pounds, the separator automatically drains its water off.  It sounds complicated/expensive, buts it’s not.

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Mike:  Does the separator freeze? I had considered getting one, as I do some low dollar painting in the summer, but I thought any moisture collected in cold weather would freeze and damage the separator.

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29 minutes ago, WaynefromWi said:

Mike:  Does the separator freeze? I had considered getting one, as I do some low dollar painting in the summer, but I thought any moisture collected in cold weather would freeze and damage the separator.

My setup is in a heated shop, but i don't know why it wouldnt work out in the cold.  I would think that the compressed air would have enough heat in it to stay above freezing while its being used, and as long as you shut the air valve at the tank off, and drain the air pressure immediately.  The separator should drain before freezing up then.

     I installed my separator for painting, too, along with sandblasting.  moisture in the air tends to clump up the sand even in a pressure pot.  I found that the disposable water filters at the gun make a huge difference with painting.

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14 minutes ago, WaynefromWi said:

Mike:  Does the separator freeze? I had considered getting one, as I do some low dollar painting in the summer, but I thought any moisture collected in cold weather would freeze and damage the separator.

 

we have run separator and auto drain off systems ,they ALL freeze break when firemen blow roof off or otherwise turn of heat source.

we run 1000,s of g air 24/7/365 but shut down if more then 14 hours below 25* was expected.

hopefully air doors go empty or freeze open when no cars are inside/escape door required.

install/seal a good (proper SS fitting with tape and antiseze ) and ss ball valve in bottom where it cant get knocked off,

then after every use, open and drain and repeat/tip, then close for next use.

uncoated and ALL china tanks should have this done with every use,all year.

have several such engine units  d valves are 2% open year round/drained completely in wet weather if you dont hear  it ....needs attention!

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They make an auto drain valve. The ones I’ve seen you can set the frequency and duration of opening. Can be handy 

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18 hours ago, WaynefromWi said:

I should have explained more originally, but I needed to stop somewhere. The compressor is a vertical 60(?) gallon tank. The hose exits the tank at about 3 feet from the bottom. The drain at the bottom freezes in November and don't thaw until April. The issue really is that compressing air raises the temperature of the air,  releasing the moisture, and then it condenses in the line. I understand that part. It's just every winter I put up with this. I'm sure I am not the only one. Usually after I use it, I connect an unattached coupler to let all the air escape. Still,  there is enough moisture to freeze the lines. Wife was late for church this morning.... Her car had a low tire. Thanks...

I have same setup, vertical tank and line out at middle. I have a quarter turn valve on drain and open monthly when above freezing. About thanksgiving time I dump a gallon of methanol in a big elbo with a plug that I have in the side. Unless a long winter this usually lasts till spring. I like to put methanol in immediately after draining tank, but sometimes ice is already there. have always dumped it in anyway with successful results. Just be sure air pressure is at 0 psi before removing 1.5 inch plug to pour it in. Have run air tools with no ill effects for 20+ winters.

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All the water is in the air!!?? gallons per cfm, leave your drain valve alone till spring.🥶 A water trap on the outlet side of the tank will help. The water is in the hose and in the fitting where  it gets restricted and freezes. After you done, drain your hose and fittings keep in warm place 🥵 frost freeze lube oil is good for air tools pore in at inlet of tool.   😁

Pure air for car tires, you don't want lube oil in there, can cause and out of balance.

Take the winter off go South, 😎

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Move south!

My air lines never freeze in my insulated but unheated shop.

TThx-Ace

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I used dry gas , pour it into the line where it comes off my compressor , worked for me . This year i got sick of doing this and made the supply lines in my garage 3/4, and installed t fitting with drain valve to trap the moisture.  Haven't  had anymore issues but if i do   spring is coming in a few months !!!

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On 2/16/2020 at 1:45 PM, Mike56073 said:

My setup is in a heated shop, but i don't know why it wouldnt work out in the cold.  I would think that the compressed air would have enough heat in it to stay above freezing while its being used, and as long as you shut the air valve at the tank off, and drain the air pressure immediately.  The separator should drain before freezing up then.

     I installed my separator for painting, too, along with sandblasting.  moisture in the air tends to clump up the sand even in a pressure pot.  I found that the disposable water filters at the gun make a huge difference with painting.

I got a cheaper water separator, without the auto drain, and regulator plumbed in for use with air tools and another line for air gun/tires. We don't have a heated shop and I have never had the separator freeze up, but I always drain it when I am done using that line otherwise it will freeze up. Should probably look into a better unit with the auto drain

Maybe once or twice a winter I need to pour some air brake antifreeze into the air line. The odd time a bit of moisture will freeze up in the low point by the hose reel. I pour a bit into the air hose and hook it up backwards and it always blows the ice out. 

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