Can An Air Compressor Explode? 9 Causes You Should Know

If you are wondering can an air compressor explode? The sure answer is yes, they can. Many fractures, defects, or corrosion are generally responsible for these explosions. When people overuse air compressors are not serviced regularly and maintained well. The consequences can be deadly.

Air compressors can explode under some circumstances. Extreme corrosion is the main cause of air compressor explosions. If corrosion disturbs the structure of the tank, the pressure of the compressed air can cause the air compressor to rupture or explode.

Well, an explosion of an air compressor does indeed occur, but the chances of their explosion are extremely low. If air compressors are maintained correctly and regularly serviced, the odds of compressor explosion will be fairly low.

However, explosions can be easily avoided. Here is everything you need to know, to prevent your air compressor from exploding.

What can I do with my old air compressor?

There are several ways to use your old air compressor. For example;

  • You can also sell your old air compressor to an online trader if you have purchased a new one in your garage.
  • If your old compressor is out of use then it is recommended that you should create large holes in it. This will prevent others from using old air compressors.
  • You can sell the scraps of metal, steel, cast, and copper obtained from an old or exploded air compressor.

Can we weld the Minute holes present on the surface of the air compressor tank?

Yes, you can weld minute holes in your air compressor tank.  However, certain factors should be considered in the mind.

  • What is the thickness of the air compressor tank?
  • Check the condition of the tank.
  • The right welding technique should be applied for welding.

What are the causes of the air compressor explosion?

There are several reasons why air compressors explode, but the most obvious is the fact that people don’t follow the operator’s manual. The manual contains all the instructions about operating the device.

Now it is time to have a look at some other causes of air compressor explosions.

1. Corrosion/Rust

Rust or corrosion is the main cause of the explosion. Water is the by-product of compressed air. To keep the tank in good condition, this water should be drained from the tank after every use. However, most people do not do it regularly.

Consequently, this water accumulates in the tank. This causes corrosion in the inner surface of the air compressor tank. The walls of the tank become weaker and collapse even at low pressure of air as 85 PSI.

2. Exceeding the Labelled Pressure Rating

Every certified Air compressor has mentioned rating of pressure on it. Exceeding the mentioned pressure can cause the weakening of the tank. The minute hole that could become a pressure release point. Consequently, this will cause an explosion.

Regardless of the means, the result of an air compressor explosion is a dangerous blast of sharp metal shards flying in every direction.

3. Overheating of the Compressor:

When we look for air tools, overheating is a common problem. Air compressors are ignitable when we expose them to high heat. However, normal heat coming from the sun can not cause an explosion.

If the temperature of the surrounding area is high than the optimum temperature of the air compressor, the result could be a failure of valves, metal damage,  or over-pressurization of air present inside the tank, which leads to an explosion.

4. Manufacturer’s defects:

Manufacturing defects are also a cause of air compressor explosions. This occurs when tools are not manufactured according to the set standards. We recommend you the best air compressors like the ones produced by Bostitch.

5. Irregular Drainage of Tank:

Moreover,  manufacturers of all air compressor companies suggest that the air compressor tanks should be drained regularly after each use. However, irregular drainage will cause corrosion. Eventually, corrosion will result in an explosion.

6. Accidental Rupture:

Air compressors are frequently used near workplaces, construction sites, and other such places where there are chances of an accidental puncture. This will also lead to an air compressor explosion.

7. Lack of lubrication:

Lubrication of moving parts reduces friction. However, if there is a lack of lubrication in the compressor’s moving parts, it causes damage to the quality and operation of the air compressor. As a result temperature of the tank will increase. If this increase in temperature will not fixed, it can cause an explosion.

8. Cooling Problems:

Cooling of the compressor is necessary for reducing the risk of explosion. It reduces when heat transferring surfaces are shielded by carbon deposits. In some cases, the coolant medium itself has a high temperature due to old machinery. Another reason could be a noncontinuous supply of coolant.

All these factors combine to create high temperatures, which ultimately cause an explosion.

9. Oil spillage:

Oil is essential for the lubrication of parts of the air compressor for the smooth operating of parts. However, leakage of oil is a problem in these devices. The leakage can catch fire and will trace back to an air compressor. This will cause an explosion.

Hazards related to air compressor explosion include; electrical dangers, fumes, flying particles, high pressures, and high noise levels.

How to maintain your air compressor?

Air compressors are incredibly useful but they can also be potentially dangerous. Strict safety measures must be taken while operating air compressors. Air compressor explosion risk can be decreased by effective various attachments. On the other hand, proper maintenance of air compressors can reduce the air compressor explosion risk by up to 90 percent.

How Proper Maintenance can Prevent Air Compressor exploding?

Proper maintenance of the air compressor is essential to ensure that it is safe to use and works smoothly. It also increases the efficiency of the air compressor and fulfills your need according to your need. Unlike it, improper maintenance of air compressors can decrease efficiency as well as increase the risk of air compressor explosion. No need to be worried, if you don’t know how to maintain an air compressor properly. Here, we will provide you with quick methods for proper maintenance of the air compressor.

Oil Change

you need to change the oil when the oil level goes below the red dot on the oil level sight glass. It is recommended by experts; to change your compressor oil after every three months to maintain its efficiency and to prevent an explosion. There are certain steps to change the oil.

  • Warm up oil by running the unit for a while
  • Unplug the unit
  • Place a pan under the pump end
  • Remove the drain plug and allow the oil to come out
  • Replace the drain plug
  • Again Fill the oil tank with oil

Always use ‘SAE 30 grade’ air compressor oil to increase the life of the unit.

Safety Valve

A safety valve is a small component on the control unit to release the air from the tank automatically when pressure exceeds a maximum limit. This marvelous function of the safety valve prevents the tank from bursting due to high pressure. To ensure its functioning properly you need to check it on regular basis. It must be capable of releasing air from a tank at any given time. You must replace it if it does not do this.

Air Filter

Mostly, air compressors have an air filter on the intake opening. The main function of this filter is to filter the air from dirt. You must check this air filter by removing the housing cover, if it is dirty, you must it with the new one for smooth functioning and avoid to air compressor tank explosion.

Drain the Tank

Most peoples forget to drain the tank from the inside after using it. Consequently, this moisture leads to build up rust in the tank. Building up of rust inside the tank increase air compressor explosion risk. So, must drain the tank after using the unit by unplugging the drain valve.


Always keep your air compressor clean at all times. You should clean dirt and debris from the flywheel, tank, and motor and pump cooling fins. You can do this after unplugging the unit.

In general, we also have given below some precaution measures to protect you from air compressor explosion.

Precautionary Measures;

To prevent the air compressor from explosions, it is essential to take some precautionary measures. These will help you in this regard.

  • Check the oil in the air compressor.
  • Replace the air filter after every year.
  • You should operate the air Compressor in a well-ventilated place with adequate airflow.
  • Only buy that compressor that has a certification tag on it.
  • Do not use a compressor more than 20 years old.
  • The tank must be drained regularly.
  • Close the drain valves if you plan to store the compressor for a longer period since this will stop moisture from entering the tank and causing it to corrode.


In this article, we have discussed the following questions in detail; Can an air compressor explode? If yes, what are the causes of these explosions? What preventive measures could save us from this type of explosion?

Air compressors can explode due to several reasons. It includes corrosion, exceeding the labeled pressure rating, overheating, high pressure, oil spillage, lack of lubrication, manufacturer’s defects, irregular drainage of the tank and accidental rupture et cetera.

The consequences of these explosions include blast, fire, structural damage, and sharp metal shards flying in every direction.

It is necessary to take a few precautionary measures for air compressors, such as regular maintenance, professional installation, regular checks of oil and filters to prevent an explosion.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is an air compressor dangerous for life?

When we use compressed air properly it is safe. However, using it carelessly can make it dangerous and sometimes deadly.

What could be the common outcomes of air compressors’ explosions?

Some common outcomes of an explosion include blasts, fumes, electrical damage, noise, and sharp metal shards flying everywhere.

Can an exploded air compressor be re-built?

No, it will be risky to re-build an exploded air compressor.

How can I fix the corrosion of the air compressor tank?

Drainage of the tank is the most beneficial wa8y of preventing your compressor from corrosion. In most air compressors, drainage valves are present. Simply opening that valve after every use of a compressor, can prevent it from corrosion and rust.