How To Prevent HPA Tanks From Exploding – Complete Guide 2023

HPA tank can explode if you put oil in the tank through the fill nipple. It is one of the most dangerous things you can do with your HPA tank. Putting oil in an HPA tank is more dangerous than taking your mask off in the middle of a plane. It is probably the most dangerous thing you can do because it can kill a person easily if someone does this.

How to prevent HPA tanks from exploding

How To Prevent HPA Tanks From Exploding?

There have been examples of some people who luckily have gotten away with severe burns and not caused a fatality. But this can very easily cause a fatality when an HPA tank gets up to 4,500 PSI.

Any petroleum item, or any lubricant, will operate like a diesel engine if it gets into the bottle once it fills up the 4,500 PSI. The pressure alone is enough to detonate it. The only way to get lubricant into your tank is through a filling hose. When fill nipples on the tanks start leaking, the tank explodes.

Putting oil in an HPA tank can create such a large explosion that can easily blow up the top of a car.

What is a shuttle valve?

There is a shuttle valve inside the fill-nipple. When air pressure goes into the HPA tank or Co2 tank, it pushes the shuttle valve out of the way. When the air pressure stops, the air pressure from the tank closes it.

A shuttle valve is like a shovel, so shovels back and forth up and down. It’s in the middle. When you start airing it up, it opens up, and when you let off, the air shuttle valve goes back up, and it closes.

After you’re done filling it, there is also an o-ring there, which seals off the fill-nipple.

Those o-rings usually wear out about once a year, probably after filling it hundreds and hundreds of times. The reason these o-ring will wear out is that the compressors fill the air we breathe. And that includes dirt and dust, moisture, and everything that’s in the air that we breathe.

Imagine you’re playing paintball. You go to blow your nose, and it’s like mud and dust comes out of your nose. That’s what gets into the tanks. It takes all that, shrinks it down, puts it in the fill nipple.

After shooting all that sand and stuff through the fill nipple into the tank, the o-ring wears down.

What causes the HPA tank to explode?

A fatal mistake that paintball players commit causes the HPA tank to explode.

What is that mistake?

Instead of taking off the fill nipple and replacing the o-ring, the paintball players decide to pump oil down into the fill nipple and then air it up.

And then they try to see if that oil will wash the o-ring and blast all the dirt back into the tank and seal it off.

That is a fatal mistake. By doing this, one can kill himself.

So, never put any lubricant. Whether it is gun oil, mineral oil, or anything with any petroleum into the fill nipple.

It is okay to put it inside your gun because that’s around 850 PSI. The oils commonly used for paintball are very stable up to 850 PSI. Where they’re not stable is above the 2000 PSI range.

What happens if someone puts oil in an HPA tank?

Putting oil inside the tank over the 2000 PSI range will turn your HPA tank into a bomb.

So never put even a single drop of oil in an HPA tank because it can create such a large explosion that can easily blow up the top of a car.

All this is because HPA tanks have compressed air at 4500 PSI.

Anything above about 2300 – 3,000 PSI, putting a single drop of oil, petrol, or any other petroleum product will explode just like a diesel engine.

When you put oil in the tank, and then you shoot the pressure up inside the tank to take 4500 Psi, the pressure causes the oil to ignite, and your tank explodes. So under any circumstances, never put oil into your fill nipple.

Putting it into the fill nipple will be put into the tank. And once the pressure hits the tank, it’s going to explode.

If your fill nipple starts to leak, bring your HPA tank to the fill station, and try to tap the fill station. Hit that button a couple of times and maybe see if you can blow the dirt past it.

If that doesn’t work, drain your HPA tank.

How to drain your HPA tank:

Before you start refilling your HPA tank, make sure it is empty. It is an important step because you never know how much gas is still present in the tank.

To drain your HPA tank, you will need an air compressor hose along with proper compressed air fittings.

Attach your air compressor’s hose fitting to the HPA fitting. Now tightly screw the other end of the hose fitting into the HPA tank.

There is a valve at the top of this fitting to bleed out the gas. Unscrew this valve. It will let the excess gas out from the tank. (See the image of the bleed valve below)

If you have an adapter, it will make the draining work easy.

Simply hook up your adapter to your HPA tank. Now tighten the adapter with a wrench.

Now unscrew the bleed valve. It will let the excess gas out from the tank.

Once all gas is bleed-out, screw back the valve at its earlier position before filling the tank.

Draining the tank gives you better accuracy and understanding when refilling the tank.

Another way you can do this is to let all the air bleed out of the tank and take it over to a qualified paintball tank store or take it to the field manager and see if they can pull off your fill nipple, replace your o-ring and then put it back on there.

How long can you keep HPA in a tank?

The duration to store HPA in a tank varies upon usage. If the HPA tank is rarely used, then the compressed air inside the tank will start to corrode the tank over time. Gradually, this tank will become unsafe to be refilled and reused.

Every HPA tank has engraved a creation date, two digits represent the month, and the other two represent the year.

And as we discussed above, every HPA tank goes through hydrostatic testing every five years as per US law. After the testing, the tank gets stamped.

Before this hydrostatic testing, it is ensured that the remaining compressed air inside the tank had not gone bad.

Safety measures to follow while refilling the HPA tank:

It is necessary to follow some basic precautionary measures before starting to refill the HPA tank.

Don’t keep the HPA tank on an uneven surface:

Don’t keep the HPA tank on an uneven surface while refilling. If an HPA tank drops down to the ground during the process, it can result in serious damage.

Keep the sick and children away:

When refilling the HPA tank, always make sure no sick person is near you. Also, keep the children away from the refilling place for additional safety measures.

Wear safety goggles and safety earplugs:

It is advised to wear safety goggles and safety earplugs to prevent your eyesight and hearing if any unwanted incident happens because these are the most vulnerable parts and have the greatest chances of damage.

Wear safety goggles and safety ear plugs

Make sure the tank is not punctured:

Before starting to refill your HPA tank, always ensure that the tank is not punctured or have even the slightest leakage.

Keep the tank away from flammable materials:

Keep your HPA tank away from heaters and any flammable material. Any such carelessness can result in a heavy fire or an explosion of the tank, which can cause serious injuries.

Keep an eye on the gauge:

Always keep an eye on the gauge during the refill process because there is very little margin of error when refilling an HPA tank.

A slight mistake can result in overfilling, which can damage your HPA tank and your air compressor fittings, and in the worst case, one can get seriously injured if the tank gets blown.

Most Important Advice:

If for any reason, maybe due to lack of safety measures, you feel unsafe to fill your HPA tank, then DON’T fill it yourself.

Just go to the refill station and get it refilled by a professional person.

Always remember safety should be your highest priority.


Don’t ever put oil in your HPA tank. If you do so, you’re going to get yourself severely hurt, if not killed. So hopefully, this article clears up all the confusion regarding the HPA tank safety.

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