What Should I Do with My Old Air Compressor?

by Matt Mazanec

We know what you're probably thinking after purchasing a new compressor: "What am I going to do with this old air compressor?"

Don't sweat it too much. There are some great options for yourself or your business:

  1. Keep it as a backup

    This is an underrated option in our team's opinion If, for some reason, your new compressor seizes up, there is a backup on hand ready to keep your plant running without downtime. Calculate how much money your plant generates per hour and caculate 8 hours of hypothetical downtime — it's worth having a backup. 

    As a general note, when hooking up an old air compressor be sure to stagger the pressure switches so the old compressor is between 5 and 10 pound-force per square inch (PSI) lower than the load set point on the new compressor. 

  2. Search for an online sale or auction

    If you puchased or already have a reliable backup compressor, it may be wise to sell the older model at an auction or online marketplace like eBay. A good rule of thumb is $100 per horsepower for a machine in good condition or $125 per horsepower if the machine is in "great" condition (though both are subjective). If you're selling a well-known brand in great condition, you may even get between $150 and $200 per horsepower. 

    It's important to take high-quality photos when listing an item and a quick clean may be in order. The cleaner an old compressor looks, the more you will sell it for.
  3. Decommissioning 

    If your air compressor has been decommissioned, it is best to cut a large hole or cut the tank in half using a torch or cutting tool. This can eliminate any liability if someone else takes the old compressor tank from your property. 

    Our team recommends against it, but we have heard some people making old tanks into barbecue pits (we hope they used food-grade oil). 

  4. Salvage for scrap 

    There are clients for hire who will separate the metals for better scrap value. That includes steel, copper (electric motor), cast (pump), etc. 

Feel free to contact anyone at the Compressor World office to discuss your old air compressor application.  Compressor World specializes in selling air compressors, air dryers and tanks to any and all fabrication, manufacturing, university, medical, automotive and granite fabrication shops