Compressor tank exploded on craftsman / devilbiss compressor

by Gregg Pfaff
(Elkhorn, WI.)

Blown compressor tank

Blown compressor tank

Blown compressor tank
Compressor tank blew up
Blown compressor tank
Compressor tank blew up

this compressor was a 1978 model and was stored for many years but, only used aprox 5 years. it doesn't appear to be rusted out. it was not up to its operating pressure and was running when it blew.

I was wanting to contact devilbiss but, cannot find their contact emails.

I contacted Sears with some responses. What were Sears responses, I wonder?

What do you think?
Gregg. I sure hope no one was hurt when this air compressor tank exploded. Compressed air is a very powerful force as your photos so eloquently display. Thank you for sharing them with us.

So, what do I think?

I think that you have a compressor tank that is approximately 35 years old, and I surmise was left for many years without the tank drain being open to allow condensate and free water to drain out.

In time, that water in the bottom of the tank weakened the metal.

It is not a surprise to me that the tank blew along the bottom then, as that would be where the moisture had gathered to corrode the tank.

I think that all concerned were lucky that no one was badly hurt or even killed by the exploding tank. Fortunately, the rupture pattern is typical of a metal tank, in that it blows open, but does not normally hurl bits of metal around the area.

And, I think you need a new tank! :-)

Cheers and again, glad you were not hurt.


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Apr 25, 2015
Avoid the explosion
by: Roy Van Oene

set your compressor up with unloaders on the intake valves. This way you use a reservoir that is a fraction of the size just to sense pressure for a governor to control the valves. This is the way large stationary compressors are set up. The big tank is just a bunch of volume bs that is irrelevant; if the compressor can't keep up with continuous demand the pump is to small. A big tank cannot take the place of a larger compressor. They try to sell them that way to give the illusion that big tank can take the place of a big pump.

Apr 14, 2013
drain the tank - model 919.15678
by: Gregg Pfaff

Hi Bill,
The drain was left open and when being used was drained often.

This particular tank had a coating on the bottom section inside that was like automotive undercoating and must have been a factory coating as I am the original owner from new.

I found the model number which is 919.15678.

Sears forwarded my information to there safety dept. but, I don't think they'll be offering anything to me considering the age of the unit. I was using the compressor to power my air tools to perform a repair on my car. I was 4 to 5 feet from it when it blew and launched across my garage.

I am very lucky as moments before I would have been directly in it's path. I'm surprised my hearing wasn't severely affected that I know off...seems ok.

I post this as a warning to all that are running old compressors, it may not be worth repairing them if they're this old. scrap them out and save yourself from possible injury or death.
Sound advice, Gregg.

Still, I cannot believe the tank let go if it was not weakened in some fashion. I believe compressor tanks were - at the time your compressor was built - well overengineered from a pressure safety perspective. I don't have that confidence when considering the low-cost, consumable air compressors that are being sold at the retail level today.

Good warning for folks, thanks.

Once again, so glad you were't hurt. I take it that when the tank let go it was a bit noisy? :-)


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Homemade compresser tank installation

by tom
(ontario canada)

Two horse motor from mastercraft and all the goodies from the compressor want to add the flotec tanks and put it all together

need to get info on the settings the flotec tank is the same thickness as the 5 gallon of the mastercraft compressor

any help with this and help for the switch settings would be great

the pressure switch i have says ON 85 psi and off 115 psi want to bring up the 85 to 90 and the 115 down to 100 my email is please get in touch with your help thanks
Tom, good to hear from you. Sorry, but I don't respond to requests for direct contact unless it's to design a circuit as a job. There are just too many comments and not enough of me to go around.

I'm not quite sure what you mean about the tank settings?

Adjusting the pressure switch is doable, check on the Pressure Switch page for details.

See the plumbing air section and the fittings section to help you determine what you need.

All that information is here for the taking.



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150 PSI into a 125 PSI tank?

Friend, you can do anything you want. The problem is, if the tank isn't rated for the 150 PSI, you may have a catastrophic failure. There may be a metal plate on the tank that shows it's upper pressure level. If not, the tank is part of a compressor I presume, and if the pressure cut out of the compressor is 125 PSI, you do put yourself a bit at risk by pumping in 150 PSI.

However, if the tank has a PRV, and it's set right and working right, then if you lean towards over pressurization, that PRV should open and vent the air before it becomes dangerous.

Your call. Generally, it's not something I would do. If you need 150 PSI you should make sure you get a tank that's rated for more than that pressure level.



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Can I put a secondary tank on my compressor??

I have a 25 gal ch air compressor I think it is 1.5 hp. Presently builds pressure to 125 lbs. Can I place a secondary 75 gal. tank on this system, and what is the best way to plum. it.As the compressor stands now it runs great, but I run out of quickly and compressor seems to run too much for me.
Sure you can, Moran 3.

Issues you will have to deal with are your compressor duty cycle, plumbing the tank, whether your compressor is big enough for what you are trying to do with.

All of this info is available on this site.

Specifically, if you look under tanks on the sitemap page, you will find the info about adding a second tank.



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Oct 09, 2015
What response was expected?
by: Jeff

I am curious what response was expected from Sears.

A compressed gas is very powerful and an air compressor tank is similar to a mini bomb. With it being built in 78, it would have been 35 years old in 2013, which is quite old. The tank can rust out just from the moisture in the air.

The air tank is a pressure vessel and I am unsure why it would have been used before being checked to make sure it is sound at 30+ years old. To me this speaks volumes about the lack of knowledge and care of the equipment. I wouldn't expect a pressure vessel that has not been maintained to hold pressure at 30+ years old.

Why did the owner risk it?

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