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Old 02-13-2010, 09:57 PM   #1
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Question re: plumbing air lines in my shop


I'm moving my wood shop from the garage to the basement. I'm going to leave my air compressor in the garage to allow me to use it on the vehicles and such. I plan to run a hard-piped air line from the garage to the basement and will have a few air drop lines with quick disconnects over my work surfaces for my brad nailer, pin nailer, stapler and the blow gun. My compressor will regulate the pressure down to the 90-120psi range...Normally 100psi is what I run.

My question centers around materials. Initially I'd planned to do it in 3/8" black (gas) pipe but for what the supply houses want for it I could do it in 1/2" from the box store. Space is going to be a challenge for getting wrenches on it, so I'm looking at other options.

I've ruled out PVC due to its propensity to burst and shoot plastic schrapnel everywhere. That is, unless somebody knows something I don't.

I'm seriously considering using 1/2" copper water line with soldered connections. A friend tells me that I should try to find something other than lead-free solder that is typically used for plumbing, in order to handle the sustained pressure. Not sure about the solder he's recommending but I'm sure I can get it at the supply house. Soldering's no problem for me, I actually enjoy it.

I'd love to hear ideas or opinions from those that have any experience with air lines.

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Old 02-13-2010, 11:01 PM   #2
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Question re: plumbing air lines in my shop


I recently did some projects with black gas pipe and copper.
Copper is much easier to work with.

I have a small run of copper in my barn for my air compressor.

Easy to run and no worries when it is done.

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Old 02-13-2010, 11:02 PM   #3
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Question re: plumbing air lines in my shop


Call the Building Inspector. He will know...



I would use black pipe, and the code here would be to fire caulk the hole between the garage and the basement.
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Old 02-14-2010, 09:20 AM   #4
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Question re: plumbing air lines in my shop


I have done all my air lines with PEX... no leaks no problems. And pressure can be easily left at 120 PSI. I also ran the pex underground to feed outbuildings to blow out the sprinkler zones... still okay. And much easier and cheaper than any other system
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Old 02-14-2010, 09:27 AM   #5
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Question re: plumbing air lines in my shop


Bob, though pex will probably work fine, it is not rated or approved for air lines so if you ever incur damages because of it your homeowners won't pay off. Copper is fine. It is rated and approved and you don't need any special solder. 95/5 or 50/50 will hold the pressure just fine. Do not use pvc or cpvc under any circumstances.
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Old 02-14-2010, 09:34 AM   #6
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Question re: plumbing air lines in my shop


dont forget a moisture trap to keep water/condensation out
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Old 02-14-2010, 09:35 AM   #7
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Question re: plumbing air lines in my shop


I would never use any type of plastic for pressurized lines. I would go with the copper or galvanized iron pipe. Remember, there will be a temperature differential beween the garage and the house which could cause condensation in the line(s). This could cause rust to form.
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Old 02-14-2010, 09:36 AM   #8
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Question re: plumbing air lines in my shop


what are flex gas lines rated for?
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Old 02-14-2010, 09:49 AM   #9
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Question re: plumbing air lines in my shop


Gas flex lines only have to be rated for inches of water column or less that 1lb. psi. The can probably take a whole lot more but again not rated that way.
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Old 02-14-2010, 08:59 PM   #10
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Question re: plumbing air lines in my shop


Yeah, CSST gas lines are for low and medium pressure gas systems. That's generally 1/2 psi and 2 psi respectively. Unfortunately not an option. I know they'll take more because of the required air test every new gas system gets, but even that doesn't come close to the air pressure I'll be putting in these lines.

I'm really leaning towards copper and I appreciate everyone's suggestions. Also good to hear that regular old solder will do fine.

Tpolk and majakdragon, good thinkin' on the condensation/moisture trap issue. I'll probably plumb a moisture separator in line, and will install a bleed valve and drip leg at the lowest point in the run for good measure.
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Old 02-14-2010, 10:14 PM   #11
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Question re: plumbing air lines in my shop


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Originally Posted by jlhaslip View Post
Call the Building Inspector. He will know...



I would use black pipe, and the code here would be to fire caulk the hole between the garage and the basement.

And don't forget the permits!
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Old 02-14-2010, 10:16 PM   #12
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Question re: plumbing air lines in my shop


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And don't forget the permits!
Wise guys.
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Old 02-14-2010, 10:37 PM   #13
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Question re: plumbing air lines in my shop


if you use copper id suggest L copper,it has a heavier wall thickness.as for solder i like staybrite myself,it can be soldered with mapp gas and ive run 300psi of nitrogen through my ac lines for years to check for leaks without a blowout

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