Hi, I just bought a large air tank on ebay to use with my air
compressor. The guy said I should wash it out though before I use it.
I'm kinda worried about what kind of chemicals might be in it since it
came from an industrialized area. Is there anything I can use to
totally clean it out? Should I just use normal dish soap or is there
Here is the tank:
I wouldn't worry about it one way or the other. If you are super
worried, remove the automatic bleeder on the bottom of the tank
and install a ball valve or similar. Pressure the tank until the
regulator on the compressor is happy. Close off the compressor.
Open that bottom ball valve and blow down. If you are worried
about mold, mildew, unknown bugs, etc., make up some bleach
water - about 5 water to 1 bleach, empty the tank, pour in a
gallon of the mixture, shake vigorously (yes, I'm kidding), and
pressurize and blow down.
I can't imagine anything in the tank being unsafe. You will be
compressing your own "dirty air", I doubt that the steel tank is
holding much in the way of residual nasties.
Keep the whole world singing . . .
I wouldn't be too quick to assume what was or wasn't in that tank,
especially since the seller went out of his way to recommend
"cleaning" it. He knew something...
I also wouldn't put bleach in it, unbtil you are certain it won't
react with whatever was in it previously. An example would be ammonia
+ bleach = clorine gas. Deadly.
I suppose NONE of you guys ever used a device for other than
its intended use.
Just cause it says it's an air tank has no bearing on what
might have been stored in it. And the external environment
matters. Maybe it was used at a nuclear waste recovery facility.
Or an anthrax decontamination project.
I've got milk jugs full of used oil. Would you buy a used
milk carton and put milk in it? What I told you about it
is irrelevant. People LIE!!!
Use your head.
NEVER assume anything...especially if it's on ebay.
There should be NO chemicals in it. Air tanks hold air (and moisture) and
nothing should have ever been in it. There may be rust inside.
There may be some oil residue if the tank was downstream of a crappy
compressor with no separator. If you want to clean that out, any detergent
that cuts oil will work.
How old is the tank? Is there an inspection tag on it? In some states (and
insurance companies) the air tanks have to be inspected every two years to
insure the integrity of the metal. In MA, where I work, the tanks will also
have a state tag on them. After the initial state inspection, the insurance
company can inspect them. In the old days, the inspector used to look
inside and tap around it. Today, they use an ultrasound device.
There is a plate that says it was inspected in 1996.. The plate is
welded on though so I don't know if it's the original. There is a big
sticker with the dealer's name where it was bought. Maybe I could call
them and see if they know what it was used for?
The 1996 plate is probably the original from the factory if it is welded in
place. There are regulations and standards that pressure vessels must meet.
That nameplate shows the manufacturer, pressure allowed, date made, etc.
At 14 years, it is not very old and if it was not abused, it will last many
I'd not be overly concerned about chemicals inside. I'd check it for rust
though. If concerned, you may be able to get it inspected at reasonable
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