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Old 10-17-2011, 03:18 PM   #1
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Question on Air Compressor Oil in fresh water lines

Coming up on my first winter with my new AS which probably live in the driveway this winter.

I have a 32 gallon air compressor to support my collector car and motorcycle habit. Just the thing to blow out the plumbing before winter.

But should I be concerned about oil contamination from the compressor of the fresh water plumbing? I know that painting car finishes with this compressor is a bad idea because of the slight amount of oil that will get into the spray pattern.

What do people use for the air source?
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Old 10-17-2011, 03:22 PM   #2
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Owch! I wish you had asked this question before I winterized yesterday. Can't wait to see the responses to your question.
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Old 10-17-2011, 03:23 PM   #3
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Hadn't thought about that. We usually carry bottled water refilled at the house for drinking. I use my oil lubed Roll-Air for a blow out and have not noticed any issues. You could just put an oil trap in line just before the hook up to the Airstream. I used an old Speed-Air compressor to paint a '55' Chevy several years ago. Placed a disposable oil and water trap just before the spray gun and had no issues.
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Old 10-17-2011, 03:33 PM   #4
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Royce;
Had not thought of disposable trap. Great idea. Thanks.

Alumaholic;
I don't think there will be much oil in there. But I am a SCUBA diver and oil in that compressor is very bad news. YIKES
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Old 10-17-2011, 03:40 PM   #5
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There's not a lot, unless you have installed an automatic tool oiler. If you're concerned (I'm not unless the compressor is worn out) you could install an oil separater available at any body shop supplier or compressor store.
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Old 10-17-2011, 04:19 PM   #6
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Depends on the compressor type. The newer oil-less types have permanently sealed bearings and plastic piston seals so they don't put any oil into the lines. We routinely use them to feed hookah diving rigs for cleaning sailboat hulls before a race. The older oiled types do put oil into the air. Any air tool that you use will spit oil out and could contaminate your air hose, especially if they're oiled by squirting some lube oil into the air inlet fitting.

BTW, there are locations in an AS's plumbing that compressed air won't clear the water out of and your pipes could still get damaged. It's better to flush the whole system with a proper flush/prep fluid.
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Old 10-17-2011, 05:20 PM   #7
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This is an older compressor with nice oiling for tools. Looks like a disposable seporator at the business end of the hose is the way to go.

And thanks Crusty. I am planning this to be phase one of winterizing. Phase two is pink cocktail for the plumbing.
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Old 10-17-2011, 05:32 PM   #8
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This is an older compressor with nice oiling for tools. Looks like a disposable seporator at the business end of the hose is the way to go.
Hmmm. Disposable separator. Yep. I've got one of those. Perhaps next winter.
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Old 10-27-2013, 08:00 PM   #9
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Owch! I wish you had asked this question before I winterized yesterday. Can't wait to see the responses to your question.
did you have any problems? I just blew my lines with an oil-compressor
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Old 10-27-2013, 08:19 PM   #10
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did you have any problems? I just blew my lines with an oil-compressor
Well, I've used the same compressor for years without any perceptible oil pollution.
That said, I intend to install a filter before I winterize with it again.
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Old 10-28-2013, 06:28 AM   #11
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Quote:
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BTW, there are locations in an AS's plumbing that compressed air won't clear the water out of and your pipes could still get damaged. It's better to flush the whole system with a proper flush/prep fluid.
As I just mentioned on another thread, if you do get oil contamination in your fresh water system, your best bet is to flush the whole system with HOT water, then drain it and start over.
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Old 10-28-2013, 07:07 AM   #12
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I think you worry too much. A little oil will soon wash out of the lines. Most compressors use 30W non-detergent oil so there is not much in it that is going to harm you. Used motor oil is a different story mainly because of all the combustion by products that end up in the oil. You probably are not going to get any appreciable oil anyway. You should drain the tank on the compressor of excess water and oil sludge periodically to preserve the tank and reduce the crap that leaves the tank. There is usually a little valve at the bottom of the tank and you will be surprised at all the gunk that comes out of there. Take it out in the yard with a full tank of air to clean out the tank.

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Old 10-28-2013, 09:15 AM   #13
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What Perry Said

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I think you worry too much. A little oil will soon wash out of the lines. Most compressors use 30W non-detergent oil so there is not much in it that is going to harm you. Used motor oil is a different story mainly because of all the combustion by products that end up in the oil. You probably are not going to get any appreciable oil anyway. You should drain the tank on the compressor of excess water and oil sludge periodically to preserve the tank and reduce the crap that leaves the tank. There is usually a little valve at the bottom of the tank and you will be surprised at all the gunk that comes out of there. Take it out in the yard with a full tank of air to clean out the tank.

Perry
Perhaps this is why I've never had an issue. I purge the tank often.
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Old 10-28-2013, 10:39 AM   #14
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I ended up buying a new 6 gallon portable compressor so I can maintain all the tires while on the road. No oiled tools are used with this one. But I use a disposable water/oil trap on the business end any way. Can you say "belt and suspenders?"

Oh and now I am friends with the neighbors with RVs. ;-)
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