How to Properly Drain an Air Compressor Tank ?

How to drain an air compressor? Detailed Discussion

How to drain an air compressor_

Air compressor is the prudent requirement of every DIYer or professional contractor. This useful product helps various industries to inflate pneumatic tools which are because of its standardization. This versatile tool is the best one-time investment for people.

For that matter, we in our guide break down and address all the important queries to you people. In this you’ll learn: what this tool is about? How does it work? How to drain it while taking the safety measures?

It is of chief importance that maintain your air compressor health which includes draining and replacement of some of its damaged parts. So, just scroll down and have a look at this guide!

What Is an Air Compressor?What is an air compressor?

Air compressor is a manifestation of human inventiveness. I mean hats-off to such ingenuity who is versatile enough to do any tedious task.  

Racking brains on what air compressor is? So, as the name suggests air compressor operates when it pushes air into its tank and build up some pressure. Think of a balloon when you blow it, the air compressed, and when you hold off how it releases energy. This betokens that air compressor’s single-engine metamorphose electrical energy into kinetic energy. It is exactly like the combustion engine’s function with the assistance of a crankshaft, piston, valve, head, and connecting rod. Now, what is the purpose of this compressed air? It is harnessed in multiple gears like impact wrenches, sanders, or even paint sprayers. Check how to use spray gun with air compressor

Do you know what is the most multifaceted yet pivotal tool of any garage or workhouse? It is surely an air compressor. In recent times, due to technological evolution, some huge improvisations have taken place in the orthodox air compressor. What’s new then? Well, now they’ve come in compact shape and lightweight form. These features heightened their vitality in workshops.  Its single-engine doesn’t entail much in its maintenance, if did regularly. Just a little bit of oiling, replacing its broken valves, or checking the pressure switch, and you’re all set to go!

Why should you drain an air compressor?

Why should you drain an air compressor?

This question comes to our mind often and yes, it is instructional that we must drain the air compressor. Otherwise, it becomes a ticking time bomb that explodes at any moment. 

So, what happens is: over time the tank of your air compressor is accrue condensation. This is because when the air compressor sucks in the atmospheric air from the surrounding it also includes water vapor. When you pump the pressurized air from the air compressor into the inflatable material, water dews from the air remain and are set in your compressor tank.

This accumulated water becomes the sole reason for all the hazards, IF YOU DON’T DRAIN IT. When you don’t drain this rising level of water, then the moisture contacts with metal and can incur rusting and degradation. If you don’t drain for a long period the air compressor’s rust will go from inside to out which causes cracks or leakages of the outer surface.

This drainage relies on how often you made use of an air compressor. If you use it in routine, then I must say you should consider draining it daily or a maximum a week.

The Steps of Draining Air Compressor

The Steps of Draining Air Compressor

Now, draining your air compressor tank isn’t a string theory. Just follow some simple steps that we’ll tell you. These steps if follow properly will boost your compressor’s longevity and it will last forever. But before we dive into this how-to guide, keep an eye on these safety measures which you need to pursue while draining the air compressor.

  • Make sure to unplug the air compressor from the power source.
  • Deck out your safety shades and gloves.
  • Bent the air compressor a bit down-left so all the water comes out.
  • Ensure that you tighten the drain valve accurately after draining. You can also thread tape to airtight the drain valve.
  • Look at the exterior surfaces and make sure that there are no leaks while applying soapy water to them.
  • Lastly, affirm that you didn’t slip the air compressor. Such small drop-offs can emaciate the physical integrity and cause it to shatter.

After signing these vital tips jump right into the manual method of draining of air compressor. What are the steps?

  1. Turn off the power

First things first, make sure that you unplug your air compressor from the power outlet or the power switch is in OFF setting mode.

  1. Decrease the pressure of air compressor

Condense the pressure of the air compressor tank to 10 PSI. To lessen the pressure, you need to fear protective gear like safety googles first. Then, you need to pull the ring on the safety valve. While doing this step you need to shield the pressure valve with one hand and pull the ring by the other. To deflect the air, you need to persistently pull the ring until the air compressor tank becomes empty.

  1. Locate the drain valve’s position

So, the first and foremost thing you need to find out is the drain valve spot. In most the air compressor it is placed at the bottom. But there are some scarce models of air compressors where the drain valve is set on the sides.

Drain vales located on the sides are indeed handier to uncluttered and close. But it is also correct that they are not much proficient to drain the water fully. The sole purpose of side valves is to release water with air pressure. This means that if there isn’t any air pressure then you’re not able to drain the water in such a sort of design.

Moreover, the side valves can cause corroding which eventually clogged up the opening. For that matter, it is recommended that you should go for the air compressor which has bottom placement.

  1. Unlocked the drain valve

After locating the drain valve unfasten its nut. The more you open the valve, it started to moisten up. Then gradually open the valve so that water instantly start to release out from the tank.

Remember to put a non-usable dip or bowl to hold the dripping water. If you do not hold the water maybe you need to clean up your messed floor. Slant the air compressor a little to let the cocktail drain out from the tank.

But keep in mind that if you have side placement of drain valve then it already contains an air pressure. Otherwise, the junk didn’t come out of your compressor.

For such air compressors, you need to burgeon some air pressure. After accumulating some just turn off the compressor after some time. Then open the drain valve to see that water is being pushed out. In that case, too, grab a futile ampule to catch the filth.

  1. Jam-packed the drain valve

The next step after draining your air compressor is to tighten the drain valve. You might be thinking what’s the big deal? Dear folks, it is!

It is cautious to apply thread tape which secures the drain valve and ensure that it doesn’t leak. Another pro tip to ensure the tightness of your drain valve is to use soapy water along with the drain valve fitting.

How come the soapy water, right? This is the best way to check out that there isn’t leaking going on. Right at the drain valve fitting if you see bubbles, it is a sign that you need to squeeze the valve more with a wrench. You can go for this soapy water again and again until you didn’t see any bubbles.

Okay, there’re cases where if after this step you see bubbles popping up again. Well in that situation you need to replace the drain valve with a new one or use more thread tapes. As the damaged drain valve is behind the continuous leakage.

What are some other alternatives except the manual one?

How to drain an air compressor_ (2)

So, another option is of using an electronic automatic drain valve. Now, what is it?

This method is a perfect match for those who strain to do drain their air compressor often. For that matter, this electronic automation drain is widespread among many people. But mostly, this additional tech is used by those people who are professionals and have a heavy-duty air compressor. 

For them, the conventional method is automatic draining. What do you need to do? Just replace the existing manual drain valve with an electronic one. For the electronic one, you need to check out its frequency and set a timer so it drains every single day.

You need to also set the frequency at which you need to drain your compressor. In addition to this, the electronic automation drain valve must be powered by 12V power. In this method, you need a useless bowl to collect all the gunk cocktail which is drained out. Remember: vacant it before the drain water overflows.

These methods end here but to maintain the longevity of your air compressor (so it remains in a good position) you need to be careful and follow these techniques as well.

  • Before storing an air compressor, you need to drain it out first. This is the vital step to keep the air compressor properly when not in need. As if you don’t do this practice, moisture will remain in the air compressor tank. And from the above facts, you got an idea that it will rust faster first inside and then inside out.
  • Another storing tip is to keep the air compressor in a dry and cool place. Such an environment will prevent your air compressor body from being damaged.
  • The next insight is to shut off the air compressor when pressure is reached.
  • Also, you can change its oil with synthetic compressor oil and drain the previous oil completely.

How Often Should You Drain Your Air Compressor?

Air Compressor

From the above-mentioned facts, it surely crystalized the fact that the intense concoction of dust, water, and other potent chemicals can inflict mayhem in your air compressor’s tank. To abstain from that peril, you contemplate that How Often Should You Drain Your Air Compressor?

Don’t worry it is simple though! If you recurrently use an air compressor, then remember you need to drain it after every use so the water vapors or any moisture don’t set to prolong. This not just triggers the rusting process but sternly impact the performance of your compressor and pneumatic tools.

Further, if you are not a frequent user of air compressors then a single drain after two or three uses is best of your gear. But if you didn’t operationalize for an extended period then make sure you drain it holistically. This proper cleaning removes the hazardous cocktail from the tank and prevents it from corroding. 


It is not necessary to release the pressure from your air compressor unless you want to drain it. If you want to drain you have to release the pressure at some point.

The answer is yes! But there is a limitation. You need to extract out all the air pressure until you reach 10 PSI. After that, it is recommended to drain the mixture of gunk from your tank.

This varies with your usage. If your air compressor is functional often then you need to drain it after three uses. But if you use it less than draining after a week is more than enough.


As discussed already the air compressor is one of the most versatile innovations of humans. It operationalizes several pneumatic tools at home, in workshops, and in industry. This powerful gear incredibly compresses and keep the air at massive pressure.

Therefore, such intense tools need to be taken care of well. If not, then these gears can be threatening to life. A tank blast can cause massive injuries so remember to be careful about that.

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