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Thread: Compressor located outside?
02-18-2005, 09:05 PM #1
Guys- I'm thinking of upgrading to a bigger compressor for shop air. Can I keep this outdoors? It'll get as cold as 0F in this area. If it's possible, is there anything I need to watch for? I'm thinking of this one:
02-18-2005, 09:21 PM #2
Looks like a good unit. I bought a compressor pump from this firm when building mine and am very satisfied with it.
When you talk about putting it outside, I assume you are going to cover it, or have it in some sort of shed to protect from the weather. I don't think the temperature will make any difference, but if you have neighbors close by, they may not like the noise, unless you put some sound deadening in the walls of your enclosure.
The seller can advise you if any special grade of pump oil would be advised for temperature exposure. Send them an email, they are very responsive to inquiries.
02-18-2005, 09:34 PM #3
Three things stick out for me when considering putting it outside.
#1 Is the oil your going to use going to have problems at 0 degree's outside. Your not gonna want a new compressor running with no oil being pumped on the bearing because its so colded.
#2 Ask ?s about that electrical enclosure. It needs to be a minimum Nema 3A enclosure for rain duty. If it were me I would prefer a Nema 4.
#3 How bout that motor is it an open drip proof motor. Its gonna be gettin rained on out there.
02-19-2005, 12:12 AM #4
Ya know, I never stopped to think about rain. Guess I'm going to have to think this through a bit more. I had planned on placing it under a low eve, but that won't work. The problem is that my shop is only 20x11 so I'm in desparate need of space and I don't want to lose it to the compressor. Of course, I don't really need one this big but I do want a quiet one.
02-19-2005, 01:00 AM #5
I would not take much work to put a shed roof over it that is attached to the shop wall. Just make sure you have adequate ventilation and spacing.
02-19-2005, 03:20 AM #6
There's an idea... build yourself a small shed. Like a doghouse maybe with a hinged roof. You could louver three sides for ventilation and build it against the side of your shop. Would be an inexpensive and quick saturday project.
02-19-2005, 03:28 AM #7
It would be very wise to put a 100 watt light bulb in there also. The heat from the bulb will keep the oil a little bit warmer and also keep the water in the bottom from freezing. Even if you drain it every night there will still be drops of water in there, and trust me there will be a time that you will forget to drain the water. The light bulb will keep everything working well. Newt.
02-19-2005, 07:02 AM #8
Does Eaton have a vertical version of this compressor? If you ended up putting inside you shop, it would take up probably half the floor space.
At work, we had a compressor set up outside in a shelter. Because it was drawing excessive moisture out of the air, we ended up plumbing the air intake to inside the building.
Make sure you have plenty of ventilation as those big compressors put out a lot of heat. Maybe hook up an exhaust fan in parallel to the compressor motor to help out.
02-19-2005, 07:30 AM #9
I saw one under the ceiling once in a truck stop, of course it was well supported, how high is your ceiling ?
02-19-2005, 08:56 AM #10It would be very wise to put a 100 watt light bulb in there also. The heat from the bulb will keep the oil a little bit warmer and also keep the water in the bottom from freezing. Even if you drain it every night there will still be drops of water in there, and trust me there will be a time that you will forget to drain the water. The light bulb will keep everything working well. Newt.
Ben, don't even think about putting your compressor outside if you are not going to build a house for it! Compressors can be worse than wives, if you don't treat them right!
02-19-2005, 09:54 AM #11
You are going to get alot of moisture problems.Once that compressor heats up in the cold winter and then shuts off you are going to get condensation everywhere followed by ice buildup,not to mention moisture in the lines which ruins everything.You are then going to have to invest in a really good air dryer.When the temperature falls to zero you are going to need alot more than a light bulb to prevent that.There will be more heat leaking out the air intake vent than a bulb would be putting out anyway.It can be done but it should be last resort.
02-19-2005, 11:06 AM #12
A service station in this area has its compressor sitting outside in the weather with no roof, or anything. I've often wondered how they get by with it.
Winters around here are usually damp and gloomy with temperatures sometimes dropping down to zero °F.
The doghouse idea is a good one. If it is well insulated, that 100-Watt light bulb will help keep things warm. Folks around here use that setup for their well pumps and it keeps things from freezing. The insulation will help dampen the noise, too, especially if it is rock wool with the fuzzy side facing the compressor.
I put my compressor into a room separate from the shop. I'm sure glad I did. They're noisy buggers.
02-19-2005, 11:18 AM #13
The cooler the air becomes, the less moisture it's capable of holding. Despite all rumors and opinions to the contrary, this is a scientifically proven and irrefutable fact. A compressor doesn't know or care what the relative humidity is. All it sees is the total moisture content of the air its pumping, and colder air has less total moisture content. It's been said here several times in various threads that having having a compressor placed in a cold location is going to cause condensation problems. HELLO??? Has anyone ever thought about the main method used to condense water out of compressed air (a desirable thing to do)? Cooling comes to mind as a sorta popular method. Yes, a compressor outside in the cold will tend to condense most of the moisture out into the receiver tank and give the appearance of producing more moisture, but in actuality if you take that same compressor and move it inside to a heated space, the only thing thats different is the air temperature. The moisture content of the air being compressed is the same. So, instead of having the cooling effect of cold air surrounding the tank to help condense moisture, the moisture is carried thru the lines and out at the point of air discharge. The outside compressor is far less likely to need a mechanical dryer than the same compressor in an indoor location. In warmer weather the only way you'd get any benefit from having the compressor indoors would be if the shop were air conditioned, because it would then be pumping air with less total moisture content than the outdoor air. For really cold locations a strap-on crankcase heater can be installed on the compressor body itself, and wired thru an outdoor air thermostat and a set of normally closed contacts on the starter, such that it will come on anytime the compressor is off and the temperature is below the setpoint, and will go off whenever the compressor comes on, regardless of whether the OA stat is calling for it to be on or not.
02-19-2005, 11:20 AM #14
Another thought on the moisture problem. You mentioned that the compressor is larger than you need. If the compressor doesn't run long it will never get hot enough to drive off the moisture in the crankcase and the moisture will condense and mix with the oil turning it white. You could install a crankcase heater (expensive to operate). And, has been mentioned, you can move the intake inside. If you do, be sure to use a couple of sizes larger pipe than the intake of the compressor. Otherwise you will reduce the efficency of the compressor. Good Luck!
02-19-2005, 11:53 AM #15
The air that I was refering to was not of incoming cold air,that is always dry,but when you run a machine and it gets warm,it then cools off creating a moisture problem."The water is then discharged through the line" ,then you need an air dryer.
02-19-2005, 11:53 AM #16
One more VERY IMPORTANT item to putting a compressor outside...
The moisture can collect and freeze, and plug the line to the pressure switch...
The moisture can collect and freeze, and plug the line to the pressure switch...
That can be bad. Maybe not so bad with a single stage compressor. I moved mine back inside for the winter after that.
02-19-2005, 12:22 PM #17
We have a lot of compressors of all shapes, sizes and ratings from a few Cfm to 600 cfm in a lot of locations inside & out around th epowerplants. Condensation is a BIG problem. Locating the compressor outdoors will get colder denser air to the intake- upping efficiency. The downside is there will be a great deal of condensation in the crankcase. We have single stage splash lubed compressors on some air circuit breakers out in our powerplant switchyards. These compressors run very intermittently and are in steel "doghouses". Condensation in the crankcases is a real problem, so we run electric space heaters. These are three phase motors, so we ordered them as drip-proof, with internal electric space heaters to keep the winding warm. We also keep a 100 watt bulb going in each of the compressor doghouses.
Another thing you might want to consider is an automatic condensate drain for the air receiver tank. Most compressors use a "syphon" pipe which dips from a connection at 3:00 or 9:00 on the receiver down to the bottom, putting the receiver drain valve on the side of the receiver. This often leaves a little accumulation of condensate in the bottom of the receiver. I have had compressor recevier drains changed to come right off the bottom tapping, and had the receivers mounted with alittle pitch to them to be sure condensate gets drained when the auto drain valves pulse open. On outdoor compressor sin our switchyards, we have had a number of receiver perforate because of improper condensate drainage.
If I were to put the compressor outdoors, I would build a doghouse for it, and insulate it. This will also quiet things down so your neighbors don;t hear much of it. Put the compressor up on blocks and be sure to pitch the receiver to its low point drain. Put some sort of heat in the doghouse- whether it is a light bulb or more. You might ask Eaton, since they seem like a vendor willing to work with the compressor buyers- about some sort of strip heater for the compressor crankcase. On some compressors, even in the powerplant, there is enough of a swing in ambient temperatures and irregualr cycling times of the compressors to cause condesnation in the crankcases. These are bigger I-R recips of about 25 cfm and 350 psig discharge. The local I-R dealer had an actual crankcase immersion heater that went in thru a spare drain tapping for the purpose. It works with an overtemperature thermostat and with a relay to take it out when the compressor runs. If you go to a place like Tractor Supply, you should be able to find a magnetic mount heater that is used on tractor and truck oil pans for cold weather. These are fairly low wattage. With an iron crankcase compressor, a magneitc mount heater such as farmers use on tractor oil sumps should work for you. I note you live in NYC, so if you come upstate to ski, there are Tractor Supply stores in plac es like Marlborough NY (Ulster County) and Oneonta, NY.
Other concerns about mounting a compressor in a doghouse with heat: rodents. Build a warm compressor doghouse and you will have critters occupying it. Critters love to build nests out of fiberglass insulation in and around equipment. They also love to chew on wires. Even common field mice (or house mice) will do a lot of damage. Ask if the motor you get has screened ventilation openings and run any wiring in conduit or "sealtite flex". If you use rigid foam insulating board you will lessen the chances of the critters making off with it and building nests in places like the belt guard or next to the warm crankcase.
Another thought: I do not know how close your nearest neighbor is from your proposed compressor location. A bvelt driven compressor with disc valves is fairly quiet but does have a distinctive sound. If you have an automatic tank condensate drain, a lot of these simply work on a timer plus a time delay realy to give a short pulesed opening of the receiver drain valve. This causes the receiver pressure to drop off. After a few days of the receiver drain cycling, the compressor will cut in whenever the pressure drips to the cut-in pressure on the pressure switch. Could be any hour day or night. Or, you might simply be burning the midnight oil in your shop and using air, so the compressor cuts in at some late hour. You might want to ask about an intake air filter/silencer. This is an overgrown air intake filter and tends to dampen the pulsations and reverberations the intake air makes- which is a lot of the compressor noise.
02-19-2005, 01:03 PM #18
I currently have my compressor in the basement and plumbed underground to the shop. That way the compressor is kept dry and in a pretty comfortable temperature zone.
For about three years before that it was in a "dog house" next to my shop, so it was protected from direct exposure to the elements but not protected from freezing winter or hot summer temps. Still worked OK though, and shows no signs of damage or wear from those early few years. One thing about the dog house years was - since the shop wasn't heated either, the compressor didn't cycle much because I avoided working in the freezing temps too.
02-19-2005, 02:03 PM #19
At home, I too have my comopressor in another building (my garage) 300' of 1" line connects the compressor to my shop. The line climbs in elevation about 20' from the compressor to the shop and I have a drain at the low point just inside the garage. Something about having the air pass through underground nice and dry and never hearing the compressor when I am using the bead blast cabinet in the shop always brings a smile to my face [img]smile.gif[/img]
02-22-2005, 05:28 PM #20
I ran across the instructions on my IR compressor. For their compressors, the operating range is 32 degrees F to 100 degrees F (another booklet says 20 to 125 degrees). Also there is a requirement for 1,000 CFM of fresh air is required for every five HP -- I assume this is for compressors mounted in dedicated shelters and not inside a large buildings (of course this is all relative). You need to check with Eaton to see what their specs are.