Welcome to the The Garage Journal Board forums.

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest which gives you limited access to view most discussions and access our other features. By joining our free community you will have access to post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, upload content and access many other special features. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free so please, join our community today!

If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please contact contact us.

Go Back   The Garage Journal Board > The Garage > General Garage Discussion

Sponsored Links (Register now to hide all advertisements)

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 10-05-2010, 12:29 AM   #1
rvr6000
Senior Member
 
rvr6000's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: St. Paul, MN
Posts: 1,024
Default When is it too cold to run air compressor?

Anyone know what the lowest temperature (ball park) is that one can run their air compressor without causing any damage to the pump?

I have a 5hp - 60 gallon CH but have not been able to find anything in the manual regarding safe operating temperatures.

Thanks.
rvr6000 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2010, 01:09 AM   #2
jwillis
Banned
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: SW Ohio
Posts: 5,228
Default Re: When is it too cold to run air compressor?

I don't know if it makes that much difference as long as it is inside a garage. The ones at the gas stations run all winter and some of them are outside.
jwillis is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links (Register now to hide all advertisements)
Old 10-05-2010, 04:41 AM   #3
Kevin54
Senior Member
 
Kevin54's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Ohio
Posts: 20,849
Default Re: When is it too cold to run air compressor?

Just make sure you have it drained out before the temps start dropping down below freezing. By that, I mean the tank itself and any water traps you may have. Other than that, I wouldn't worry about running it while it is cold.
Kevin54 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2010, 05:06 AM   #4
35mastr
Senior Member
 
35mastr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Norcal
Posts: 2,536
Default Re: When is it too cold to run air compressor?

A compressor will warm up pretty fast in any temps.
__________________
If I could only remember what I have already forgotton.

Mac tools For Sale Here
George
35mastr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2010, 06:37 AM   #5
z28snksknr
Senior Member
 
z28snksknr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Turnersville, NJ
Posts: 1,829
Default Re: When is it too cold to run air compressor?

It's actually more efficient at low temps because the air density is higher
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by qmt2 View Post
Can I come over and lay naked in your screwdriver drawers?
My garage renovation: http://www.garagejournal.com/forum/s...ad.php?t=43030

My '54 Ford Resto:
http://www.garagejournal.com/forum/s...ad.php?t=62416
z28snksknr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2010, 11:08 AM   #6
m.james
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 230
Default Re: When is it too cold to run air compressor?

I don't believe it matters what the temperature is and plus at lower temperatures the air is more dense so it won't have to work as hard.
m.james is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2010, 11:14 AM   #7
lametec
Senior Member
 
lametec's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Michigan
Posts: 1,853
Default Re: When is it too cold to run air compressor?

As long as the oil in the pump is still liquid you're good to go.
lametec is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2010, 11:15 AM   #8
nate379
Banned
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Palmer, AK
Posts: 7,298
Default Re: When is it too cold to run air compressor?

Won't cause damage, but if it's fairly cold... -10, -20, -30, etc just keep an eye on it when it first starts up as it may slip the belt.
Synthetic oil would be a good idea.
nate379 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2010, 12:02 PM   #9
tatra
Senior Member
 
tatra's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: pirate contest city
Posts: 4,220
Default Re: When is it too cold to run air compressor?

i would drain it after use so next start up in the cold it doesn't have any load on it .............mine would trip the breaker ..........after the first cycle it was usually warm enough to overcome any resistance to pumping.........had an old interior car warmer set up at one ...........found it easier and cheaper to just drain it when finished..........
tatra is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2010, 02:11 PM   #10
Gary S
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Bismarck, ND
Posts: 2,973
Default Re: When is it too cold to run air compressor?

The owner's manual for my compressor calls for different weight oil for different temperatures, and synthetic oils flow better at low temps than mineral oils.

From my manual
3-32 degrees F SAE10
34-79 degrees F SAE20
Above 80 degrees F SAE30
Gary S is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2010, 02:35 PM   #11
A_Pmech
Super Moderator
 
A_Pmech's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: IL
Posts: 6,582
Default Re: When is it too cold to run air compressor?

When it won't start it's too cold.

That said, using the proper oil for the temperature will reduce wear and make starting easier, as others have said.

__________________
Your Finest Hammer
Building The Paulding Racer - My Blog
My Garage Machine Shop

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Stanley Hooker
One stroke to produce power and three strokes to wear it out.
A_Pmech is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2010, 03:36 PM   #12
StingRay
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Saskatoon,SK. Canada
Posts: 573
Default Re: When is it too cold to run air compressor?

I've run mine in -40. I just bump the on switch for an instant to get everything moving a couple of times and then turn it on to pump up.
StingRay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2010, 08:43 PM   #13
strelnik
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Midwest rust belt
Posts: 133
Default Re: When is it too cold to run air compressor?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin54 View Post
Just make sure you have it drained out before the temps start dropping down below freezing. By that, I mean the tank itself and any water traps you may have. Other than that, I wouldn't worry about running it while it is cold.
Kevin is DEFINITELY right, draining is super important!

Rule of thumb I have heard:
1. if it's a diaphragm compressor, NEVER below 40 degrees.

2. If it's a piston compressor or a swash plate compressor, be sure about oil level, run a few short bursts if the temp is 5 degrees or below, maybe 5-10 times, then run normally, keeping it running as long as possible to enable heat build-up to get rid of any moisture in the oil
strelnik is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2010, 08:56 PM   #14
kams1973
Alliance Member
 
kams1973's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Amarillo, TX
Posts: 1,420
Default Re: When is it too cold to run air compressor?

Using the proper oil is definately the determining factor. Also methanol in system to prevent any condensation from freezing.
kams1973 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2010, 09:14 PM   #15
Jefflitzy
Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Red Lake, ON
Posts: 42
Default Re: When is it too cold to run air compressor?

Check the pour points on synthetic oils I have found in some applications semi-synthetic oil will pour at a colder temp -41 syn vs -45 for semi-syn.
Jefflitzy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2010, 09:38 PM   #16
Identaltech
Senior Member
 
Identaltech's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Norwalk Iowa
Posts: 507
Default Re: When is it too cold to run air compressor?

When you spit on the floor and it freezes before it hits the ground, It's to cold to be out there.
Turn up the heat!
I did have a dental office with the compressor in a unheated space and we just installed electric plate heaters on the motors and it would keep the oil warm enough to keep it from tripping the breaker
Identaltech is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2010, 09:55 PM   #17
ebfabman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Concord, NC
Posts: 154
Default Re: When is it too cold to run air compressor?

I've always used an old hair dryer on the pump to warm it up in the mornings when its cold. It seems to work real good.
ebfabman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2010, 10:58 PM   #18
e-tek
Senior Member
 
e-tek's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Saskatoon, SK
Posts: 10,428
Default Re: When is it too cold to run air compressor?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ebfabman View Post
I've always used an old hair dryer on the pump to warm it up in the mornings when its cold. It seems to work real good.
HMMMM.....NOW THAT I'D LIKE TO SEE!!!!!!
e-tek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2010, 11:17 PM   #19
StingRay
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Saskatoon,SK. Canada
Posts: 573
Default Re: When is it too cold to run air compressor?

LOL when it's -40 you can hold a tiger torch on a piece of metal that heavy and it'll take quite a while for it to actually warm up. The air coming out of a hair dryer when it's really cold here is still probably below freezing.
StingRay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-06-2010, 07:35 AM   #20
Charles (in GA)
Senior Member
 
Charles (in GA)'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: 50 mi south of Atlanta
Posts: 10,656
Default Re: When is it too cold to run air compressor?

Quote:
Originally Posted by StingRay View Post
I've run mine in -40. I just bump the on switch for an instant to get everything moving a couple of times and then turn it on to pump up.
This is a real bad plan. Now you have compressed air between the tank check valve and the head of the compressor, the next start the compressor is starting on a load or the very least, a partial load, and having to work harder. This is assuming you have a pressure switch operated head pressure relief valve, which most compressors do.



Quote:
Originally Posted by tatra View Post
i would drain it after use so next start up in the cold it doesn't have any load on it .............mine would trip the breaker ..........after the first cycle it was usually warm enough to overcome any resistance to pumping.........had an old interior car warmer set up at one ...........found it easier and cheaper to just drain it when finished..........
It sounds like you have problems with your compressor. If there is pressure sitting on the head after shutdown, the head pressure relief is not doing its job. And if the pressure builds up on the head while it is sitting, the tank check valve is leaking. There is absolutely no good reason to completely de-pressurize a compressor tank while it is sitting. The pipe from the tank check valve to the head should be automatically depressurized by the head pressure relief valve, either on the pressure switch or on more expensive commercial models, a centrifugal or oil pressure operated valve dumps the pressure.

Charles
Charles (in GA) is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

Sponsored Links (Register now to hide all advertisements)


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:15 PM.