How to clean out compressor tank


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 something better?
Here is the tank:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item 0447946127&ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT
Thanks, Michael
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On Sat, 04 Sep 2010 05:52:40 -0700, mshaffer wrote:

ViewItem&item 0447946127&ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT

If it was used for compressed air it shouldn't need cleaned out. Better ask the seller what was in the tank.
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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.
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DanG
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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.
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DanG wrote:

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.
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mike wrote the following:

No, they wouldn't do...... cough! cough! yack! yack! ... that.

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In

No, but it could hold a lot of loose rust from misuse; if so, an output filter is recommended.
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On 9/4/2010 8:52 AM, mshaffer wrote:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item 0447946127&ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT

Why not ask the guy why he told you you need to wash it out?
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http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item 0447946127&ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT

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.
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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?
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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 more years.
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 cost.
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K1& BBs roll around & emty .removes rust & gunk. Jr.
http://community.webtv.net/awoodbutcher/MyWoodWorkingPage
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