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Can You Put your Air Compressor Outside?

Making noise is part of working in your garage, but we always want to do what we can to limit the noise we HAVE to hear. One of the things we can do to limit the noise in your shop is choosing a good place to put your air compressor where the mechanical sound of it running will be the lowest. We often get asked if putting an air compressor outside of the shop is acceptable and we decided to put together a few tips below.

  1. Keep it under Cover- Moving your air compressor outside of your shop will definitely drop the sound you experience inside, but most home compressors aren’t designed to be exposed to extreme weather conditions like heavy rain, snow, or even sun. We suggest building at the least a three-sided building or lean-to that will mostly cover the compressor and keep it out of direct contact of the weather. If you decide to fully enclose the compressor remember to provide some sort of venting or shade so that the compressor doesn’t get too hot in the summer months.
  2. Install a automatic water drain- Once your compressor is out of sight it will soon become out of mind and you may quickly forget to regularly drain the tank. Installing an automatic drain on the bottom of your tank will take care of that part of the maintenance schedule for you and avoid excessive water/moisture living in the tank.
  3. Temperature Swings in Air Lines- If your compressor is living outside that means the air line running from the compressor to inside the shop could vary greatly in temperature and could cause issues when there is extreme differences in temperature outside to inside. A good way to combat this is to dig a trench and lay your air line in or insulate the lines themselves.
  4. Clean Breathing- The cleaner the air your compressor intakes the longer it will last and the better it will perform. When your compressor is breathing in sanding or grinding dust all day it will tend to kill or clog the air filter and thus make the compressor work harder to pull air in. The extra strain on your compressor can easily kill it in quick order. The other risk is getting that dirt or metallic grinding dust into the compressor itself which can cause internal damage to the pump itself. Moving your compressor outside or at least separating it from the dirty shop will add longevity no matter how expensive your compressor is.
  5. Wiring- One con is that you will need to run longer wiring to hook your compressor outside or remotely from the wall outlet. We suggest hiring a professional to do this wiring for you aren’t confident in your skills. If you’re digging a trench to run your air line in you can also run your wiring next to it going back into the shop, this will keep it out of the way and give the cleanest install. We suggest adding a breaker box to the compressor itself if it doesn’t already have one just for safety’s sake.
  6. Set it on a Solid Surface- We don’t suggest setting your compressor on the dirt as it will tend to sink or settle and the moisture in the ground can cause excessive rust on the bottom of the tank and the drain petcock. If it is in your budget your best bet is to pour a small concrete pad for the compressor. Second best is to put down a set of concrete or brick planters to set the compressor on. If your’re on a tight budget we’d at the least lay an area of packed stone down for your compressor to rest on.

Hopefully some of these tips will help you get your compressor set up in its new home and free up some space in your garage. For all of your air compressor and pneumatic tool needs make sure you visit our webstore here:

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