Breathing Air And Air Compressors

Published Categorized as Uncategorized 10 Comments on Breathing Air And Air Compressors
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We wanted to add this page about breathing air and air compressors as some folks make the assumption that compressed air generated by a typical DIY, small workshop or plant air compressor is safe for breathing.

Breathing air and air compressors do not mix, unless the compressor being used is one built purposefully for generating air for folks to breathe.

DO NOT breathe air from your standard air compressor!

Of course, every time you use your air compressor your air tool is venting compressed air.

That vented air is quite likely full of air borne dust, may have some compressor lubricating oil in it, contains filthy water vapor, and if there is lubrication in your air tool, the compressed air being vented has that in it too.

Air Mask
A general purpose air compressor should NEVER be used to supply breathing air!

The thing is, this air tool vented air is not typically filling an air mask around your mouth and nose. It gets diluted by the air in the workshop, and by the time it reaches your face, should be fairly safe to inhale, though if you are doing a lot of work a face mask filter wouldn’t be a bad idea.

In any case, if you need compressed air for breathing, whether a safety smoke mask or for SCUBA, you want to get a compressor that is rated for supplying breathing air.

There are standards for breathable air.

In the U.S. some of them can be seen at the U.S. website Occupational Safety & Health Administration currently found here: https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=standards&p_id=12716 .

Folks in Canada can visit the following site an acquire the publication: http://www.ccohs.ca/products/csa/27010552013 .

Regardless of where you get your information, your general purpose air compressor should not be used to supply air for breathing purposes. The result of so doing could be deadly.

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Spence
Spence
March 1, 2020 6:08 pm

Can’t you just add typical water and oil separators in the line before your mask?

Fix My Compressor Moderator
Fix My Compressor Moderator
Reply to  Spence
March 1, 2020 10:29 pm

Sure, if you follow the NIOSH / OSHA standards for prepping breathable air.

david brown
david brown
August 30, 2017 6:34 am

we have an oil compressor at work which feeds all the tools, there is a air line comes off to supply air for the sandblast area and the breathing mask , is this ok?

Fix My Compressor Moderator
Fix My Compressor Moderator
Reply to  david brown
August 30, 2017 9:20 am

David, absolutely NOT! Breathing air requires the proper air preparation according to the local health standards. If you breathe air directly from a commercial compressor, it’s quite likely you will die!

Edward kyle
Edward kyle
Reply to  Fix My Compressor Moderator
July 13, 2019 12:54 pm

Not likely. I’ve used my small pancake compressor for hookah diving for many years, No problems what so ever. I breath more harmful things into my lungs mowing my yard one time than using that air compressor for the last 20.

Safety
Safety
Reply to  Edward kyle
December 19, 2019 8:06 pm

Moron

Fix My Compressor Moderator
Fix My Compressor Moderator
Reply to  Edward kyle
July 13, 2019 8:44 pm

Your choice. I wouldn’t.

Bryan Daniel
Bryan Daniel
May 31, 2017 3:22 pm

I thank you and my lungs thank you for creating this page. I was just thinking about using my compressor for a supplied air mask to protect myself more from a Dusty environment. I just had surgery on my sinuses and they’re currently infected due to drywall dust, no need to compound things.

Fix My Compressor Moderator
Fix My Compressor Moderator
Reply to  Bryan Daniel
May 31, 2017 3:48 pm

Hey Bryan, glad you found the page useful. Keep breathing, buddy!

Will
Will
Reply to  Fix My Compressor Moderator
March 25, 2020 2:25 am

I’m here trying to find info on a retro fit filter to convert standard compress O2 to breathable O2 for a ventilator. build., Cant buy one during these pandemic times. So lockdown means time to build one, .
Here’s what i have learnt on my journey to convert air of the compresseth into the air of the breatheth.
Health risk & implications is mostly what i was researching for & its a no brainer:
Breathing unfiltered compressed air can cause a pneumonia like respiratory disorder that can show up early or years later, ala asbestos to asbestosis…
Great! So my idea is to help people with a pneumonia like respiratory infection by giving them a pneumonia like respiratory disorder maybe a bit later on in life….and probably going to be debilitating also. It ain’t a spider bite so research continued & got some good news here for me & the like minded.