Can paintball tanks explode? (How to stay safe)


Over the years, paintball has grown to be a competitive and exciting sport that many take part in. Recently, all the fun and games of this activity have caused people to stop in their tracks and wonder, “Can paintball be dangerous?” When you think about it, paintball tanks are made of harsh gasses like CO2 and contain high air pressure.

Yes, paintball tanks can explode. There have been a few reported cases of paintball tanks exploding and harming others near the explosion. There are several reasons why paintball tanks explode. Here are a few:

  • Too old
  • Manufactured poorly
  • Oil is being put in the tank
  • Severely damaging or breaking the tank during play
  • Not being hydro tested

As you can see, there are several ways paintball tanks can explode. Luckily, it’s possible to prevent a paintball tank from exploding. I’ve decided to break down a few of the most common causes for paintball explosions as well as safety measures that should be taken when handling paintball tanks. This way, you can remain safe while engaging in fun and friendly competition.

Paintball tanks can explode. Make sure you are aware of things that can damage it.

What Causes a Paintball Tank to Explode?

Paintball tanks have the power to cause intense and harmful explosions. Every single cause for these explosions, though, has a way to be avoided. If you take the following precautionary advice to keep a paintball explosion from happening, you can remain safe, secure, and free from worry. Below are a few reasons why paintball tanks explode and how you can stay safe.

Cause #1: The Tank Gets Too Old

Paintball tanks operate very similarly to other objects: when they get old, they stop working. These tanks are the same way. Rather than stop working though, paintball tanks will simply explode. After a while, these paintball tanks are exposed to different pressures for too long which will eventually cause them to explode.

How to Tell if the Tank is Too Old

Usually, by simply looking at your paintball tank, you should be able to determine if it has been around too long and needs to retire. If it looks like it’s been well used over the years then it might be time to consider a new tank.

If the tank has been well-taken care of, it will be more difficult to tell if it is too old and needs to be replaced.

The general rule for the lifespan of paintball tanks is that they can last no longer than fifteen years. This rule normally applies if you take good care of the tank and don’t cause it too much damage.

After ten to fifteen years of owning your paintball tank, consider shopping around and eventually purchasing a new one. This can help prevent your tank from growing too old and exploding.

Cause #2: The Tank is Poorly Made

Sometimes when a paintball tank is made, the manufacturers poorly construct it. This has become less likely over the years as many paintball tanks need to go through numerous tests to make sure the paintball tank is able to handle various types of pressure.

Sometimes though, there are cases where a paintball tank isn’t made strong enough to handle large forms of pressure, so it can buckle and explode. 

Ways to Make Sure You’re Buying a Well-Made Tank

It may be tempting to purchase a used tank for a cheap cost from sellers online, but it’s advised that you refrain from doing this. Budgeting and buying affordable equipment is understandable, but buying a safe and well-constructed tank should be something you save your money for.

You’ll want to buy a paintball tank from well-known and trusted brands. Research popular brands that are reliable in the paintball industry and purchase your tank from them. Tanks that are used or lower-priced are often very low-quality and can be dangerous. Most of these tanks are bought broken or damaged.

This is an instance you will want to be cautious about. Buying a high-quality paintball gun should be worth the extra price you’re paying. When it comes to your safety, you’re better safe than sorry.

Cause #3: Oil is Put in the Tank

When filling up your paintball tank, you’ll notice a fill nipple. Many have assumed that there isn’t any problem with pouring different ingredients such as oil into this fill nipple. This is actually an incredibly dangerous idea. As you fill up your paintball tank, the heat begins to build and warms up everything around it. This includes different oils like the one you’re pouring into your tank.

As this oil fills up, it can begin to heat up more and more inside the tank. These flammable oils will then start a small fire to your tank. That small fire can cause the tank to eventually explode.

These fires normally happen because paintball tanks operate at pressures that are incredibly high. It operates at a measurement of 4,500 psi. Once gas makes its way into the tank, the excess pressure can cause it to explode.

Cause #4: Severely Damaging or Breaking the Tank

This is one of the most well-known and common causes of paintball explosions. Because you’re constantly running and jumping around with your paintball gun, a lot of pressure is being put on your paintball tank.

The constant activity and bumping into other objects can cause your tank to suffer from severe damages. If it’s simply scratching or cutting parts of your tank, you shouldn’t have much to worry about.

When the damages begin to harm what’s below your tank’s paint, this is when you should be cautious. You could be severely harming the interior of your paintball tank. If you damage it too deeply, this can cause the paintball tank to grow weaker and become unable to withstand the pressure. If it can no longer handle the pressure, it may explode.

What to do if Your Tank Valve Comes Unscrewed

There are other parts of your paintball tank that can come undone or break during rough play. One of those is the tank valve. After using your tank for a while after paintball play, your valve may randomly come undone. Sometimes this can become dangerous for the paintball player, and other times, the valve can simply be screwed back on.

When you see the valve become unscrewed, here are a few things you can do:

  1. Stop playing and focus all of your attention on your paintball tank and the valve.
  2. Quickly but very cautiously, screw the valve back onto the tank.
  3. Find an airsmith who is qualified to handle paintball tanks and have them ensure the valve has been screwed on correctly.

Don’t ever remove or install the valve of paintball tanks. Find someone who is qualified and has experience in paintball tanks to handle the installation and removal themselves.

Be Cautious with Your Tank and Use a Cover

Paintball tanks have been created to withstand a lot of bumps and scratches. The durability makes it harder to severely damage a paintball tank, but it isn’t impossible. Even if you’re attempting to be safe with your tank, accidents happen.

You may fall and injure yourself and harshly damage your tank. If it’s damaged too severely, take it to a paintball tank repair shop. They will know how to detect any severe harm that has been done to the tank and will know how to patch it up.

They will often recommend you place a tank cover on your paintball tank. This cover is placed over your paintball tank and works to keep it from receiving different scratches or cuts. Not only does it keep you and your tank safe, but many players have found it to enhance their performance in the field.

It helps improve your aim and accuracy, while also helping you look stylish with its many available designs. You can feel more at ease while playing if you know you have an extra layer of protection resting on your paintball tank.

Check the Pressure in Your Tank to Avoid Damaging It

When you head out to play in a paintball game with your gun at the ready, double-check how much pressure is inside of it. Each individual paintball tank has the amount of pressure it requires listed on the tank itself. You’ll want to follow those measurements exactly to ensure you’re putting the correct amount of both liquid and pressure in your tank.

Most paintball tanks can handle up to three times more liquid and pressure than is listed on the tank, but you don’t want to test that. Keep your paintball tank at the recommended amount and always check that you’ve put enough pressure and liquid in the tank before playing. If it doesn’t have enough or has too much, the imbalance could cause the tank to explode.

Properly Storing Your Tank

The field isn’t the only place you should be looking after your paintball tank. Another way to ensure you’re taking the best care of your paintball tank is to store it properly when it isn’t being used. Here are a few simple steps to follow once you get home from playing paintball and need to put your tank equipment away:

  1. Remove the batteries from your tank and put them in a safe spot.
  2. Grab electrical tape and place it on the 9-volt terminals. This helps keep any sparks from forming. Sparks can lead to fire, which leads to an explosion.
  3. Store your paintball tank somewhere away from anything wet. Wet areas can cause a paintball tank to swell. You’ll also want to keep it stored in a cooler area where the sun isn’t beating down on it that has constant room temperature. If it’s too hot or cold, your tank could explode. You want to keep it safe, so the outer structure remains thick and durable.

Consider cleaning your paintball tank every other time it’s used. This helps keep anything from rubbing onto the paint and eventually damaging the tank’s outer structure.

Cause #5: You Tanks Aren’t Being Hydro Tested

Most tanks will often break or become severely damaged because they haven’t regularly been hydro tested for any possible pressure issues. If they aren’t receiving any type of hydro testing, they won’t get the repairs needed to stay durable. This makes the tank weaker and more prone to exploding from the pressure it can no longer withstand.

What is Hydro Testing?

Hydro testing is used to make sure the tank is able to handle any type of damage or pressure that comes it’s way. If there are any issues with the structure of the paintball tank, hydro testing can pinpoint it. This helps determine what can be done to properly fix the paintball tank.

In order to keep yourself safe when using your paintball gun, you will need to have the tank hydro tested every five years. If you don’t keep up with regular hydro testing of your tank, you could be putting yourself and your other paintball teammates at risk.

If you bought your paintball tank used and aren’t sure when it needs to be hydro tested, you can find the manufacture date on the back. From there, you should be able to tell when it needs its next hydro test.

You can read more about hydro testing in this article I wrote.

What Happens When a Tank is Hydro Tested?

When a paintball tank is hydro tested, it will be submerged and exposed to a large tank of water. Large amounts of pressure will then be placed on the paintball tank to see how much it can handle. The water keeps the tank from exploding and injuring anyone. Before it’s hydro tested, it will be examined top to bottom to see if any obvious punctures have already formed on the tank.

Even after the hydro test has been performed, your inspector will make extra sure your tank is safe to use. This means after they hydro test the paintball tank, it will be given one more look over and examination to make sure they didn’t miss any damages the first time. They will also do this to ensure they didn’t damage the tank while hydro testing it.

What Happens if My Tank Passes or Fails?

If your tank can handle a large amount of this pressure throughout the hydro test, then it has passed and is deemed safe to use for its intended purpose. If it ends up failing, you will need to purchase a new tank, and you’ll need to dispose of the old one immediately.

Once the professional has finished a hydro test and you’ve passed, you’ll be given a sticker on your tank telling you when you’re due for your next hydro test. The overall hydro test process will take approximately 1 hour, depending on the speed and experience of your hydro tester.

Get your paintball tank hydro tested by a professional paintball tank repairman. These can be found in almost any paintball merchandise store. Make sure it’s a qualified professional performing the hydro test. If it isn’t a professional hydro tester your paintball tank, you may find your paintball tank exploding, harming you and others around you.

Some paintball fields won’t even let you play if your tank isn’t up to date on its hydro test. This is because you will run the risk of hurting not just yourself, but several other players in the paintball field. Your tank can explode and hurt everyone around you if you aren’t careful.

Getting Rid of Your Old Tank

If you play paintball long enough, you will eventually need to get rid of your old tank. When you eventually decide to get rid of your old and used tank, there are several different options you can choose in order to properly dispose of it.

  • Empty the tank correctly– There is a lot of pressure sitting inside of your paintball tank. If too much is released at once, this can end up severely harming you. Either attach the tank to your gun, and fire all of the carbon dioxides until it’s all gone, or you can grab the trigger at the top of the tank and compress it. Both of these methods help release the pressure from the tank.
  • Recycle the tank- After correctly emptying your paintball tank, it can be thrown in the recycling bin. You may want to check with your local recycling facility to ensure it can go in your curbside bin.
  • Throw it in the Trash- If you’re unable to recycle your tank, throwing it away in the standard trash is also an option.

Can Paintballs Tanks Explode?

When using a paintball tank, you’ll want to take extra caution while playing. You may end up hurting everyone playing in the paintball field around you if you aren’t taking good care of your tank. Since your paintball tank contains a lot of compressed air, it can become severely damaged if it too much pressure constantly builds inside of it. This is why we’re very fortunate that paintball tanks have been built to be more durable and able to withstand any type of harm due to rough play. This doesn’t mean the paintball tank shouldn’t be cared for though. Make sure you’re using the tank properly and aren’t putting yourself in harm’s way by failing to play with your paintball tank correctly.

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