Letter Re: The Tire Shop Option for Nitrogen Packing Food Storage Buckets

For those interested in preserving food in bulk containers in larger numbers in a quick easy fashion.

Most of your up to date tire shops now offer nitrogen gas instead of air for your tires. The biggest advantage of this over normal pressurized air is that the nitrogen machine removes all the water from the system. No water, no water vapor, less change in air pressure while you drive your car. The shop can give you lots of reasons why you want nitrogen, but mostly, its just dry. For a comparison, watch a tech hook up an air nozzle to blow something clean and see how much water vapor is blown out of the normal (usually black) shop air hose vs. the (usually green) nitrogen lines at the tire machine station.

We test our system every morning and the nitrogen levels are generally around 95% purity. When packing our bulk food, for a couple days I would just bring my rice, beans, wheat, pasta, etc filled buckets to work in the back of the Jeep, pop the corner off the lid, and drop the nitrogen hose into the bottom of the bucket. Let the nitrogen displace all the air for 15 seconds or so (nitrogen hose blowing from a 120 psi tank), then pull the hose out from under the lid and snap it tight. Make sure to clean the hose before you get started, and if you have several buckets of evaporated milk, make sure to fill them with nitrogen outside the shop with the buckets sitting outside of your vehicle. If you purge the evaporated milk buckets in the shop, make sure its the bosses day off….

If you don’t know the guys at your shop, minimize your OPSEC by dealing with just the service manager and buying the nitrogen towards the end of the day after most of the techs and tire changers have left for the day. Hopefully you do know your local auto techs and they are already getting prepped. The normal charge for 4 tires is around $20 for nitrogen filled to 30+ psi, you should expect about the same for a truck load of buckets purged at 0 psi. Not a bad lick for zero moisture and 5% oxygen. – Dale in Tennessee