Q: Do I have to buy a compressor specifically designed for breathing air?

A: No. While we would like to say yes, the answer is no as long as the compressor is well maintained and has good, clean ambient intake air free from gas and particulate contamination and is not using PAO or harmful synthetic lubricating oils. Breathing air filtration package and CO monitor must be used on existing compressors.

Q: What is the difference between a breathing air compressor and a plant air compressor?

A: Breathing air compressor systems are designed with respirator use as the focused utility. The size of the compressor, FDA Food-grade lubricating oil, Grade - D filtration, CO monitor, refrigerated dryer, receiver tank with condensation drain, and air distribution system must be specifically sized for the number of workers and types of respirators in use. A plant compressor is not.

Q: Must I use an oilless air compressor for breathing air supply?

A: No. With the advent of the FDA Food-grade oil and the advances in compressor and breathing air filtration standard rotary screw, piston, and vane type compressor can be used when filtered with the proper filtration.

Q: How many workers can I hook up to a compressor?

A: This depends on the respirator used.  Every NIOSH approved respirator MUST free flow a minimum of 15 CFM (cubic feet per minute). Constant flow hoods have a flow range of 6 - 15 CFM. Full face constant flow respirators have a flow range of 4 - 15 CFM. Positive pressure, pressure demand respirators have a flow range of 4 - 15 CFM. Pressures vary from 6 - 120 PSI (pounds per square inch). Consult the respirator manufacturer for specific pressures, flows, and hose lengths. Take the number of workers or respirators and multiply by the desired flow required at the pressure needed by the respirator and the answer will give you the necessary CFM for the compressor.

Q: What is the difference between pressure and flow?

A: Pressure is force described in PSI, Pascals, or Bars. Flow is the volume or quantity of air described in CFM (cubic feet per minute), liters per minute, cubic meters per minute or hour.

Q: What is an ambient air pump?

A: An ambient air pump is an oilless vane air compressor operating at low pressure not exceeding 15 PSIg operating constant flow respirators only.

Q: Who regulates the use of compressors?

A: OSHA in their Documents CFR29 - 1910.134 establishes the protocol for compressors used for breathing air.

Q: Who regulates respirator use?


Q: Can I buy an explosion proof compressor?

A: Yes. The real question is whether the the compressor is going to "breathe" or intake the ambient explosive atmosphere. Compressors are a machined set of lungs and cannot intake combustible, noxious, or volatile gases that could injure, harm, or kill a human if inhaled. While we manufacture explosion proof compressor systems, the air intake must be remoted to a clean air environment to ensure worker safety if the compressor is to be placed in a volatile atmosphere. Consult Customer Service for recommendations.