Air Compressor Quest

Hi
I just bought an air compressor, 20 gal tank. I will probably use this about once or twice a month and for max 10 to 15 mins most times - just for quick jobs in the garage.
Q1. Do I have to drain the air from the tank after each use?
Q2. If the air doesn't have to be drained, should I bleed the water from the drain cock after each use? every week? every month? Do I have to lower the pressure (150lb max) in the tank before bleeding off the water? If so, to what level?
Thanks
Keith
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Keith writes:

No.
Draining water is a chore, and doesn't alter the saturated conditions slowly corroding the inside of the tank, so monthly would be overdoing it. Draining doesn't actually dry the insides. It should last as long as you need it no matter how often you drain it.
http://www.truetex.com/aircompressors.htm
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The air will gradually leak out by itself.
As for draining, you have to experiment. Relative Humidity, garage temperature, and how long you run the compressor (how hot the air gets) will determine how much vapor condenses in the tank.
No need to bleed air before draining; the compressed air will help blow out the water.
Keith wrote:

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On Mon, 01 Aug 2005 23:14:48 GMT, Keith

Yes, as recommended by the manufacturer.

I drain the tank at the end of the day to prevent the tank from rusting out.

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On Mon, 01 Aug 2005 23:14:48 GMT, Keith

I honestly would drain it after every use... 20 Gal is pretty small and it just does not take any time at all to fill the tank...

If you want to go to the trouble of doing this just drain the tank and walk away... again just to save the time...
I have an 80 gallon tank that I use almost every day....its close to 30 years old now and I drain the thing every single day.... I do this to stop the tank from rusting inside the tank...and I leave the drain open until the next use... to be truthful I really do not know if it is required BUT I do know the tank is still solid..
Just my opinion... Just do not neglect oiling your air tools before you store them...
Bob Griffiths
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On Mon, 01 Aug 2005 23:14:48 GMT, in alt.home.repair RE: Air

I leave the drain valve cracked open a tiny amount so condensate is continuously bled out when the tank is pressurized. It works well for me.
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As infrequently as you use it, opening the tank drain cock and letting it drain the air and the water is probably appropriate.
I use mine almost every day and do not drain it off. My theory is the shortened life of the tank if it even is shortened is not worth the power it takes to recharge the tank every day. Mine does not leak down overnight.
On Mon, 01 Aug 2005 23:14:48 GMT, Keith

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Keith wrote:

I never did and after 15 years, still had little rust in the water. We lived in a humid climate and got quite a bit of condensate in the tank.

I had a 60 gallon, 5-hp vertical and it was a royal PITA to get down on my knees and crack open the drain valve. After doing it the first time, I decided to do it right. I used copper tubing and a brass fitting to replace the valve in the bottom of the tank, running the 1/4" copper line up alongside the tank, where I installed a ball valve, with a downturn piece of pipe for the discharge. From then on, it was a snap to just put a tin cup under the downturn and open the valve when I thought of it.
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My personal experience is that if you drain the air out of the tank every day it will last about 15-20 years. If you (like me) don't drain the air out every day then the tank will last about 15-20 years.
You mainly need to let the water out so you don't get it in your tools, paint (spray), etc. Put a drop or two of air tool oil in your tools once a month or so.

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Thanks to all who took the time to reply.
It seems there are a few differing opinions. At least I know I can drain the moisture without having to bleed the tank down first. As far as emptying it completely, I guess that's not really such a big chore - as one of you mentioned, it's only a 20 gal tank so recharge doesn't take that long.
In all probability, knowing my past habits, while it's new I can see me doing everything by the book initially, but after the novelty wears off, I'll likely tell myself I'll "do it next time".
I'm a complete novice to air tools and their use. No doubt you'll be seeing other naive postings from me from time to time until I get the hang of it. I hope you'll be as tolerant with me then as well.
Thanks again
Keith
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