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How To Store an Air Compressor in the Winter

If you’ve been using an air compressor for some time, you’ll likely already know that it can be a very sensitive piece of equipment! It’s going to need adequate storage, regular maintenance – and we can’t stress this enough – frequent draining!

Storing your air compressor during winter is all about keeping your ambient temperature consistent. Air compressors stored at dropping temperatures are at risk of serious damage – if they’re too cold, or stored outside for too long, moisture can freeze and cause your machine to break down.

If you’re interested in learning how to store an air compressor in winter, you’re in the right place. Keep reading, and we will break down the basics for you.

how-to-store-air-compressor-in-winter

Can an air compressor be stored outside?

An air compressor can be stored outside in a secure place, however, it’s going to need to be kept at a steady temperature. At the very least, you should never store your compressor below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Any lower, and it is at risk of getting damaged, or breaking down completely.

While it’s completely possible to store it outside, it’s recommended that you try and store your air compressor in your garage or workshop.

Can an air compressor get rained on?

It’s never a wise idea to submit your air compressor to more moisture and vapor than it can already handle. It is already likely to build up moisture in its tank to some extent, and too much of this can lead to rust, and a weakening of your tank’s walls. This can lead to an air compressor explosion – which is, naturally, something you want to avoid!

As with any electrical equipment or tools, don’t leave your air compressor outside to get rained on, snowed on, or left out in the elements. A quick route to rust is to leave metal outside – weather is unpredictable, unforgiving, and you owe your air compressor a little more care!

How cold weather can affect your air compressor

It’s all about freezing. Cold weather can, inevitably, lead to moisture freezing, and when you already have water or condensation in your air compressor tank, you’re going to be left with a block of ice that’s completely unusable.

What’s more, consider all the other elements to an air compressor that gets moist, or comes into contact with water vapor whether in or out of use. Cold ambient temperatures can lead to exchangers, drain valves, control lines, and more freezing up and breaking down. Again, it’s never a good idea to sustain an air compressor below 40 degrees Fahrenheit if you can help it.

On top of this, any oil you use in your air compressor is likely to thicken in colder temperatures. That’s going to make it less usable, and what’s more, it could strain the inner workings of your air compressor, period.

Take it from us – the moment the temperatures start to drop, it’s time to get your air compressor inside and stored in a warm ambiance.

How to store air compressor in winter – the basics

While it makes sense to keep your air compressor inside during the winter, it is also worth adopting a few precautionary habits. Just as you’d be careful to work out how many amps an air compressor uses, or how to safely power it up and down, you need to practice healthy habits when using and storing your machine in wintry conditions.

Here are a few tips to help you get started.

Keep draining your tank

The golden rule of air compressor ownership – please drain your tank regularly. This applies tenfold in the winter when any water you leave in your tank is at risk of frosting over or freezing altogether. 

What’s more, if you don’t drain your tank daily during the colder months, you are at risk of drawing in more moisture from outside – so trust us on this. While it’s normally fairly safe to drain your tank once a week, once winter rolls around, it needs to become a more frequent habit.

Warm up before running

A great habit to get into during winter is to simply give your air compressor a chance to heat or warm up before you start running it altogether. Break in your air compressor for a little while before connecting it up or starting to draw on it. 

If you do have to store your air compressor outside, make sure to bring it to a safe room temperature. Drain it, and give it time to get cozy. You’ll need to give it a little bit of time due to the risk of motor frost, too. Changing temperatures too suddenly can invite frost into your inner workings, and that’s always going to be a recipe for disaster.

Store your hoses and compressor at the same temperature

It might seem smart to just run your hoses in from outside to a warm space where you keep your air compressor, but trust us – it’s never a good plan. That’s because you are effectively inviting cold condensate to travel down your hoses and into your machine. Moreover, condensation in your hoses is at risk of freezing and causing a blockage. Whichever way you look at this issue, it’s just not a good course of action.

In which case, do always try and keep your cords, cables, hoses, and other connections at the same ambient temperature as your air compressor. Hosting some pieces in the cold and others in the warm will create big moisture problems that might be a nightmare to fix.

Follow your maintenance schedule

As always, follow the clear maintenance and cleaning schedule laid out for you by your air compressor’s manufacturer. In the best-case scenario, your manufacturer will have a guide as part of your instruction manual on what to do with your compressor once temperatures drop. Even manuals for affordable air compressors under $500 should give you some idea as to how to care for your machine.

Otherwise, common sense really does prevail. If you wouldn’t store a lawnmower or an air conditioner outside in the winter, the same, logically, would apply to an air compressor. Moreover, it’s during the colder months that you’ll need to keep a close eye on oil, to drain more regularly, and to check for splits, cracks and breaks that could leak air. Do also keep a lookout for rust, too.

Conclusion

Now you know how to store an air compressor in the winter, you’re all set to keep it running at its best even in the coldest of temperatures. Remember – if all else fails, storing it with its hoses and cords at room temperature is absolutely the way forward.