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Should I put my compressor in the attic?

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Old 01-20-2010, 08:40 AM   #1
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Should I put my compressor in the attic?

Hey guys,

I'm trying to maximize as much space as possible in my garage I wish the builder made it about 2 feet wider on each side and 2 feet deeper. I have thought about putting my 25gal air compressor up in the attic above my garage and running some sched 40 PVC lines down into the garage.

The only thing i'm worried about is how hot it gets up there in the summer time and i'm worried the motor might overheat. Has anyone done this or know anyone who has?

I'm not worried about portability since I have a little porter cable pancake compressor that I can take places and move around easily.
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Old 01-20-2010, 08:48 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macgyver View Post
Hey guys,

I'm trying to maximize as much space as possible in my garage I wish the builder made it about 2 feet wider on each side and 2 feet deeper. I have thought about putting my 25gal air compressor up in the attic above my garage and running some sched 40 PVC lines down into the garage.

The only thing i'm worried about is how hot it gets up there in the summer time and i'm worried the motor might overheat. Has anyone done this or know anyone who has?

I'm not worried about portability since I have a little porter cable pancake compressor that I can take places and move around easily.
Is it a feasable option to remove the motor and relocate it? keeping your tank in the attic and maybe attaching the motor to the ceiling of the garage.


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Old 01-20-2010, 03:03 PM   #3
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i would not run sch 40 pipe. They sell stuff just for high psi applications, and if it is going to be in a attic or a space that is hot, the pressure increases

at my fathers, we have a compressor in the basement, with a 50 or 75 foot hose mounted to the lubrication fixture. from there we can plug in smaller and shorter runs for what ever we use it for.

I never used any big impact stuff, but my father builds and repairs a lot of furniture, so this set up works great, plus you don't hear the compressor come one.

I would not put on in the attic though
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Old 01-20-2010, 03:15 PM   #4
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Do you have a basement?

Our compressor is in the basement and in the opposite corner of the basement (compared to the garage). It's all plumbed with PVC pipe. Works GREAT!!! I wish ours had a remote shut off. We only turn it on when we need it - and that requires going downstairs to do it. No biggie

Nothing wrong with putting it in the attic. Not sure how the heat would affect it.
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Old 01-20-2010, 03:42 PM   #5
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Nope I wish I had a basement. I'm on a slab. The pull down ladder to my attic is in my garage so I would have relatively easy access to it.

My next house is going to have a dedicated workshop...but for this house I have to make do with the garage. Come spring i'm going to be building an entire wall of cabinets, new workbench with cabinets underneath, paint the walls, and epoxy the floor.

The only thing I was worried about is the heat being too much and overheating the compressor.
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Old 01-20-2010, 03:42 PM   #6
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sched. 40 is fine. it can handle higher pressure then most compressors can dish out. unless your running 1000+psi on 1 1/2" pipe youll be fine. As far as heat you should be fine too. the motor isnt usually what gets super hot. the heat is caused by pressurizing air. the heat is on the compressor which is driven by the motor. one way to get around it is to wire a fan in parallel with the motors and have it directed to the cooling fins of the compressor. when the compressor is on the fan will come on. my 60gal. has a fan built right on the pulley. keeps mine plenty cool even when its 115 out. Is the compressor single or dual stage? and is the motor separate and belt drive to the pump or is it all together...

edit: the pressure chart i read was for fluid pressures being around 1000psi burst. however 1/2" sched 40 is pretty tuff stuff. if you plumb it high and run flex line down to the working area that would be cool.
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Old 01-20-2010, 04:01 PM   #7
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Its a cheap 25gal compressor from harbor freight I have had for about 4.5 years. The motor is not belt drive. Its all one unit.
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Old 01-20-2010, 09:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macgyver View Post
Its a cheap 25gal compressor from harbor freight I have had for about 4.5 years. The motor is not belt drive. Its all one unit.
oh... i woulndt trust it in the attic then. if the compressor burns up no biggy unless the garage goes up with it. time for an upgrade???
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Old 01-21-2010, 04:44 AM   #9
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no upgrade. It works fine actually. I have painted quite a few cars with it and used it for many years. I just bought a porter cable pancake compressor last weekend so I don't need to buy another new compressor. No need to to spend money on another one. I could wire a fan up there with it to cool it off.
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Old 01-21-2010, 09:16 PM   #10
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I wouldn't run schedule 40 PVC with compressed air. You will have the equivalent of a PVC pipe bomb running along your walls. I used copper pipe and I don't have to worry about something bumping and rupturing it while under pressure.
Your garage and your money so if you do, be careful!
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Old 01-21-2010, 09:47 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Holling View Post
I wouldn't run schedule 40 PVC with compressed air. You will have the equivalent of a PVC pipe bomb running along your walls. I used copper pipe and I don't have to worry about something bumping and rupturing it while under pressure.
Your garage and your money so if you do, be careful!
Have say I agree completely PVC is not the best choice for this use.
I know many use it because it is cheap but it has some drawbacks.
Galv. sch. 40 is fine and copper is my favorite as well.

I had a good sized fan in the attic years ago and had to remove it because when it ran it vibrated the trusses enough to hear and feel it in the entire house.
I bet the compressor will as well.
I like the idea of the tank up there but I would run a drain and a valve down to where I could operate it below to drain the condensation without going up there.
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Old 01-21-2010, 09:51 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Holling View Post
I wouldn't run schedule 40 PVC with compressed air. You will have the equivalent of a PVC pipe bomb running along your walls. I used copper pipe and I don't have to worry about something bumping and rupturing it while under pressure.
Your garage and your money so if you do, be careful!
How would you ever burst PVC if you're compressor tank is set low enough and all your emergency shut-offs / bleed offs are working properly?

The pressure in the PVC will be the same as the tank. If your tank is set to 125lbs max pressure - then that's hardly enough to burst PVC.
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Old 01-21-2010, 09:53 PM   #13
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Put it outside and put a little roof over it and maybe some sides on it.
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Old 01-21-2010, 09:58 PM   #14
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Most people relocate the compressor for noise / vibe issues. If you put the tank up in the attic and the compressor pump and motor in the shop area you've pretty much negated that and left the noisy part near the work area.

+1 against PVC. Check out Sears. They have a kit specifically for high pressure air lines. Link Here

I put in galvanized pipe, but I wish I'd found that Rapidair kit. I did about 50' of galvanized, and with fittings it was about $120 for one drop. For the price of that rapidair kit I would have had 2 drops which would have been nice.
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Old 01-21-2010, 10:01 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janster View Post
How would you ever burst PVC if you're compressor tank is set low enough and all your emergency shut-offs / bleed offs are working properly?

The pressure in the PVC will be the same as the tank. If your tank is set to 125lbs max pressure - then that's hardly enough to burst PVC.
It's usually that over time in non climate controlled areas the temps fluctuate enough that over time PVC gets brittle. One nudge in the wrong area and a small crack could form. Since the air expands rapidly as soon as the pressure drops it will explode, unlike water which would just leak.
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Old 01-21-2010, 10:13 PM   #16
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Not to get into a entire PVC debate, but if you notice how the pressure rating drops very quickly as the temp of the material or ambiant goes up.
The air temp leaving a piston type compressor is very hot 200+ degrees easily.

The two other main problems are hydrocarbons and PVC don't get along well.
Oil from the compressor is introduced into the pipe. It make the PVC brittle.
Sunlight or UV light hates PVC as well.
If it is exposed to sunlight it becomes very brittle.
Look at some that is exposed outside and you will see it turning brown and even black.
This is a sign that it will shatter with enough pressure or a smart tap on the pipe.
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Old 01-21-2010, 10:25 PM   #17
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last I heard, Labor & Industries, OSHA, or the Plastic Pipe Institute hasn't allowed PVC pipe to be used for compressed air unless it is enclosed or buried due to injuries that can occur from shrapnel if a rupture occurs.
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Old 01-21-2010, 10:27 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xodeuce View Post
It's usually that over time in non climate controlled areas the temps fluctuate enough that over time PVC gets brittle. One nudge in the wrong area and a small crack could form. Since the air expands rapidly as soon as the pressure drops it will explode, unlike water which would just leak.
If you build it properly and keep it indoors - you won't have problems. Besides, how many years are we talking about here? Your air compressor will probably rust before the PVC gets brittle in an indoor invironment.

And if you don't use the compressor often, shut it off and drain the air in the lines....there's nothing to worry about.
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Old 01-22-2010, 06:21 AM   #19
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Put it outside and put a little roof over it and maybe some sides on it.
No can do, HOA won't allow it. I can't even leave me trash can outside for more than 48 hours. It has to be in the garage. That doesn't bother me that much though. I think sheds and all the like outside look tacky anyways. Helps maintain property values

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Originally Posted by Janster View Post
If you build it properly and keep it indoors - you won't have problems. Besides, how many years are we talking about here? Your air compressor will probably rust before the PVC gets brittle in an indoor invironment.

And if you don't use the compressor often, shut it off and drain the air in the lines....there's nothing to worry about.
I agree. My girlfriend's dad has had PVC run on his air-compressor for 10+ years and never had it burst or leak and he keeps it pressurized pretty much all the time. Plus my system isn't going to be pressurized all the time. I always drain the system when i'm done to prevent rust in the tank. It will be indoors. My garage is insulated and I keep it heated in the winter so the I don't get large temperature swings. Plus I don't plan on being in this house for more than 2-3 more years. As soon as I can make back the $10k in negative equity I lost when the housing market collapsed i'm going to sell it.

I may just leave it in the garage and find a place for it. The garage is getting re-organized with lots of cabinets and stuff in the spring so i guess I will find a place for it then.
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