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dwacker

Copper to plumb compressor.

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I'm moving compressor into the rafters and after fighting iron pipe plumbing the big shop I'm thinking copper would be easier with the little compressor. Is there anything special about copper pipe that I need to know. I was thinking I'd just run to hd and use whatever they had but if it won't last id like to know up front. I have My garage done in iron but the compressor is large and I have an inground lift but was hoping for the little compressor it would not be needed. Any advise?

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There is a heavier grade of copper available but the price could be prohibitive. I would just look for pressure limits on copper pipe with sweated fittings. I have heard of PVC air lines exploding from stress cracks.

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The good compressors use flexible copper for pressure switch shutoff control. That stuff is really small but the fact that it exists this way in a pressurized environment means there must be a table to reference out there somewhere. The new shop air stuff is aluminum and comes flexible like stainless gas line. Let me try to find source info since I did not make the material order.

http://www.eastwood.com/3-4-inch-professsional-compressed-air-line-kit.html?srccode=ga220010&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=zzproduct_ads&adtype=pla&kw=&matchtype=&network=g&creativeid=27631097607&placement=&producttargetid=54067579167&gclid=CLGTkZqS9LwCFas-Mgod30sAjg

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Ignoring speciality applications, copper pipe comes in a couple of grades: M, Lc, Ls, K. Fittings are generally Lc.
 
Home depot usually carries M and Lc.
 
For shop air, I’d use Lc. Type M is really thin and would not use it in that application.
 
For connecting the compressor to the copper run, there are flex hose connections. I typically get mine from McMasterCarr: http://www.mcmaster.com/#catalog/120/260/=qx416q
 
Note: Sometimes Lc is labeled as 'L' and Ls is labeled as 'S'. If you are at the BORG and see 'L' pipe, it's Lc.

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For a compressor that puts out 120psi you'd be okay using M copper. You'll save a few bucks over L and it's plenty strong enough. Use 95/5 solder as it is cheaper than and has a higher tensile strength than a "water safe" canfield solder. Be aware if you valve your system there are new valves that are for potable water systems that contain no lead that don't play nice with regular utility flux. Nibco recommends Oatey water soluble H20 flux for those valves. In your case you don't need potable water lead free valves, so make sure you don't get those. You'd be over paying and likely have problems with the joints if you're not up to speed with how they react to heat and flux.

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I ran a small amount of copper for my compressor many years ago.  It has done very well.  Also, keep in mind, that if copper does fail, it will be a split in the copper with no shrapnel.  This is why it is favored over PVC.   I used left over copper that I had from doing some plumbing work.

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PEX has been used by some but you need to know a few things. It is only rated to 150 psi so standard shop pressures approach the max rating. Certain fittings for PEX will not hold air so fitting selection is key. PEX is not rated for ANY UV exposure. It must be sealed away from even fluorescent tubes and indirect sunlight to get long life. That said, Google it. I did several years ago and there were guys that had successfully run PEX for four or five years at that point. With a spare coil and some fittings in the closet, you would be hard pressed to find a faster system to repair.

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==>For a compressor that puts out 120psi you'd be okay using M copper.

The issue isn't psi. The issue is robustness. Unlike residential supply lines, shop air lines are typically exposed. Type M really doesn't take kindly to the bangs, dents, stray hits, et al so common in a shop environment. You can do M, but it's really not recommended for that application. Some only recommend black pipe runs (required if you need inspections) but that's getting up there in cost.

Considering labor rate, the material cost between M and L is probably in the noise --- unless we're talking hundreds of ft -- in which case you're already running inch and a quarter, so it's expensive no matter what you decide...

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Agree trip. Depends how many feet as to what the savings really is, it may be negligable. I was just pointing out it's sufficient for that pressure. 

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Just curious about putting the compressor in the rafters? Can you drain the tank? Most manufacturers recommend draining the tank occasionally to let the moisture out. Prevents the bottom from rusting out. Just a thought.

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It is not difficult to plumb the drain down to a reachable level. Most drain cocks are simply threaded into the tank.

They also make auto drains.

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Just curious about putting the compressor in the rafters? Can you drain the tank? Most manufacturers recommend draining the tank occasionally to let the moisture out. Prevents the bottom from rusting out. Just a thought.

 

I just have a purpose made auto drain. Really just a valve with a timer that blast out the water every hour to a hose that goes outside.

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I did get the compressor up into the raftes and the drain hose ran but ADD got the best of me and ended up not getting the air line done but did get a real nice set of Bose ceiling speakers installed. :) I think Im just going to order an air line kit with the connectors from Rocker. I also got the turbine up there and am just going to put in a pvc drop for it.

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Pb, you should document your work!

Typing on cell phone. I apologize for any typing errors.

 

Nobody wants to see my ugly ass standing on a wobbly 3 ft tall ladder holding compressor on his head ready to fall.

 

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Turbine in rafters --

Q. During summer months, will higher heat in roof area interfere with finish? Just a thought...

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Turbine in rafters --

Q. During summer months, will higher heat in roof area interfere with finish? Just a thought...

 

I dont see an issue other than maybe on the few days a year it actually gets hot here needing a bit more retarder.

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==>maybe on the few days a year it actually gets hot here

 

ahhh, Tacoma WA... Good point.  Ridge vent in your shop?

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==>maybe on the few days a year it actually gets hot here

 

ahhh, Tacoma WA... Good point.  Ridge vent in your shop?

 

Ya at both ends and bird blocks.

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