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Thread: PVC air lines are deadly!!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    Pennsylvania
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    Default PVC air lines are deadly!!

    Many years ago I ran my shop airlines utilizing Schedule 40 1" PVC. Seemed like a good idea. Pressure rating marked on pipes was 400 p.s.i. Worked just fine for 8 years or so...but then...I knocked over my 3 "D" cell MagLite and it bumped the line terminated at the end of the run. Holy crap!! The line violently exploded with 125 p.s.i. blowing PVC projectiles all over the place, embedding in anything their path including my forearm. After attempts by my wife and myself to "excavate" the shrapnel from my arm failed, a trip to the medical center was required and proved quite educational. A few things I learned was (1) PVC slivers can be very sharp. (2) When launched at substantial velocity they can penetrate flesh surprisingly deep. (3) PVC does not show well on x-rays and conscequently has to be dug out by feel in a very painful process. I'm sharing this information so others won't have to go through this same nightmare. Of course now everything I read and most of the people I speak with tell me PVC shouldn't be used. Believe me...it's true. Don't take the risk. Sooner or later it will fail, with the possibility of terrible results. I was lucky that my head was not directly in the line of fire or I may have lost an eye or worse. During cleanup from the aftermath, I literally found pieces so firmly embedded in the wood that it took pliers to pull them out, some were as much as 20 feet from the "blast site". I'm running everything temporarily off the tank outlet until I buy and install the Eastwood air line kit. Anyone use the kit? Any feedback?

  2. #2

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    You are a lucky guy.....I've heard of this but there are guys I know out there using PVC and say they never had problems.....I wouldn't use it in my garage/pole barn.....too many temperature changes in our states in the east...the eastwood kits and others like it are great for plumbing air, they work great and are relatively inexpensive....even HF has some now but I don't think I'd use that overseas crap.....really have to be careful...bought some HF 4 1/2 grinding disc's and had one explode on me....I was lucky, only hit me in the leg and skipped off....minor cut and bruising....window on door was not so lucky....blew it to pieces.....good luck with the air plumbing....pay the extra bucks to do it right.....Sarge

  3. #3
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    Jan 2010
    Location
    Mapleton Pa.
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    You are a lucky guy! I still read about people using PVC for compressed airlines, in magazine articles and such. Usually they print a retraction the next month after getting tons of angry mail from guys like you that lived it. I used PEX tubing in my shop, really simple and easy. I think that Eastwood kit is probably the same stuff. They might use the push on fittings, I used the crimp rings. They are a lot cheaper, they do require a special tool, but if you don't have a buddy with one, I'll bet you could rent one cheap enough. At Lowes a 100 roll of 1/2" PEX is around $32.00 Good Luck

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    South Alabama
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffrey jaymes View Post
    You are a lucky guy! I still read about people using PVC for compressed airlines, in magazine articles and such. Usually they print a retraction the next month after getting tons of angry mail from guys like you that lived it. I used PEX tubing in my shop, really simple and easy. I think that Eastwood kit is probably the same stuff. They might use the push on fittings, I used the crimp rings. They are a lot cheaper, they do require a special tool, but if you don't have a buddy with one, I'll bet you could rent one cheap enough. At Lowes a 100 roll of 1/2" PEX is around $32.00 Good Luck
    PEX ? Your talking about the red or orange stuff, right ? I've been reading about the dangers of PVC for years. Right now I don't have to go far from my compressor, so hose work fine for me. But I still would like to get to the other end of the shop with plugins. Just a dumb question ???? Why do you think PEX would be better ? I have a brother that has a 60 X 120 barn that has PVC everywhere. One inch from a 175 lb. compressor. Been there for the last 10 to 12 years. No problems yet, I know it's just a matter of time. Scares the S@#! out of me everytime I'm out there and using his air.

  5. #5
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    Jan 2010
    Location
    Mapleton Pa.
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    PEX tubing is used to run water lines primarily, you can buy it in 10 foot straight sticks or 100 foot, 300 foot or 1000 foot rolls. Any typical plumbing fitting that you can buy for copper, you can buy for PEX. It is extremely easy to work with, it can be bent in something like a 16" radius. You can cut it with a utility knife, plastic pipe cutters, or a saw. As I said before you either have to have a special crimper which I am sure you could rent at a rental center or whatever, or you could use the push on fittings. All the fittings cost a little more than copper fittings but the push on fittings will set you way back. With the crimp on fittings it is the easiest thing and it's almost impossable to make the joints leak.

  6. #6
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    Toi answer your other question, you can get it in white, blue, or red. It also comes in 3/8" 1/2 " 3/4" or 1", that is inside diameter

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    South Alabama
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffrey jaymes View Post
    PEX tubing is used to run water lines primarily, you can buy it in 10 foot straight sticks or 100 foot, 300 foot or 1000 foot rolls. Any typical plumbing fitting that you can buy for copper, you can buy for PEX. It is extremely easy to work with, it can be bent in something like a 16" radius. You can cut it with a utility knife, plastic pipe cutters, or a saw. As I said before you either have to have a special crimper which I am sure you could rent at a rental center or whatever, or you could use the push on fittings. All the fittings cost a little more than copper fittings but the push on fittings will set you way back. With the crimp on fittings it is the easiest thing and it's almost impossable to make the joints leak.
    Thanks for the reply Jeffrey. I'm familiar with the PEX, I've used it. (for water only) And have access to crimpers, which are costly. At one time you could get a crimper that could be used for both, the 1/2" and 3/4", they where huge. I worked in a ACE hardware (many years ago) when it first came out. Big hit with all of the plumbers. I've just never given using it for air a thought. I hope we get a little more feedback on using it for air, both pros and cons. Definitely MUCH cheaper and easier than iron pipe. Please don't get me wrong or take offence, I'm just open for a little more discussion on it. Thanks Again, Gene

  8. #8
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    Location
    South Alabama
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    PS Jeffery, I've had to use one of the push type one time, space and time issue. You'd have to take a second mortgage on the house if you tried to do a big job with it, LOL

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