Plumbing garage for compressed air

Discussion in 'Camping and Outdoor Gear' started by beanz2, Apr 25, 2004.

  1. beanz2

    beanz2 Moderator

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    I'm thinking of plumbing the garage in a new house for compressed air. I'll have a 220V compressor mounted in a closet in the corner and I'm thinking of running copper air lines within the walls (under sheetrock) except where it has to run along one side which is actually a retaining wall. The lines will run to 2 ceiling- or wall-mounted hose retractors, on each side of the garage. I'd like some suggestions on the air line design please:

    1. Is 1/2" copper lines what I want, or do I need larger diameter or smaller?
    2. Do I need any drains along the lines for moisture? Thinking I will have a filter/separator on the compressor before it connects to the copper air lines.
    3. The compressor will likely be floor mounted (80 gal). Is there need to keep a flexible line between the compressor and the rest of the plumbing? I'm guessing yes, but do I run a short rubber line or what?
    4. Is it better not to mount the lines under sheetrock? IOW, do the lines ever need maintenance? Likely I will have a professional plumber install it since it is a new home construction.
    5. Are 2 hose retractors enough? In the picture I attached, the red X's mark where they are to be mounted. Should I install more air outlets?
    6. There will be a long extension of the lines to a carport off the hallway to the left upper corner (not in the pic) for a beadblaster, etc. Should the line be installed at a slight slope to allow whatever moisture, oil, etc. that got past the filter/separator to run downhill and drain at the other end?

    One thing I'm bummed about is that the garage ceiling is only 11 ft tall, and to lift it higher it messes up the rest of the house a bit (e.g. the living room above it will be much higher than the rest of the house). I guess I can live without a 2 post lift :)

    Your comments are welcome,
    Dave

    edited to make picture smaller
  2. beanz2

    beanz2 Moderator

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    I guess I have to post the pic separately.
  3. tewlman

    tewlman

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    the copper should work fine, make sure you put some inline drains in. imo put 4 outlets in, one in each corner. and unless you plan on using it a whole lot, why both putting it in a closet, could save a few$$$
  4. beanz2

    beanz2 Moderator

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    Should the lines be sloped a bit toward the drain points? The compressor will be used a whole lot, just trying to isolate it for noise reasons.

    Dave
  5. Junk

    Junk

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    Don't most folks use black pipe for this? I was going to plumb mine out with pipe, but decided to just connect up a bunch of rubber hose instead. Can always just cut it and add in new if needed. - it's just cheap and easy.

    Drain points are a good idea, but I would keep all of this external to the wall.

    Definitely put in some flex line between the comp and the hard lines.

    If you are running this inside the walls, then I'd recommend you use a cooler if you're going to be using it a lot.

    There are some home made coolers with drains that are made out of copper pipe.

    Here's a few
  6. Brentbba

    Brentbba Former Golfer SILVER Star

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    Father-in-law has his entire workshop and carport area plumbed to an air compressor. He just used Sch 40 PVC. It's an indoor and outdoor application in NoCal. Easy and cheaper than copper.
  7. beanz2

    beanz2 Moderator

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    Thanks for the replies, guys. Keep them coming. Junk, the pic for the cooler did not show, could you repost it? Just how hot does a compressed air line run? Hotter than, say, hot water plumbing?

    Brent, any idea how much pressure Sch40 PVC can take? I will be running up to 120 psi in the lines. Just thinking of the glued-on elbows and ends.

    Dave
  8. The Dude

    The Dude

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    I just did this (external on the walls though) and used 1" copper pipe. I used two ball valves, one on the drain and one into the air fitting. This way I can turn off the air if I need to replace anything.

    I find the bigger the pipe the better, same goes for soft lines. I run 3/4 to everything.
  9. Brentbba

    Brentbba Former Golfer SILVER Star

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    Don't remember offhand what sch 40 can handle. It's printed on the side of it at any home imp. store. If I had to guess from memory, it's either 120 or 200 psi.
  10. VTCruiser

    VTCruiser

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    beanz, what size compressor ya got? just curious as to what people are running in home shops...
  11. haystax

    haystax

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    Check out some autobody sites for suggestions, just about anything will work for running air tools but since you are going at this while building the house, it would be better to not have to go back later. I think that the copper is a good idea, should help with condensation issues. Overhead hose-reels are really handy, one installed in the center of the ceiling would reach everywhere, this would slope your lines towards to tank and help with moisture issues as well.

  12. Don't use PVC for air - it can explode and turn to shrapnel. There is a PVC like material specifically made for airlines, but it is spendy. Copper is your best bet.

    Jim
  13. beanz2

    beanz2 Moderator

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    OK, I'll see about using copper then. If it doesn't add too much to the price I'll see about using the 1" lines. The ball valve suggestion is a good one. Does everybody think a regular plumber is knowledgeable enough about compressed air lines? A heck lot more than I know for sure :)

    Gehn, I'm going to get an 80 gal. compressor, or a 120 gal. if I can afford it. I love to beadblast parts and my current 30 gal. just runs out of air after 5 minutes or so.

    You guys are #1.

    Dave
  14. scottm

    scottm

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    I've done some pipefitting, never seen copper used for this, just black or galvanized steel pipe. Most hardware stores sell a small hardware reference book with tons of usefull references and formulas for a couple bucks, everyone should have one. It has formulas for pipe size for different lengths and capacities of air line systems, as well as air requirements for various tools. How loud is your compressor under the living area above? You might want to plan some rubber isolators and sound deadening. The sand blaster sounds like your biggest draw, and it's the farthest from the compressor, that's unfortunate.
  15. beanz2

    beanz2 Moderator

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    [quote author=Scott M. link=board=14;threadid=15339;start=msg145791#msg145791 date=1083032765]
    How loud is your compressor under the living area above? You might want to plan some rubber isolators and sound deadening. The sand blaster sounds like your biggest draw, and it's the farthest from the compressor, that's unfortunate.
    [/quote]

    I still have plenty of time to move it around. The plans is not yet submitted to the city. The space above the garage is the living room, if I put the compressor in the carport, it will be below the dining room, much closer to the family room. I figure on putting some insulation within the closet walls where the compressor is kept. Should I set it on some rubber padding too? The garage floor will be 4" of concrete.

    Is distance from the compressor that a big disadvantage? When I use my current beadblaster, I have the pressure turned down to 80 psi anyway because that is what the beadblaster manufacturer recommends.

    Dave
  16. Junk

    Junk

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    Location:
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  17. Junk

    Junk

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    Location:
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  18. beanz2

    beanz2 Moderator

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  19. Junk

    Junk

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    Yeah, I've learned a lot over there. Some great guys and same as here, for the most part, no such thing as a dumb question, just a dumb person asking a question :D , well, you know what I mean :D
  20. scottm

    scottm

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    Location:
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    I was setting up a machine at a customers fairly new factory yesterday, and they had all copper air lines, miles of them. Amazing, since this was the company I used to work at putting in steel air lines many years ago. So I guess copper pipe is widely used for air lines after all.

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