Monday, January 10, 2011

Air Compressors

For those who enjoy being independent, an air compressor is an invaluable piece of equipment to have on board. The most important use of one is maintain proper air pressure in your tires and it can also be used for winterizing the rig.

You have a choice of compressors powered by gasoline, 120-volt AC or 12-volt DC. This article does not include gas-powered compressors, for they are generally too large and heavy to carry in an LD. The other consideration is that you want an oil-less model, especially if you plan to use it to blow out the water lines when winterizing.
Most folks have found 120-volt compressors to be more satisfactory in terms of durability and power; on the other hand, they are a little larger and more expensive than 12-volt models. If your rig does not have a generator, then you should probably consider a 12-volt compressor; that way you could use it when out in the boonies off the grid.
Another consideration is whether you want a tankless model or one with a small 2-3 gallon air tank attached. 12-volt models are generally tankless. While two gallons of pressurized air isn't really very much in the world of compressors, it's still useful for topping off tires, blowing out water lines, etc., and it provides a source of pressurized air even when the compressor isn't running.
When you do get a compressor one thing you might consider getting for it is an oil/water separator available at most places compressors are sold. It will eliminate the majority of the moisture that would get into your tires (or anything else you inflate or use the compressor for) if you don't use one. It's a simple screw-on device, ask your salesman about getting one for it. Moist air compresses into wet air and that isn't good for the tires or most other things.
There are many different brands and styles of compressors from which to choose. A common brand commonly available at Wal-Mart is Campbell-Hausfield. Coleman also makes compressors. 12-volt models can be readily found at auto-supply stores. And of course you can always shop on-line.

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