PVC: The Pipe NOT to use with your Compressor System

We mentioned in a previous blog that pressing PVC piping into use in a compressed air system was a bad idea.  Someone asked us why.

In spite of PVC pipe’s apparent durability, there are certain things it just falls short of being able to handle.

For example, handle compressed air.

Implementing PVC pipe in your compressed air system is very dangerous, and you run the risk of a catastrophic compromise of the pipe’s integrity, which could result in an explosion.

A PVC explosion sends shards of hard plastic at high speeds, and that’s where OSHA draws a line – but there is an exception.  We’ll get to that shortly.

PVC pipes in compressed air installations can also leak – which as you know can be a costly problem. It’s very easy to install PVC pipe incorrectly, to not thread the pipes correctly or if the sealant at the joints isn’t applied correctly.

Finally, PVC pipe is very susceptible to extreme temperatures as it is made out of plastic. It can become brittle and shatter in extreme cold.

While at first glance, you may look at the PSI rating of PVC pipe and think it can handle the pressure your compressed air system is pumping out – but the rating of a PVC pipe assumes the pipe is new and perfectly sealed.  That’s a bold assumption and you should never take it for granted that a PVC pipe can handle the amount of pressure it is rated for.

Now, the exception.  OSHA will allow underground use of PVC piping in a compressed air application. However, a buried PVC pipe can still become compromised and that repair, with all the digging and searching for the break, is complicated, labor-intensive and potentially expensive.

Your best bet is to implement piping specifically built for compressed air systems and for that, consult with our experts and technicians at (866) 413-8077 and trust in them to steer you in the right direction.

About Air Components

Air Components

Air Components & Systems is the leader in providing efficient compressed air systems, parts, and repair. With locations in Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina, we are able to assist with your compressor needs right away. Call us at (866) 413-8077.