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Oil-Free Air Compressors

Breathing Air Versus Compressed Air – What’s the Difference?


What is breathing air? When we talk about breathing air, we are not talking about the everyday air you are breathing as you are reading this, think firefighters and scuba divers or air needed at a hospital. Breathing air comes in two forms, the tanks that divers and firefighters use and Breathing Air Purifiers or BAP which is used in a variety of applications, including hospitals, paint booths, sand blasting, dental offices, etc.

Breathing air purifiers are used with low pressure, oil-free compressors. They take out contaminants such as Carbon Monoxide, vapors, oils, etc. The benefits of the BAP are no tank, unlimited time capability and no high-pressure compressors and containment.

On the other hand, the typical SCUBA and Firefighting tank are pressurized at 5,000 psi. These tanks only last for a finite amount of time and they are heavy. To fill these tanks, you need specialized high-pressure compressors and bottle containment systems, which can be bulky and expensive.

How is breathing air different than normal compressed air?

Normal compressed air has many contaminants, especially if using oil-lubricated compressors. You cannot breathe untreated compressed air.

Can you use the same compressor for both breathing air and normal compressed air?

The short answer is yes, you can use an oil-free compressor along with the BAP. The main thing to remember is to cool the air prior to breathing it in.

Have more questions? Contact one of our air experts today.

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