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  • Copper pipe for Compressed Air loop

    This is not really a plumbing question, well, maybe, heck I aint sure!

    Does anyone have any experience with using copper pipe for compressed air runs.

    I want to make a loop around my Garage and I would really like to use copper pipe. I just wanted to hear some opinions first. Good and/or bad?

    Regards,

  • #2
    Re: Copper pipe for Compressed Air loop

    No problem, Type M is fine. Make sure all the lines run downhill and install a drain port at the end of each run

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Copper pipe for Compressed Air loop

      Cool,

      Just needed someone to tell me it would be ok, I could not think of a reason why it would not work fine.

      I will be running 1" for the main with all of the outlets coming of with a "tee" turned up and two elbows to get me back down. The pipe loop will be at the ceiling level and I will have a downfall on it as well.The drops will all be 3/4" copper. I will also have a blow down at the end of the run.

      Thanks for the input.
      Last edited by biscuit; 05-01-2007, 02:36 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Copper pipe for Compressed Air loop

        I think that 1" might be overkill, I only had about 50' of 1/2" pipe but saw no loss even on large consumption sanders. Even at 200' I think 3/4" would be lots. If you think about a 3/8" hose the inside diameter of even a 1/2" pipe is significantly larger.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Copper pipe for Compressed Air loop

          wbrooks,

          I agree that the 1 inch is overkill, I am primarily using it for a little added volume. My compressor has a 25gal. tank. By using the 1" copper, I will add around 5 more gallons of system capacity, which is a 20% increase. The loop wil be around 110 feet total and I just wanted a little extra volume to the system.

          I know copper is real expensive right now, but I work for probalby the largest /maybe 2nd largest mechanical/plumbing contractor in the state; as a result, I usually get all of my stuff either free/or very cheap. This job has a lot of advantages with the suppliers.
          Last edited by biscuit; 05-01-2007, 04:08 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Copper pipe for Compressed Air loop

            3/4'' is more than big enough. i would just connect a 5-10 gallon portable tank to the line. this will act as a surge tank and also allow you to disconnect and fill the tires at a remote location if need be.

            copper is at an all time high. there is no such thing as free. someone had to pay for it.

            an added air tank is a better idea than pipe to add volume. think of all the minor projects that the compressor will not need to run that much longer on. 25 gallons is plenty big. when i need more volume, i connect an extra 40 gallon used water heater to it. although tis is rare, it works when i need it. the tank is dry and sound. the heater was only a few weeks old when it was removed from service.

            rick.

            110' of 1'' m copper is still worth $3.00 a foot. plus the fitiings and all the extras. a portable tank is less than $40.
            Last edited by PLUMBER RICK; 05-01-2007, 05:08 PM. Reason: copper cost.
            phoebe it is

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Copper pipe for Compressed Air loop

              Originally posted by PLUMBER RICK View Post
              3/4'' is more than big enough. i would just connect a 5-10 gallon portable tank to the line. this will act as a surge tank and also allow you to disconnect and fill the tires at a remote location if need be.

              copper is at an all time high. there is no such thing as free. someone had to pay for it.

              an added air tank is a better idea than pipe to add volume. think of all the minor projects that the compressor will not need to run that much longer on. 25 gallons is plenty big. when i need more volume, i connect an extra 40 gallon used water heater to it. although tis is rare, it works when i need it. the tank is dry and sound. the heater was only a few weeks old when it was removed from service.

              rick.

              110' of 1'' m copper is still worth $3.00 a foot. plus the fitiings and all the extras. a portable tank is less than $40.
              I'm going to strongly, and I mean strongly, strongly,strongly,strongly,strongly,strongly,
              advise you not to use a used water heater as a pressure vessel. It is not designed for that, it is dangerous, and, to be honest, I've lost alot of respect for Rick if he is advising that.
              the dog

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Copper pipe for Compressed Air loop

                Originally posted by plumbdog10 View Post
                I'm going to strongly, and I mean strongly, strongly,strongly,strongly,strongly,strongly,
                advise you not to use a used water heater as a pressure vessel. It is not designed for that, it is dangerous, and, to be honest, I've lost alot of respect for Rick if he is advising that.

                slow down dog

                i didn't tell him to use a water heater. i said that i have used one on occasion and that it was only a few weeks old. these are hydro tested to 300 psi. the tank is dry and sound and it only gets filled to 125 max.

                i told him to use a 5-10 gallon portable air tank. like the kind they sell to fill tires.

                reread my post word for word and you should understand what i said to do


                rick.
                Last edited by PLUMBER RICK; 05-01-2007, 10:41 PM.
                phoebe it is

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Copper pipe for Compressed Air loop

                  Originally posted by PLUMBER RICK View Post
                  slow down dog

                  i didn't tell him to use a water heater. i said that i have used one on occasion and that it was only a few weeks old. these are hydro tested to 300 psi. the tank is dry and sound and it only gets filled to 125 max.

                  i told him to use a 5-10 gallon portable air tank. like the kind they sell to fill tires.

                  reread my post word for word and you should understand what i said to do


                  rick.
                  They are "hydro" tested, not air tested to 300psi. There is a difference. I would not advise using a used or new water heater as an air tank.
                  the dog

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Copper pipe for Compressed Air loop

                    Originally posted by plumbdog10 View Post
                    They are "hydro" tested, not air tested to 300psi. There is a difference. I would not advise using a used or new water heater as an air tank.
                    dog, are you playing word games or just don't want to acknowledge what i said.

                    the heater was my way for a 1 time sand blaster.

                    the portable air tank was the recommendation i gave for him. they sell these at home depot and every auto parts/ pep boys out there.

                    ps. hydro testing is just a safer way to test pressure vessels/ tanks. pressure is pressure. also the pressure relief valve is still on the tank. remember this is what i've done, not what i told them to do.

                    read the post, then make up your mind.

                    i'm glad that you and i agree that a water heater tank is not recommended.

                    rick.
                    phoebe it is

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Copper pipe for Compressed Air loop

                      Dang, I did not intend to open up a can of worms here

                      I do understand what you mean about the tank Rick, I also understand dogs position as well.

                      I do a lot of other things besides woodworking in the shop. I do a lot of welding and use air drills a lot. The drills give my poor little compressor a hard time. Adding 5 gallons to capacity wont help that situation enough to matter.

                      I just hate to hear the darn thing running when I am woodworking and dont have the room to upgrade to a 80+ gallon compressor/tank right now.

                      I really want to get a 80-120 gallon pressure vessel and install a larger compressor outside the new shop when it is built.

                      Many thanks for all the advise.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Copper pipe for Compressed Air loop

                        I read somewhere water pressure at 100 lbs would be close to 3 times higher in air pressure or 300 psi. Not something to play around with. Just because your water heater worked for you Rick. Not A safe idea to throw out there. Besides the man has the pipe to run, best way to go, not the cheapest but safe.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Copper pipe for Compressed Air loop

                          Originally posted by freddy View Post
                          I read somewhere water pressure at 100 lbs would be close to 3 times higher in air pressure or 300 psi. Not something to play around with. Just because your water heater worked for you Rick. Not A safe idea to throw out there. Besides the man has the pipe to run, best way to go, not the cheapest but safe.
                          freddy, please explain how water pressure at 100# is 3x higher in air pressure or let me explain since i know what you're trying to get at.

                          the rate of expansion of a liquid, that doesn't expand or compress, compared to the rate of expansion of a gas/ air that compresses and expands is a whole lot more than 3 to 1. that is the reason why tanks are hydro tested and not air tested. the tank will still hold the same 300# either air or liquid. it's just if the tank were to explode, compressed air would be a hell of an explosion water would be a hell of a leak

                          has anyone that is questioning my own statements installed as many water heaters as i have? a tank tested to 300# will hold 300# psig. considering i never went over 125# and had a pressure relief valve set at 150#. the new tank will not explode, it will leak like every other old leaking water heater has done.
                          the exploding water heaters are caused by super heated water turning to steam and water is introduced into the tank causing even more rapid expansion. this is when there is no pressure, temperature relief valve. the thermostat has failed and the high limit cut out has also failed. last but not least, this would be on a closed system with a check valve. pressure will back up otherwise and go back into the main.

                          out of the 50+ million installed in the usa, when was the last time you,you've seen or heard of a water heater that exploded?

                          hope i cleared this up and educated the ones in question.


                          at what point did i tell him to use a water heater tank?

                          the tank was an example of what i did, since i had a new tank, 2 weeks old and it worked for me on a sandblasting job.

                          everyone reread the post and it says to use a portable 5 to 10 gallon air tank. these tanks are the ones that you use to fill a tire. they sell them at auto parts stores and home depot. the best location for this extra tank would be the closes to the point of use. it will act as a surge tank if the volume feeding the line drops, and as an extra capacity tank to keep the compressor from cycling as often. it will run longer to refill though.

                          installing 100' of 1'' copper is not only a very expensive option, but a waste of power every time you turn on the compressor for a small job.

                          personally i own 6 compressors. 2 gas powered wheelbarrow style, and 4 electric powered compressors. i use the compressor that matches the size of the job that i'm doing. to run an over sized compressor on a little job is a waste. to run an undersized compressor creates a lot of wear and tear. most compressors have less than a 50% duty cycle. the best ones are 100%.

                          last point, please quote me where i told someone to use a water heater tank.

                          what i do as a professional and what advise i give to others is safe. a water heater was not advice given to others.

                          rick.
                          phoebe it is

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Copper pipe for Compressed Air loop

                            I wrote one post and deleted it, deciding not to get into this discussion, but I guess I will wade in as well,

                            first pressure is pressure, is is what it says it is, X number of pounds of force against one square inch of the surface,

                            that force can be in gas, liquid, or solid forms.

                            the difference is the stored energy in the force, gases usually have the greatest stored energy, (the greatest expansion) thus the danger in compressed air systems.

                            on hydro testing there is not a reserve of hundreds of cubic feed of stored energy behind it, some times there is less than a few cubic inches of extra liquid, thus if it fails you basically rip a seam or create a pin hole, since there is not stored energy behind it, the movement of the tank or vessel being tested jsut fails, not explodes,
                            (that is why hydro testing is used for the safeness of the procedure),

                            it has been know or stated for years that you do not use water tanks or heaters for air tanks,

                            why because in years past, they were not created the same, some of the safety recommendations come from when the tanks were riveted together and tested for 40 or 80 pounds of air if tested or Rated at all,

                            If the Hydro test was for 300 pounds then the tank should safely hold half of that,
                            the relief valve was left installed it would again done it job to relieve pressure,


                            Is it good to cross use products NO, Is it recommended NO,

                            but it sounds like the tank Rick was using was as good or may be even better than many on the non ASME rated air tanks, (at lest it was a rated tank).
                            the biggest danger was the capacity of the tank, as it had so much more kinetic energy in it,
                            I will bet that the air bubbles tanks are not constructed any better than what that good tested water tank would been.

                            AGAIN I AM NOT SUGGESTING THAT ANY ONE USE HOT WATER HEATER FOR AIR TANKS,
                            USE A TANK MADE FOR THAT PURPOSE,
                            I suggest a ASME rated tank or tanks.

                            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                            the biggest threat to air tanks is water, DRAIN THE WATER OUT DAILY.

                            If you need to put in a petcock on small tanks so you will and can easily drain them daily, if it is hard to do you will not do it, on stationary pipe in a valve, (I like 1/4 turn ball valves), watch where the discharge is located, (if you have a two stage stationary compressor (175 psi) that is a lot of force behind that water and when the air comes a lot of debris can be kicked up. where eye protection when draining the tank, and if it has a plug never remove it under pressure, they also make automatic drains for air systems.

                            by draining the water off it will also keep your air much dryer, as when the pressure drops quickly in the tank it will not "boil" the water back into the air that is being discharge, (like opening up a can of pop)

                            If using a regulator use one of adequate sizing for the air the tools need,
                            the tools will respond so much better when you have adequate air supply behind them, (I ordered a regulator one time, and miss ordered the number getting the next size larger than planed, it was the best mistakes I have made).


                            even on the piping system one should add a ASME rated safety valve, the home owner systems hardly ever use a rated tank or valves in the construction of the air compressors,
                            Last edited by BHD; 05-02-2007, 11:50 AM.
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                            • #15
                              Re: Copper pipe for Compressed Air loop

                              thank you bhd. i see that you understand air, tanks, expansion and my post. you are qualified to speak of this.

                              the thing that gets me is dog and freddy, not being able to read and understand my point. i would have thought dog would understand what i said.
                              freddy i have no idea what he does but he didn't read or understand my point or explanation.

                              thanks bhd for re explaining my point

                              rick.
                              phoebe it is

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