Air Compressor and Hose Tips for the Pros
You’re probably going to be using compressors and hoses frequently while on the job. Read these tips for how to use them smarter and more efficiently.
A Hose By Any Other Name…
Not all polyurethane hoses are created equal, and they don't get any better than the Flexeel made by Coilhose Pneumatics. Flexeel air hoses are super lightweight, which is nice when you're hanging off a 20-ft. ladder. They're extremely flexible and have a non-marring surface, so they won't scuff up walls or furniture when you're dragging them around a customer's house. These hoses also have a slight tackiness to them so they don't slide off a roof as readily as others. The pro tool store near us stopped selling other brands once they introduced these into the showroom. Find these hoses online or at pro tool stores.
A Quiet Compressor
Screaming saws, roaring generators and rumbling compressors...wouldn't it be nice if construction tools didn't have to be so darn loud? Well, apparently not all of them are. California Air Tools manufactures a line of air compressors that are so quiet you can actually have a conversation or hear the radio while they're running.
The 4610A shown here runs at 60 decibels; that's about 30 percent quieter than similar models. The tanks are made of aluminum, which reduces the overall weight to only 44 lbs. and they won't rust. You can buy the model 4610a online or at tool stores. Watch the video and check out the full line of quiet compressors at californiaairtools.com.
Smaller Compressors for Smaller Jobs
If you only have a few studs to nail in or a few pieces of base to install, why on earth would you haul that giant, heavy compressor around? Mini compressors are a must for smart remodeling. They're light, inexpensive and easy to carry right to the area you're working in. You can get this 1-gallon, 1-hp Senco online or at tool stores.
A Reel Deal for Roofers
Two guys sharing one compressor is common on a job site. So is tripping over a hose because the guy on the other side of the splice jerks on his hose just as you’re stepping over yours. And if you're working on a roof, tripping on a hose could result in a career-ending tumble to the ground, or worse.
Amflo makes a hose reel that has two ports attached to the reel itself, and two anchor bases, so it can be fastened to a roof. Because it’s a reel, you only have to pull out as much of the 75-ft. hose as you need. It's not just for roofers, though. It's a great tool for all carpentry, even on the ground. Buy an Amfol hose reel online or at tool stores.
A Handier Regulator for Your Compressor
Have you ever used a finish gun on a project that included both thick hardwood and thinner, softer woods? It's nearly impossible to set the regulator on your compressor so the nails sink into the hardwood without blasting through the soft stuff. And changing the pressure every time you encounter a different kind of wood is a huge waste of time. Install a regulator at the end of your air hose, and eliminate those trips back and forth to the compressor.
The At-Hand Inline Air Regulator can adjust operating pressure from 40 to 140 psi and has a slim profile, so you'll hardly know it's there. Buy an At-Hand Inline Air Regulator online or at tool stores.
Convenient Compressor Drain
Most compressor manufacturers recommend draining the tank after every use. And most compressor owners ignore that advice without serious consequences. Still, draining the tank is important, and the more often you do it, the better. As a compressor runs, water condenses inside the tank. That means rust. In extreme cases, you can even lose tank capacity. We've heard stories of tanks that held only half as much air because they were half full of water.
The twist-open drains on most compressors are pretty lousy. They're hard to turn and easily plug up with rusty gunk until they can't open or close properly. But for about $10, you can install a drain that's fast, easy and reliable. Go to the compressor aisle at a home center and look for a ball-valve drain kit. If you don't find one, go to the plumbing aisle to pick up a 1/4-in. ball valve, plus any 1/4-in. nipples and elbows you'll need.
In-Line Oiler Doesn't Forget to Oil
You add oil to it. It adds oil to your air tool. Not exactly rocket science. Find one in the air tool section at any home center.