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Thread: PVC and Compressed air

  1. #1
    DIY Senior Member rockycmt's Avatar
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    Default PVC and Compressed air

    I am thinking of running a 1 inch PVC pipe from my garage to my basement from my compressor. Will PVC w/ glue joints support the 100psi? I jave a surplus of pipe and wanted to use this up before buying anything new?

    Chris

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    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    PVC is not recommended for compressed air applications by any manufacturer.
    The pipe can explode with great force!
    I have seen a hole punched in a block wall by PVC from an exploding pipe!

  3. #3
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default air

    DO NOT use PVC for compressed air at any pressure. Either steel pipe, or copper tubing with soldered or brazed joints.

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    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    With the price of copper and the hassle of using threaded steel pipe it is tempting to look at PVC isn't it. But as others have pointed out, PVC is not a safe material for compressed air. As it ages it becomes more and more brittle and therefore is subject to bursting. When it bursts, shards of plastic are shot out with great force. When I plumbed my shop's air, I used copper. Of course copper was much more affordable at that time, but if I had it to do over, I'd still use copper. I'd just modify my plan to use less material.

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    DIY Hillbilly Southern Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockycmt View Post
    I am thinking of running a 1 inch PVC pipe from my garage to my basement from my compressor. Will PVC w/ glue joints support the 100psi? I jave a surplus of pipe and wanted to use this up before buying anything new?

    Chris
    I've had PVC in my residential garage for compressed air going on ten years. It's ASTM D1785 Schedule 40 and in 1/2" size rated for 600psi.

  6. #6
    DIY Member msgale's Avatar
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    Default i have also seen the warning of no compressed air in PVC, but..

    granted, if the pipe explodes there is a problem. But,i cannot understand why water is safer, at the same pressure, than air?

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    But,i cannot understand why water is safer, at the same pressure, than air?
    It's because you haven't read what it can do, nor have you worked with it like the rest of us.
    Air is highly compressible, and therein lies the danger.

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    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msgale View Post
    granted, if the pipe explodes there is a problem. But,i cannot understand why water is safer, at the same pressure, than air?
    Water does not compress. It may be under pressure, but it doesn't compress.
    Because of that there is no stored energy.

    Compressed air on the other hand is just that... Air compressed and stored under pressure... There is a huge amount of stored energy!

  9. #9
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Man View Post
    I've had PVC in my residential garage for compressed air going on ten years. It's ASTM D1785 Schedule 40 and in 1/2" size rated for 600psi.
    Read This!
    They don't even want you to test it with compressed air!


    PVC Schedule 40 pipe and fittings is intended for pressure applications where the operating temperature will not exceed 140 ° F.

    Pipe and fittings are manufactured from virgin rigid PVC (polyvinyl chloride) vinyl compounds with a Cell Class of 12454 as identified in ASTM D 1784. PVC Schedule 40 pipe are Iron Pipe Size (IPS) conforming to ASTM D 1785.

    PVC Schedule 40 fittings conform to ASTM D 2466. Pipe and fittings are manufactured as a system and are the product of one manufacturer. All pipe and fittings are manufactured in the United States. Pipe and fittings conform to National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) Standard 61 or the health effects portion of NSF Standard 14.

    Installation complies with the latest installation instructions published by Charlotte Pipe and Foundry and conforms to all local plumbing, building, and fire code requirements. Solvent cement joints are made in a two-step process with primer manufactured for thermoplastic piping systems and solvent cement conforming to ASTM D 2564. The system is protected from chemical agents, fire stopping materials, thread sealant, plasticized vinyl products, or other aggressive chemical agents not compatible with PVC compounds. Systems is hydrostatically tested after installation. Testing with compressed air or gas is not recommended.
    http://www.charlottepipe.com/Default...0&type=PVCCPVC

    DO NOT USE CHARLOTTE PIPE PRODUCTS
    FOR COMPRESSED AIR OR GASES

    Charlotte Pipe and Foundry Company products are not
    intended to be used for distribution or storage of
    compressed air or gases. Use of Charlotte Pipe products
    in inappropriate applications could result in product
    failure, serious injury or death.

    Air or Gas Testing
    - Not Recommended

    Air or compressed gas test are sometimes performed
    instead of hydrostatic (water) test. DANGER: Charlotte
    Pipe and Foundry Company does not recommend air or
    gas testing, consistent with PPFA User Bulletin 4-80
    and / or ASTM D 1785. Pipe and fitting materials
    under air or gas pressure can explode, causing
    serious injury or death.
    Charlotte Pipe will not be
    responsible or liable for injury or death to persons or
    damage to property or for claims for labor and / or
    material arising from any alleged failure of our products
    during testing with air or compressed gasses. Page 4
    http://www.charlottepipe.com/Documen...ittings-TM.pdf

    Looks like you might want to repipe that compressed air system!
    Last edited by Redwood; 10-21-2008 at 10:12 AM.

  10. #10
    DIY Member Steve_P's Avatar
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    all of the "don't do it" replies are correct and this is why pressure vessels, etc, are hydro-tested. Water is essentially not compressible and therefore does not have the potential energy that a compressed gas, like air, does. I know some people use plastic but I certainly would not.

    I did my shop with copper also, 175 psi is no problems on 3/4 cu tube and soldered joints.

  11. #11
    DIY Senior Member rockycmt's Avatar
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    Default

    Point well taken. I WILL NOT be doing this.

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    Computer Programmer Bill Arden's Avatar
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    Glued PVC is bad, but they do make plastic air hose.

    I use polyethylene tubing all the time for pneumatics.
    Important note – I don’t know man made laws, just laws of physics
    Disclaimer: I'm a big fan of Darwin awards.

  13. #13
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Polyethylene obviously is a totally different material than PVC. If the polyethylene hose bursts, you just have a hole in the hose and a whole lot of lost air.

  14. #14
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    When PVC bursts chunks fly with a lot of force.

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    DIY Hillbilly Southern Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redwood View Post
    [SIZE="6"] ...
    Looks like you might want to repipe that compressed air system!
    Maybe I'll just cover it with chain mail.

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