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  1. #1

    Default Air compressor air testing ?

    Question for those that have air compressors for pumping air or nitrox.
    Do you routinely test your air quality?
    Do you do this before you change out your filters ?
    What company do you use ? Mail in service or does a service stop and collect samples?

    I got a new / used compressor and almost finished with nitrox stick and want to consider getting an air sample done before I start pumping my cascades up.

    Any thoughts are appreciated


  2. #2

    Default

    If you are on Facebook, check out the group "Blenders". We have 1600+ members in there that are very helpful at answering questions.

    For me.. (and this is for my own use, and occasionally a close tech diver friend not a professional operation ) I built a system in April 2016 and four months later I tested it one time (Trace Analyitics .. mailed it in) just to see what I'd get. It was basically OCA. (albeit 32% OCA if such a standard existed. ) I have a carbon monoxide analyzer now but it's never read anything then zero except when I do a bump test.

    I have not sent any samples off since. It's just too expensive without a professional discount. I focus on operating temps, maintenance and filtration rather then testing. If I was to test routinely I'd do it just before I changed my larger filter out as I would want to know my worst case scenario. Some shops will replace the filters and then test. That's a great plan if you just want to check the box.


  3. #3
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    Default

    I test once to twice a year. I used to test 3 times a year but don't anymore. I always test right before a filter change. Ideally in a commercial setting it should be random. Since I don't pump as much as a shop, I want to know what my compressors doing with its most used filtration. I recently went 9 months between filter changes (which is about 3-4 months over for me) just to see, and I still got OCA.

    Personally I think it's worth the money at least once a year. I'm filling tanks for my wife, myself, and a couple of our closest friends. Knowing I'm not going to kill people is comforting. If I was pumping for just me then I would maybe stop testing, but I doubt it. I pride myself in knowing I have better gas than most shops

    You should definitely test. I use Lawrence Factor. Call them and they'll sell you a kit directly. It's cheaper than buying through 3rd parties, which is what they'd prefer you do. They send you the kit and you send it back. It's easy. I've heard trace analytics is good too. I believe I'm paying around $130.


  4. #4

    Default

    I got an email response from Trace, and the initial kit was like 400 bucks, then I think it was 130 for test service. I was like outch on the price....
    I will contact lawrence factor and see what their kit cost is, and the price to check the air.

    I am pumping for other tech divers, and myself, so I feel its worth it to know what the air quality is, maybe not every quarter like some shops do, but maybe yearly is an ok approach just to know its ok.


  5. #5
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by v101 View Post
    I got an email response from Trace, and the initial kit was like 400 bucks, then I think it was 130 for test service. I was like outch on the price....
    I will contact lawrence factor and see what their kit cost is, and the price to check the air.

    I am pumping for other tech divers, and myself, so I feel its worth it to know what the air quality is, maybe not every quarter like some shops do, but maybe yearly is an ok approach just to know its ok.

    Screw that. Lawrence Factor isn't that pricey at all. The cost includes the kit each time. Lawrence Factor does prefer to sell through distributors, but I just played stupid the first time and asked to order one and they didn't care. So it's a non issue.


    You can also buy through filter techs. They're really good guys. They're selling the LF test (Xzam Labs)
    https://www.filtertechs.com/shop/index.php?cPath=91_112


  6. #6

    Default

    The one time I did a test it was through a friend who was able to pass along the PADI rate with Trace. As I recall, three of us went in on a 3pack and each paid around $60. I'd do that once or twice a year if that was available to me.

    But if I had to pay $400 + $130 for the first test.... well that will buy a lot of oil/sieve/filters. I feel safe continuing what I do now.


  7. #7

    Default

    Taking a sample on a new setup is a good idea. Since conditions of compressors can change daily, I tend to agree with chrpai that it's better to focus on operating temps, maintenance and filtration during operation. Plus this can be done as often you want for free. I use to smell the whip air every time before filling, and then check the filter stack often. Although CO is odorless, typically the condition that produces the CO is not. For me keeping the oil and filters fresh, and then doing a "whiff" test daily was more important. Any increase in oil consumption should also be a sign to stop pumping and check everything.

    Unfortunately, doing an air test only documents the quality of the air at that exact slice in time. It's probably a better tool to monitor compressor health/maintenance over time. If an air sample fails then surely it's time to stop pumping, but what about all the air that was pumped and breathed just prior to the sample?


  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff H View Post
    Taking a sample on a new setup is a good idea. Since conditions of compressors can change daily, I tend to agree with chrpai that it's better to focus on operating temps, maintenance and filtration during operation. Plus this can be done as often you want for free. I use to smell the whip air every time before filling, and then check the filter stack often. Although CO is odorless, typically the condition that produces the CO is not. For me keeping the oil and filters fresh, and then doing a "whiff" test daily was more important. Any increase in oil consumption should also be a sign to stop pumping and check everything.

    Unfortunately, doing an air test only documents the quality of the air at that exact slice in time. It's probably a better tool to monitor compressor health/maintenance over time. If an air sample fails then surely it's time to stop pumping, but what about all the air that was pumped and breathed just prior to the sample?

    That's why anybody that produces their own air and all dive shops should have inline CO monitors. There is no fool proof way to avoid pumping CO other than monitoring for it. Watching temps and oil consumption won't guarantee it not getting into tanks. I think when pumping your own gas you need to do it all. Be vigilant of how your machine is running, have inline CO, and get semi-regular analysis. One thing alone isn't enough.

    At the end of the day if you kill yourself, the insurance company will try to deny your wife's life insurance claim if they find out you caused your own death. Your best dive buddy's wife is going to sue you when you konk him with CO. If you're a single bachelor with no pets, no friends, no family, then don't worry about. Oh wait, but then you'll be inconveniencing the IUCCR guys. So just be smart and do all 3.


    I also think that all cave divers should only buy their gas from dive shops that have inline CO monitoring at their stations. Not all do, and it's pretty scary.



 

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