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Does draining the tank really make a difference?

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by lisa C.
(red bluff CA)

Bleeding (draining) the air – does it really make a difference if I use it one day

My dad yells at me for using the air compressor because some times I forget to drain the air.

He says …” The second you are done filling the tire or what ever…You better drain it”! “If you don’t the tank will get condensation inside and it wont work”.

Is this true…does it really make a difference if I use it one day and go back to a full tank in a week or so….or do I need to drain it and refill it each and every time?

Please help!! I don’t want to get yelled at any more!


Hi Lisa…I sure hope you don’t get yelled at any more either.

Perhaps it might help if you understood where the water comes from? See the page: about-air-compressors.com/water.html for information about compressor water.

Compressed air tank
Compressed air tank

Essentially, as soon as the compressor motor starts and air is being compressed into the tank, water is appearing inside the tank too.

So, when you’ve finished the compressed air-using work, the tank has water in it.

Hopefully the air tanks on compressors are coated inside to help prevent water from getting to the metal and rusting it out.

Unfortunately, I’m not convinced this is the case and particularly so for lower cost compressors, so if you don’t drain the water out, it sits in the bottom of the tank, and wherever it touches bare metal, rust starts forming.

Over time the rusting of the tank will weaken it, and it’s possible that a leak might develop, in which case it’s time for a new tank.

Also, the presence of water in the compressed air tank means that this water will migrate down the air lines to your air tools. This is not good for them, and will, in time, create air tool problems that will have to be fixed.

All because of water.

Lisa, in my opinion your Dad is absolutely right. You should drain the tank after every use. This is preventive maintenance to help make sure you air compressor tank lasts as long as possible and to help ensure that the minimal amount of compressor generated water migrates down the air lines to the air tools as possible.

New comment? New question? Please add it here along with photos to help others help you with your compressor and equipment problem!

By Bill Wade

About Air Compressors has been helping folks with their Air Compressor Problems since 2002 online. We're a community of DIY and Compressed Air professionals who are keen to support everyone across the globe with their air compressor issues and troubleshooting. Whether you're trying to identify an old air compressor, or troubleshoot an error code on a sophisticated new industrial air compressor - the community at About-Air-Compressors.com is here to help you

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