Using Air Compressors to Fill CO2 Tanks

Mar 20, 2023


CO2 tanks have numerous applications but must be refilled often to keep up with manufacturing and industrial operations. Rather than constantly running to have your CO2 tank refilled or waiting for a supplier to reach your business, you can use an air compressor for a CO2 tank refill.

Refilling a CO2 tank with an air compressor isn't as tricky as it sounds. Air compressors are often overlooked when finding ways to fill a CO2 tank. Below, you'll learn more about achieving a CO2 refill using an air compressor and the steps to take.

In This Article

Can You Fill a CO2 Tank With Compressed Air?

Taking a CO2 tank back and forth to where you can get it topped off can be a significant inconvenience, especially if you need a continuous supply of CO2. Going back and forth to refill your CO2 tank can cost considerable time and money that will quickly add up. However, if you have access to a compressed air system, you won't have to worry about making these CO2 refill runs anymore.

An air compressor can help refill your CO2 tank, helping save you time and money. Compressed air is also more convenient, allowing you to use your air supply without worrying about running out. Using air compressors to fill CO2 tanks is underutilized but can revolutionize your business. Rather than filling up your tank with CO2, you're filling it up with compressed air, which can be used for many of the same applications as CO2.

While putting compressed air in a CO2 tank is possible, taking care when going forward with this process is essential. If you make a mistake, the CO2 tank has the potential to explode, which can injure you and others within your vicinity. You'll need to take steps beforehand to ensure you and others around you are safe, as you'll be working with high air pressure.

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CO2 vs. Compressed Air

Three different types of pressurized gas cylinders are commonly used for various applications. Two of these tank types include CO2 and compressed air. There are many other purposes for each type of pressurized gas cylinder, but they share many similarities.

Below are some of the distinctions between compressed air and CO2:

  • Compressed air: Sometimes called high-pressure air tanks, compressed air is filled with regular oxygen. Depending on the tank, the oxygen could be highly filtered air you can breathe, while others may have non-filtered air. Most filtered air is used exclusively for breathing, such as in scuba diving or medical oxygen devices. Compressed air can be used for many of the same applications of CO2.
  • CO2: These tanks come filled with either liquid or gaseous CO2. When you use CO2, it reverts to its gaseous state if it isn't already in that state.

Because both types become a gas when you use it, you can use either option for many of the same industrial or manufacturing applications.

How to Fill a CO2 Tank With an Air Compressor

Rather than spending time and resources seeking CO2 refills, you can refill your CO2 tank with an air compressor. Below are the steps for refilling a CO2 tank with an air compressor:

1. Check Tank Integrity and Identify the PSI Rating

The first step is to check the tank's integrity. All CO2 tanks should have the date of the most recent hydro-testing printed on the side. If you have a smaller tank, it may not need another test after its first one. Other tanks will need to be tested every five years.

If your tank has been tested and approved within the last five years, then your tank should be OK to use. If you haven't had testing in the last five years, you should have it tested before refilling it with compressed air to ensure it's safe.

You'll also want to look for the PSI rating printed outside the tank. The PSI rating helps you determine how much compressed air you can fill your tank with, and you never want to go beyond the PSI rating. It's always better to underfill rather than overfill a CO2 tank.

2. Drain the Tank

Once you've checked your tank's integrity and the PSI rating, you'll want to drain the tank of remaining air. You'll need to have a compressed air fitting for your air compressor hose, which you'll attach to the end of the hose.

Screw the opposite end to the fitting of the CO2 tank. Look for a bleed-off valve at the top of the fitting, as you also need to unscrew this part. Unscrewing this valve allows any remaining air to exit the tank, allowing you to improve your accuracy when refilling the tank with compressed air.

Once you've drained the tank of all remaining air, you can start preparing to refill the tank with compressed air. Remember to close the bleed-off valve before refilling the tank to prevent the new air from exiting the tank.

3. Refill the CO2 Tank With Compressed Air

The first step in refilling your CO2 tank is to determine the size of the tank. Take the tank's size and multiply it by two. The number you're left with is how long you'll want to run your air compressor.

For example, an eight-ounce tank will require 16 seconds or compressed air. Once you turn your compressor on, watch the time to ensure you don't overfill your tank.

There's little room for error, and overfilling your tank could cause damage to the tank, yourself or your air compressor. Ensure you're tracking your time carefully to reduce the risk of unnecessary damage and injury.

4. Shut Down the Compressor

Once you've reached the end of your calculated time, power off your air compressor. Open the bleed-off valve for a few seconds to prevent buildup and clear out the lines. After you've released some of the air, close the bleed-off valve and unscrew your tank from your compressor hose.

Once everything is disconnected, you've completed refilling your CO2 tank with an air compressor. This process will allow you to use your CO2 tank more often with minimal or no costs.

Trust Fluid-Aire Dynamics to Keep Your Air Compressor in Good Condition

If you're using your air compressor to refill your CO2 tank, you'll want to ensure it's performing at peak efficiency. Fluid-Aire Dynamics offers various air compressor services, including 24/7 emergency maintenance, routine service and repairs, and system installation, to help you maximize your air compressor. We can help you achieve higher-quality compressed air and reduce energy consumption, allowing you to refill your CO2 tanks without hassle.

We also offer a wide range of air compressors, allowing you to find a new model to suit your applications. We have five main air compressor service centers and a service area of 90 miles around them. Our air compressor sales and service experts offer preventative maintenance and emergency service in ChicagoMilwaukeeMinneapolisSan AntonioDetroit and Philadelphia.

You can learn more about our air compressors and services from our blog or contact us to learn how we can help you maximize your air compressor.

Get in Touch Today

Get in Touch Today

We are here to serve your compressed air system needs 24/7/365. Call or click today!

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