An air compressor is a device that compresses the air to create pressure. When we talk about the fact that it generates high pressures, the main question that comes to mind immediately is: can an air compressor explode?
An air compressor explosion occurs occasionally, but why? One of the common causes is condensation inside the air tank, which causes corrosion, or a manufacturing flaw. As a result, compressed air tanks explode. You can avoid these explosions by regular maintenance.
We will also discuss other possibilities of explosions in this article, as well as preventative measures.
- 1 Can an Air Compressor Explode?
- 2 What Can Cause an Air Compressor to Explode or Blow Up?
- 2.1 1. Fault In Pressure Shut off Switch
- 2.2 2. An Electrical Spark Can Lead To An Explosion
- 2.3 3. Can an Air Compressor Explode Due to Manufacturing Fault?
- 2.4 4. Lack of Lubrication & Cooling
- 2.5 5. Can an Air Compressor Explode Due to Improper Installation?
- 2.6 6. Corrosion on Compressed Air Tank (Rust is the Most Common)
- 2.7 7. Air Compressors are Placed Near Igniting Component
- 2.8 8. Can an Air Compressor Explode Due to Unfiltered Air?
- 2.9 9. Improper Maintenance
- 3 Prevention of Air Compressor Tank Explosion.
- 3.1 1. Lubricate the Components of an Air Compressor.
- 3.2 2. Properly Install the Compressor and its Valves
- 3.3 3. Drain the Compressor Tank After Use
- 3.4 4. Always read the User Manual for Setting the Right Pressure
- 3.5 5. Always buy a High-Quality Air Compressor
- 3.6 6. Check for Regular Maintenance
- 3.7 Residential or Commercial Air Compressors – Which One is More Dangerous?
- 4 Are Old Air Compressors Prone to Explode?
- 5 How Much Damage can an Exploding Air-Compressor Cause?
- 6 How Often Do air Compressors Explode?
- 7 Air Compressor Maintenence Tips
- 8 Conclusion
- 9 FAQs
Can an Air Compressor Explode?
Yes, the air compressor can explode. Mostly it happens because of corrosion in the tank. It compromises the integrity, which pressurizes the compressed air and leads to the compressor rupture or explosion. You can easily avoid it by monitoring and maintaining the compressor.
We will talk about the maintaining tips further in the article.
What Can Cause an Air Compressor to Explode or Blow Up?
Remember that the air compressor already contains every element that will cause tank explosions, such as heat, fuel, and oxygen. But there may be other causes that contribute to blasts, and these are the ones we have listed below:
1. Fault In Pressure Shut off Switch
The pressure switch is a leading cause of air compressor explosions. It can cause oil leaks or a rupture in its cylinder, leading to an air compressor explosion. If your pressure switch fails and your compressor continues to run, it will overheat. Make sure to check the switch frequently and turn the machine off if any problems arise.
2. An Electrical Spark Can Lead To An Explosion
Another possibility for air compressor explosions is faulty wiring. There can be any damaged wire or any wire that is not working correctly.
You must know where electrical components lie within your unit before operating it, as well as use electrician-approved parts when repairing it yourself. If done wrong, there are chances sparks can ignite flammable liquids in your system leading up to an air compressor.
3. Can an Air Compressor Explode Due to Manufacturing Fault?
Air compressor explosions can happen if the machine is faulty. If there are any production or manufacturing defects, it can easily lead to an air compressor explosion.
In the case of a damaged air compressor or a compressor manufactured with low-quality parts, the air compressor can explode.
Regularly check for visible signs, like leaks around your system’s regulator valves as well as loose bolts that hold the cylinders in place.
4. Lack of Lubrication & Cooling
Your compressor can explode if there is not enough oil in it. If you are unsure about how much Lubrication to use, consult the owner’s manual. In case you have any concerns make sure to speak to a professional before reuse.
If air compressor tanks overheat, it can cause the pressure within the cylinder to increase up to 2000 PSI, leading to an explosion of compressed air tanks.
How to fix the cooling issue? Regularly perform maintenance, such as oil changes and filter replacements, and ensure the machine has adequate ventilation.
5. Can an Air Compressor Explode Due to Improper Installation?
If you’re installing your compressor, then you need to read the instructions carefully. There can be any issues with wiring or any other problem.
A poorly installed air compressor may suffer leaks or damage from poor wiring, resulting in an air compressor explosion. We do recommend you not to install it yourself but seek some professional help.
6. Corrosion on Compressed Air Tank (Rust is the Most Common)
When the outside of your air compressor tank develops rust, it could signal corrosion of internal parts, such as the gaskets and valves, which can cause an air compressor explosion.
You should make sure to repair any possible external damage, especially before operating your air compressor again.
How to Check for Corrosion
These are the different methods to check corrosion:
- Firstly, immersion: to check what changes will occur in the material in the water.
- Visual or salt spray
- Electrical resistance (testing)
7. Air Compressors are Placed Near Igniting Component
It is best to keep an air compressor away from flames, sparks, or other combustibles. You will be able to prevent possibly damaging damages caused by heat thereby, reducing the probability of your system malfunctioning and resulting in an explosion.
An air compressor can overheat. A sudden increase in pressure could result in an air compressor explosion. It is crucial to ensure proper ventilation in your workspace and perform regular maintenance on machines, including oil changes and filter replacements.
8. Can an Air Compressor Explode Due to Unfiltered Air?
Ensure that you maintain the system properly if you use the air compressor for power tools or for anything that needs filtered air.
Without filtered air, there can be a risk of an explosion and build-up, which will cause the system to break down.
9. Improper Maintenance
Regular maintenance is one of the best ways to prevent any damage that may lead to an air compressor explosion. You should clean and oil your machine’s filters regularly according to the manufacturer’s instructions to keep the system safe and work for a long time.
Prevention of Air Compressor Tank Explosion.
1. Lubricate the Components of an Air Compressor.
Regularly lubricating the components of your air compressor will prevent damage that can lead to an explosion of your tank. It is best to take the help of professionals since they will maintain the system well and help ensure its safety and long life.
2. Properly Install the Compressor and its Valves
It is best to let the professionals handle the installation of the air compressor. It will not only make the work faster and easier but also safer for everyone. When installing an air compressor, you should pay particular attention to the drain valves and other components and follow the instructions carefully.
3. Drain the Compressor Tank After Use
It is necessary to make sure to drain the compressor tank after every use. It will prevent corrosion and will prolong the life of your air compressor. Make sure to check if the drain valve is working fine.
4. Always read the User Manual for Setting the Right Pressure
During the installation of the air compressor, it is always important to read the instructions. You should also follow the instructions when setting the air compressor pressure. When the correct pressure is applied, the air compressor will function normally. However, if high levels or low pressure occur, the compressor may explode.
5. Always buy a High-Quality Air Compressor
Air compressors of good quality are relatively expensive. However, spending a lot of money upfront is better rather than again and again by purchasing low-quality products just because they are cheaper.
Furthermore, it is better to buy expensive goods than to risk your life. They will last for much longer too. Usually, there is less chance of air tank explosion in high-quality air compressors.
6. Check for Regular Maintenance
Make sure your compressor is maintained regularly to ensure safety. An expert will do the work to ensure the machines are properly lubricated and are working correctly to prevent an explosion.
Checking the oil is a crucial part of air compressor maintenance. Make sure the required levels of fuel are in place to prevent any damage.
Replacement of Filters
Maintenance and replacement of air filters are essential to prevent dust from entering the air compressor. If you do not clean or replace them, dust will get into the compressor and possibly cause an explosion.
Replacement of worn-out compressor belts.
It is necessary to replace worn-out belts. If you do not replace worn-out compressor belts regularly, it can lead to explosions.
Residential or Commercial Air Compressors – Which One is More Dangerous?
Both residential and commercial air compressors can be dangerous. Residential air compressors are more common than commercial ones due to their low cost. They are also less reliable and of lower quality.
But when it comes to commercial compressors, they are expensive, require a great deal of money, but are reliable and well-made.
Although both compressor types pose a risk, the commercial types are slightly more hazardous since they require more maintenance. A minor mishap can cause an explosion.
Are Old Air Compressors Prone to Explode?
Yes, an old air compressor can explode if you do not monitor them and there is no maintenance. You can never directly use a compressor without checking it thoroughly. But are they prone to? No, when they are in good condition and monitored ( they will not explode).
How Much Damage can an Exploding Air-Compressor Cause?
The damage from the compressor’s explosion depends on the tank’s size. If the air compressor is small, it will be banged from the explosion, and other than the damage to the compressor, the walls near will get damaged. But for larger compressors, the explosion will lead to a loud bang, and not only will the compressor get damaged, but the area where it is placed will be damaged. ( always place larger compressor in open and ventilated areas).
How Often Do air Compressors Explode?
An air compressor explosion is rare and usually has a specific cause, and it can result from valve damage or manufacturing issues, installation issues, or heat. However, if you take proper care of it, there are very few or no chances of a severe mishap.
Air Compressor Maintenence Tips
- Check the nuts and bolts (they should not be loose or extra tight)
- It should have clean intake valves
- Check hoses and pumps
- Check and clean the filters of the compressor
- Drain and let it dry ( no moisture)
- Fuel take should be clean
- Change the oil of the compressor
- Change or clean the oil/air separators
Compressors create pressure. However, can an air compressor explode from pressure? The answer is yes; this can cause an explosion. There are other causes of them as well.
Ventilation, oil, switches, manufacture, installation, or other causes are covered in the article in detail. It is crucial to take a few precautions with air compressors, such as regular maintenance, professional installation, and regular checks of oil and filters.
Can an air compressor explode if left on?
No, you can leave your compressor on for a day. It will not immediately affect the compressor, but the continuous pressure in the tank will weaken the seal.
Can an air compressor explode in heat?
Yes, when there is poor lubrication, it increases friction and leads the oil into valves. The oil can cause an explosion; poor lubrication causes overheating, leading to compressor explosion.
Is it Safe if I don’t drain my air compressor?
It is recommended to drain the compressor regularly or after every use because otherwise, it will cause rusting in the bottom of the compressor tank, which is unsafe.
Hamza is a founder of Compressors Insights. He is an Electrical Engineer having strong experience in Technical and Power tools. He has been helping electricians, and HVAC technicians regarding tool selection, and how to use power tools (Compressors, Pressure Washers, Multimeters, etc)