19 thoughts on “Hard wired air compressor lines – Plastic or Metal?

  • April 7, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    Don’t use plastic if you have something fall and hit the pipe it will break
    and blow pieces of plastic every were also it can just blow out because of
    pressure again causing shrapnel to fly all over. It is much safer to go
    with black pipe or cooper. The heat and cooling is not so much the issue as
    is the danger with plastic. When you run your pipe start low and gradually
    go up to the ceiling and when you add your drops make sure they go about 18
    inches to 24 inches below your air chuck and have a valve on the end to be
    able to open and remove water. Also make sure you put a valve at the very
    beginning were it starts on the low end so you can open and remove the
    water. It will not hurt to add several drops so you can open and remove
    water on all of them and on the one or two that you plan on using for paint
    and body tools at those locations is wear I would add the water separator.
    The black pipe and cooper will last as long as the garage it’s self the
    plastic will not. good luck thumbs up.

  • April 7, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    #1 If you have not already found it in your research, DO NOT use plastic as in PVC. It is highly failure prone and very dangerous in compressed air systems.
    #2 The other plastic, like the RapidAire system is fine, except that if you start using very many fittings it will quickly cost more than using copper. The line is cheap, the fittings are ridiculously expensive.
    #3 Black iron is OK if you have the tools to cut and thread it, although alot of the pipe and fittings are chinese crap now. The chinese fittings will leak no matter how good your threads are or how much teflon tape you use.
    #4 Use a good large dryer at the source end of your piping system and smaller point of use driers at your outlets and you will be fine with no other hoops to jump through IF you design the piping correctly.
    #5 Many piping system designs you will see, in the interest of keep moisture out of the drops, will run the trunks up high and drops downward with a system of elbows and adapters used to initiate the drops off the top of the trunks. If you run you trunk lines down near the floor and bring your drops upward from the trunk you will accomplish the same thing with much fewer joints and fittings.
    One of our shops at work, which used many hundreds of cfms of air, had all of it’s drops coming off the top of the trunk lines. We had ONE drop coming off the bottom a trunk line. Never had a problem with moisture on any lines except that one drop, which we kept a 5 gallon bucket under because it ALWAYS had water in it.

    Been watching your stuff for months, REALLY enjoy it.

    • April 7, 2014 at 1:19 pm

      Awesome advice, thank you so much!

  • April 7, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    Go with PEX…PVC is the dangerous stuff. PEX makes it so easy to make
    additions and changes, I understand the thermal draw to metal but PEX is so
    easy….I like some of your thinking to adding cooling properties.
    Also you look like a poster child for PEX currently in your videos…=>

  • April 7, 2014 at 9:11 pm

    I would use plastic in areas that would be safe from damage, such as coming
    in the garage, changing floors, mounted on the wall up in the corner by the
    ceiling, …. you get the idea. I would still do as much as you can for
    cooling the air so that you you have less condensation in your tools, and
    in turn RUST. For cooling I would seriously consider using an older
    automotive heater core (rebuilt, or reman, of course), the ones that were
    made of copper, or at least use copper coil instead of plastic in the water
    bath (better heat conductivity respectively) and then use plastic
    everywhere else. If your concerned about damaging your plastic pipe(which
    I’ve never done) then using a copper drop from the ceiling will reduce cost
    while also reducing your chances of damaging the system. Of course for that
    you will have to use…shark fittings…I think. Lowes has them for
    changing from copper to plastic or vice versa. Hope that helps

  • April 7, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    I use 3/4 pvc with only one water separator about 6′ after the tank. I put
    a couple of drops with ball vales to let water out. Which i just opened it
    and nothing came out but air. That was the first time since i built this. I
    drain the tank once every month with only about a cup of water comes out.
    Also i oil my air tools about the same time i drain the tank.I am currently
    running this setup for 12 years.

  • April 7, 2014 at 11:03 pm

    i would at least use metal for the first 50 feet have a aouto drain at the
    bottom of the first stretch

  • April 7, 2014 at 8:49 pm

    Black iron isn’t hard at all and it works great. I installed about 50′ or so with two drops in my garage and never get moisture in my line. I also installed a regulator & water trap at each drop.

  • April 8, 2014 at 8:27 am

    I use pex in my garage , I run 145 psi and it works great , another thing
    to keep in mind is the bigger and the more line u have gives you more
    volume , it is like having a bigger gal tank , so I recommend using like
    3/4 inch then reducing it at your coupler.they have some nice fitting I use
    if u need me to I can make a video of my connectors

  • April 8, 2014 at 9:46 am

    Use copper nice and strong and if it is cold and you have plastic pipe and
    something hits it and it might break and leak all of your air

  • April 8, 2014 at 9:47 am

    But use flexible pipe coming in from outside

  • April 8, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    My opinion!? Yepp!! It will definitly work!!! And you can even use it,
    sitting in the middle, in your hottub!!!:)

  • April 11, 2014 at 8:27 am

    Most of the water will condense in the the bottom of your storage tank. If
    you have not already, remove the stupid thumb-screw drain valve on the
    bottom of the tank and put an elbow and a pipe leading to a good quality
    ball valve so you can just walk over and burp the water at the bottom of
    the tank out when you turn on the compressor (this is why the distribution
    manifold is always at the top of the tank). As for the rest of the plumbing
    I used metal for my system, just seems more durable. Only pain is getting
    all the threads to seal. Once you put it under pressure your going to find
    a few joints you thought were tight enough. Always tilt your horizontal
    runs so that they can drain back towards the storage vessel, and if you do
    any vertical runs downward from the ceiling to a wall or post put a T at
    the end have the quick coupler facing out to the side and another ball
    valve at the very bottom so you can burp the water from these low points as
    well. Unless your setting up a spray booth I wouldn’t worry about the
    molecular water and trying to condense it out, just keep you tools oiled,
    and if you do paint hook up a water separator and a desiccant dryer to the
    point your going to use or if you have lots of cash just burning a hole in
    your pocket get a refrigeration air dryer. Sorry for the long post.

  • April 18, 2014 at 12:53 am

    Whatever you use, remember that the longer the run, the more psi you will
    lose. So if you run it downstairs and thru a bath you will lose a lot of
    pressure. Just my .02.

  • May 16, 2014 at 4:51 am

    Go with rapid air system I am using it when I het that far in my garage

  • June 7, 2014 at 7:23 am

    i ran black iron pipe through my who;e ranch house through the basement
    couple things yes it is more money. yes it is a pain to thread and fit
    together. it will never blow up as long as it does not rust through.
    remember to put a very slight tilt to you lines so condensation drains. and
    i used teflon tape and got good seals on the 30 or so joints for my 6 taps
    in my craft room and garage

  • January 22, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    Metal condenser pipe/manifold, and use pex pipe to run your lines.


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