When you fill a paintball tank with compressed air or CO2, it is subject to extreme pressure, often 3000 to 4500 psi. Over time, this pressure can cause the tank to weaken, especially if it’s made of aluminum or carbon fiber. A hydro test involves filling the tank with water and pressurizing it to check for leaks. If the tank passes the test, you can use it for many more seasons. However, if the tank fails, you’ll need to buy a new one. Many players upgrade to a carbon fiber tank, as they’re lighter but still durable.
An expired HPA or CO2 tank should be discarded or recycled.
What Is a Paintball HPA/CO2 tank?
A CO2 tank is a small, portable tank containing compressed carbon dioxide, and an HPA tank has high-pressurized air. This gas powers paintball guns and provide propulsion for the paintballs. Gas and air tanks are typically made of aluminum or steel and can hold anywhere from 12 to 24 ounces of CO2. The most common size for a paintball tank is 20 ounces.
Do Paintball Tanks Expire?
Most paintball tanks expire, but they often have a lifespan of 15 years. Depending on the label, you can use an air tank up until 15 years, as long as it passed a hydrotest in the last 3-5 years. After 15 years, you should discard the tank as it may no longer be safe. The hydrotest is necessary because the tank is a cylinder of compressed carbon dioxide. The tank needs to be hydro-tested every five years, and it needs to be done by a professional. The tank must be at least 18 inches in diameter and 3 feet in length.
What happens when a paintball tank expires?
A tank expires when the hydrotest fails. It would be best if you discarded an expired paintball tank. An aluminum tank can be recycled, while a carbon fiber tank must be t and discarded. The expiration date of a paintball tank is 15 years for an aluminum tank and five years for a carbon fiber tank. A paintball tank must be hydro-tested every 3 to 5 years to ensure the tank is safe to use.
How Long is a Paintball CO2 Tank Good For?
The typical lifespan of a paintball CO2 tank is about 10 to 15 years, depending on its label. The hydro date stamped on the tank is the last time the tank was tested for quality and is used to determine the expiration date. Most tanks are good for 3-5 years after the hydro date, but some may expire sooner as the lifespan of an air tank depends on the type of tank. Air tanks are categories with different labels which specify their lifespan and how often they need to be hydro-tested.
The Department of Transportation has a few different labels that can help you identify the lifespan of your tank.
How long do carbon fiber paintball tanks last?
Usually, carbon fiber tanks need to be hydro-tested every five years, and as long as they pass the test, they are good for 15 years from the date stamped on the tank.
Good maintenance improves the lifespan and chances that the tank passes the hydro test. If it is not taken care of properly, it may expire before 15 years.
How long does a paintball HPA tank last?
A typical compressed air tank for a paintball gun will last for around 1200 shots per fill, depending on your marker, and a CO2 tank will last for about 800-1000 shots. If your tank’s pressure drops, you need to get it refilled. If the tank expires, you should get it re-hydrotested or discard it, according to the label on the tank.
How Do You Check the Manufacturing Date of a CO2 or HPA Tank?
To check the manufacturing date of an air tank, you will need to look for a sticker on the tank with the date listed. The date will be in mm/dd/yyyy format if made in the USA and may use dd/mm/yyyy in other countries. If there is no sticker on the tank, you can contact the company that manufactured the tank, and they will be able to tell you the date.
How Do You Discard an Expired Paintball CO2 Tank?
If your paintball CO2 tank expires, you must discard it properly. An expired tank may still have CO2, which can be dangerous. To safely discard an expired tank, follow these steps:
- Make sure the tank is indeed expired. Check the expiration date to be sure.
- Vent the gas. Open the valve and let the gas escape until the tank is empty.
- Dispose of the tank. You can recycle the metal but dispose of any remaining CO2 properly.
How Do You Test and Refill a Paintball Tank?
It would be best if you went to see professionals get the paintball tank tested. Do not try to hydrostatic test a tank at home. Sometimes scuba shops, paintball fields, or pressurized gas stores offer services to test air tanks by filling the tank with water until the pressure is higher than usual to see if it still holds. If the tank passes the test, it’s valid for another three to five years, depending on its label. If the tank fails, you will need to discard it and buy a new tank. A tank that fails a test is not safe to use.
After the tank has been tested and passed, you can refill the paintball tank using an air compressor.
Why Do Paintball Tanks Need To Be Hydrotested?
Paintball tanks must be re-hydrotested now and then because of your and others’ safety. Canisters containing high-pressured air or gas can be very dangerous if they are old or fragile since they can explode. A hydrotest is required every 3 or 5 years to test the tank for strength and leaks.
How often do paintball tanks need to be hydrotested?
Depending on the label, most tanks must be hydro-tested every 3 or 5 years. For most co2 tanks, it’s five years from the date stamped on the tank. Always look at the label of your paintball tank to determine how often it needs to be hydrotested.
How Much Does It Cost To Have A Tank Hydrotested?
The cost to have a paintball tank hydrotested depends on the company you use and the location of the test. Generally, it costs around $25-$40 to have a tank hydro tested.
Hydrotest your old paintball tank or Buy a New Paintball Tank?
When your paintball tank needs to be hydrotested or replaced, there are a few options to choose from:
- You can buy a new air tank.
- have your old tank hydro tested (as long as it isn’t expired)
- use the opportunity to switch to a different type, such as a carbon fiber tank.
Each option has its own set of pros and cons.
New paintball tanks are the most expensive option, but you are guaranteed to have a working tank that meets hydrostatic testing requirements and that it is safe to use for another 3 to 5 years.
If you have an old tank with an unlimited lifespan, you can get it hydrotested to see if it’s still usable. Using your old tank can save you money from buying a new one, but if it fails, you waste money on the hydrotest and will have to spend on a new one anyway.
Carbon fiber tanks are a newer option on the market, and they are made out of carbon fiber, a strong and light material. Carbon fiber tanks are more expensive than traditional steel or aluminum tanks, but they may last longer and are more lightweight to carry.
The last option is to switch to using a CO2 tank. CO2 tanks are cheaper than paintball tanks, but they require more frequent refills. HPA tanks are also an option, but they need special equipment to fill them.