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  1. #1
    PackardV8 is offline Cast Iron
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    Default air compressor outside? +/-

    Greetings,

    Just got a full-industrial rated 5hp compressor. It is a big honker and will take up a lot of shop space. An option which just occurred to me is to pour a slab outside the shop wall, build a weatherproof shed and check oil an air filter once a month.

    1. In Spokane, WA, it is colder than a mother-in-law's-kiss for six months a year, down to zero occasionally.
    2. What other problems will there be?

    thnx, jack vines

  2. #2
    cnctoolcat's Avatar
    cnctoolcat is offline Titanium
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    Default

    I've had my compressor outside on a pad for years.

    You may have problems with moisture in the tank freezing and plugging your line.

  3. #3
    bbemory is offline Cast Iron
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    Keep mine outside in lean-to. We get down to -10 here. No problems after 10 years. Just do not let it get rained on

  4. #4
    TMITL is offline Plastic
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    My first compressor was set-up in my unheated garage. When the temp. was down around zero it would trip the breaker when trying to start. I suppose I could have switched to light weight winter oil but I could also forget to change back to reg. weight oil in the 80 weather of the summer and have a melt down.
    I would just lean the Bernz a matic against the crankcase of the poor ole Quincy for 15 or 20 minutes and then throw the breaker when I needed air in winter.

  5. #5
    WILLEO6709's Avatar
    WILLEO6709 is offline Diamond
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    Default

    in cold temps you may have to put in lighter oil.... or burn up the starter regularly. I had a compressor in the cold during a remodel project and had this issue - it will work, but would be better heated.

  6. #6
    kendall is offline Cast Iron
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    For cold weather, a small light bulb in the enclosure will work great to keep the oil from getting too thick, bottom vent the enclosure so the heat will stay near the top.
    Small fan connected to the pressure switch to operate the vent fan while the compressor's running will work great for air circulation

    The PO of my old house had the well freeze up at least twice a year, when I bought the house I put a 25w light in the well house and with no other changes it never froze up in the 19 years I lived there.

    If the shops constantly heated, and the enclosure is right up against the wall, install a vent to circulate warm shop air through the enclosure

    Ken.

  7. #7
    THax is offline Aluminum
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    Default Use oil pan heater

    I placed a small "stick-on" silicon oil pan heater under the crankcase of our outdoor compressor. It's worked great for 10 years now. The heaters were avaiable in 2 or 3 sizes at the local farm supply type store.

  8. #8
    pgfaini's Avatar
    pgfaini is offline Cast Iron
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    I've got a length of heating tape permanently wrapped around the crankcase. It's got a built-in thermostat, so doesn't need any attention. They're generally used to prevent freezing of above ground water well pumps.
    Paul

  9. #9
    Bernoulli is offline Aluminum
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    You're going to miss the comforting sound of that compressor chugging away, to say nothing of it starting up unexpectedly when you're standing right next to it.

  10. #10
    3t3d is online now Titanium
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    Years ago, I had a compressor in the unheated attic of my garage.
    One really cold day, the line to and/or the pressure switch froze up.
    The compressor never shut off. The pressure guage needle was bent over against the top of the guage.
    VERY scary event.

    Be Very careful of that possibility.

  11. #11
    pgfaini's Avatar
    pgfaini is offline Cast Iron
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    Didn't you have a blow-off valve on the tank? They can be adjusted to just above the cuttoff pressure, and should have a capacity(FPM) greater than the compressor can pump.
    Paul

  12. #12
    piniongear's Avatar
    piniongear is offline Stainless
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by PackardV8 View Post
    Greetings,

    Just got a full-industrial rated 5hp compressor. It is a big honker and will take up a lot of shop space. An option which just occurred to me is to pour a slab outside the shop wall, build a weatherproof shed and check oil an air filter once a month.

    1. In Spokane, WA, it is colder than a mother-in-law's-kiss for six months a year, down to zero occasionally.
    2. What other problems will there be?

    thnx, jack vines
    My 5hp Quincy sits on it's concrete pad outside the shop, but I have the 80 gal horizontal tank and all of the electrical inside the shop. No compressor noise inside, yet the tank is right there, easy to blow down if needed.....pg

  13. #13
    Bobw's Avatar
    Bobw is offline Diamond
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    The big downside to a compressor outside is the noise that people complain about, we had one outside, a 10hp, not the quietest thing, but not too bad, no problems for months, then a lady stopped by and complained that her 90 year old grandfather could hear it 3 blocks away, but only at night when he took his hearing aids out.

    She called the Codes A@@holes, they came knocking the next day, they said not after midnight, 2 days later another Codes A@@hole showed up, not after 10p, 2 day later another codes A@@hole showed up at 7:05pm and gave my second shift supervisor a criminal citation, he had to go to court for violating a codes order. 3 days later 10 keystone cops(codes A@@holes showed up at noon) and said it was too loud.

    I asked "so what is the law?", how many decibles at how many feet, and the keystone cop(they all had black spandex shorts, tight longsleeve sweaters, with seude elbow patches, and pleated leather shoulder pads, in 6" high letters across their back it said CODES), said it doesn't work that way. Moved it inside, too much hassle with a bunch of power hungry idiots in an anti-business town.

    2 days later the same keystone cops show up and complain that our outside lights are too bright and to remove them, so we did, and now that that whole area was dark, the gangbangers hungout and we got tagged at least once a week, so now everytime we got tagged because now it was dark, if it wasn't painted over by 5pm we got fined.

    The worst part about the compressor is we were less than 50 feet from the RR tracks, with mulitiple crossings, but the train operators never got fined for blasting their horns at 2am.

  14. #14
    Timw is offline Stainless
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    A lot of AC compressors have oil heaters wrapped around the bottom of them. If you know someone in the AC business you could get a heater from an old compressor and make it fit your pump. Not sure what voltage they run though.

  15. #15
    peterve's Avatar
    peterve is online now Titanium
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    another advantige of putting a compressor outside in the colt is less water in the air When freezing no water at all
    Peter

  16. #16
    Ohio Farmer is offline Cast Iron
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    BobW...Ever consider having somebody kick that fellas ass for him as he was climbing out of his car?Put those gangbangers to use! Make sure you get it done right the first time that way there is no second time !

  17. #17
    Steve@Reliance's Avatar
    Steve@Reliance is offline Hot Rolled
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    I moved my compressor ouside last year and haven't had a problem. It is in an enclosure and not having to listen to it in the shop has improved my sanity.

  18. #18
    Bill's Machine Shop is offline Hot Rolled
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    I've had my 5hp two stage out in my unheated pole barn for almost ten years. In that time, it's burned up one drive belt (pump too cold, motor keeps spinning) , froze up the tank check valve, froze up the unloader valve and tripped the start circuit thermal overload numerous times. My solution has been to remove power when I'm not there to watch over it. WWQ

  19. #19
    3t3d is online now Titanium
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    Exclamation

    Quote Originally Posted by pgfaini View Post
    Didn't you have a blow-off valve on the tank? They can be adjusted to just above the cuttoff pressure, and should have a capacity(FPM) greater than the compressor can pump.
    Paul
    The blowoff valve is on the same fitting as the pressure switch!
    So, if the fitting freezes up, so does the blowoff valve.

    VERY VERY Dangerous possibility!

  20. #20
    D.spencer's Avatar
    D.spencer is offline Hot Rolled
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    FWIW- when you pour your slab, isolate it from the building so that vibrations are not transmitted into the building. If you do decide to enclose the area completely, it will need a means of cooling such as a fan on a thermostat with louvers and make-up air because it will get HOT during during the summer. The dealership I used to work at ,our compressor got so hot it tripped and fired the fire sprinkler system! what a mess!

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