How To Maintain An Air Compressor: Follow This 9 Steps

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Written By Scott Angel

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An air compressor is a machine like any other and hence requires maintenance. This not only ensures that the pneumatic equipment is up and running but also offer optimum performance. Neglecting your air compressor can be a costly mistake in the future. As they say, prevention is better than cure. I have provided all the basic tips on how to maintain an air compressor.

In industrial air compressor applications, maintenance of air compressor components is important to maintain the compressor’s performance and longevity. Major issues that affect air compressors are overheating due to dust accumulation, oil leaks, contamination of intake air, poorly maintained internal components, lack of proper lubrication of bearings and seals ,and water injection into the system. For this reason industrial applications of air compressor require more care and maintenance.

Perform air compressor maintenance is a relatively easy task, but if you do not take the proper steps to maintain your equipment, it can lead to costly and time-consuming problems.

In this blog post, we will cover air compressor maintenance tips that can be applied to air compressor .

How Often Should I Service My Compressor?

Incidence Daily Weekly Monthly Annually
Pump Oil Level Y      
Scrutiny Inspection of Oil Leakage Y      
Tank Water Drainage Y      
Vibration and Small Particle Noise Y      
Air Leakage Inspection Y      
Compressor Motor Belt Inspection Y      
Cleaning of Air Filter and Replacement   Y    
Inspect Safety Valve     Y  
Replace Damaged Belt (if necessary)     Y  
Inspect and tighten belt     Y  
Tighten Air Hose Connection     Y  
Get Professional Assistance for Engine or Pump       Y

Depending on how often you run the compressor, servicing can either be annually or quarter-annually.

How To Maintain An Air Compressor: Tips and Guideline

Carefully Read The Manufacture Provided User Manual

This is something you should never overlook. People often don’t even bother to read the user manual and think they already have the necessary information on their fingertips. Well, you are terribly wrong.

You may have used an air compressor in the past but each one of them has its limitation and rules on how to handle it. As a matter of fact, the information in the owner’s manual may be basic but it can help give your machine a longer service life.

Drain Moisture From The Air Tanks On Regular Basis

Whether you live in a humid climate or not, your air compressor is bound to collect some moisture in the tank. The tanks usually have a drain valve that you can use to remove the moisture.

It is prudent to constantly check and drain all the moisture so that it does not interfere with the functioning of the compressor. First of all, release all the air from the tank before you drain out water.

Clean The Air Intake Filter

Dust and dirt can quickly accumulate in the air intake filter. A dirty air filter means that your compressor will be working harder to allow in air. For this reason, its power and performance will be adversely affected.

The air delivery will be lower than normal. The nest thing to do is to always check and clean the intake filter regularly. This way, you don’t give dust or dirt a chance to accumulate on it.

Tighten All The Fasteners

An air compressors runs for most of the day and has a vibrating engine. It’s inevitable that the screws, nuts and bolts will loosen eventually. It may look like a small matter but this is something that can cause a bigger problem.

Save yourself the stress and check these areas periodically. If there are any that have come loose, immediately tighten them up.

Occasionally Check The Hoses

The hoses act like the veins of your machine. This makes them an important component of a compressor which should be taken seriously. Check for cracks and corrosion on the hoses.

A worn out hose will definitely leak some air and put a strain on your machine. If its damages, you can purchase a new one to replace it.

Check And Test The Safety Shutdown System

The safety shutdown system is vital for any air compressor because it works to mitigate accidents and other hazards. This system is supposed to automatically shut down the machine when it overheats or the engines oil pressure has gone too low. Read the air compressor manual for more details on how to keep this system operational.

Change The Air Compressors Air Filter As Needed

A dirty air compressor filter will only do your machine more harm than good. For starters, it allows in dust and dirt which lower the quality of compressed air.

Secondly, it will make the compressor work harder beyond its capacity just to let in air. With time, this will take a tool on your air compressor and cause it to breakdown.

Clean The Fuel Tank

You have to occasionally clean the fuel storage tank to ensure optimum operating conditions. Thoroughly clean the engine at least once in a year. This will get rid of residual buildup and guarantee a longer life for your engine.

Clean Heat Exchangers

At this point, you obviously know that air compressor maintenance is not an easy feat after all. In this case, the heat exchangers have to be cleaned from time to time. Every part on the machine has its specific functions and dirt can easily get in the way.

The air compressor’s heat exchangers should be checked for contaminants, cleaned and any debris that is trapped in the cooling fins should be removed. The reason this area needs to be routinely checked is because contaminants can create damage to the internal components of the compressor. In addition, a mixture of oil and water can form which can create problems.

In this case, the heat exchangers reduce the operating temperatures of the machine. You have to clean them on regular basis so that they can work perfectly well and keep the operating temperature down. At the end of the day, your machine will last longer.

The heat exchangers should be cleaned once every 1-3 months, depending on the environment it is used in.

Change The Air Compressors Oil Filter As Needed

The oil filters in compressors should be changed as needed. The reason the oil filter needs to be checked is because it gets clogged with contaminants that can cause problems in your compressor if left unattended. For example, when the oil gets contaminated with water, oxidation can occur which causes rust and pitting of engine parts. This may increase the chance of leaks.

Check the Heavy Load of an Air compressor

The compressor’s load should also be checked before starting it. The reason this is done is because you want to make sure that there is enough compressed air in the tank and the pump to handle the amount of compressed air needed for production, but not too much or else there will be excess wear on your equipment causing you unnecessary repairs and maintenance issues.

When Do I Have To Replace The Intake Filter?

Clean your air intake filter on weekly basis to get rid of accumulated dust, more so if you use the compressor almost daily. If the filter has debris that won’t come out with cleaning or it has some tears, then it’s time to purchase a new one.

When Do I Have To Replace The Intake Filter?

Clean your air intake filter on weekly basis to get rid of accumulated dust, more so if you use the compressor almost daily. If the filter has debris that won’t come out with cleaning or it has some tears, then it’s time to purchase a new one

How do I know when my air compressor needs maintenance?

An air compressor needs proper maintenance when it makes strange sounds, starts to heat up excessively or runs slower than usual.

If your compressor is making sounds which it did not make before and seems to vibrate more than usual, then there’s a problem. This could mean that the oil levels are low or some parts have come loose. If you’ve checked and there’s no visible damage, then it may be that there is a problem with the air compressor.

You can check air compressor oil level by looking in the oil sight glass.

What Are The Common Signs Of A Faulty Pressure Switch?

A loud noise coming from inside your machine or compressor can indicate that there is an issue with the pressure switch. It may also surprise you by shutting off without warning- this is another sign that your air pressure switch needs to be replaced or fixed.

When Do I Need To Clean My Fuel Tank?

It’s recommended that you clean your fuel receiver tank once a year to ensure optimal engine performance. How often you need to do the cleaning depends on the type of oil used in your compressor, and how much it is being used.

If you use poor quality or lower viscosity oils, then more preventive maintenance may be required. In addition, if you operate your compressor in dusty environment or perform a lot of short runs, this will also require more frequent cleanings.

How Do I Change The Oil In My Air Compressor?

In order to get optimal performance from your air compressor system, you’ll need to replace its lubricating oil. You can either bring your machine into an authorized service center or perform this task in-house.

Your compressed air system will typically require oil changes every 100 hours of use, so if you’re using yours daily then most likely you’ll need routine oil check. How often you need to change the oil will depend on your compressor’s preventive maintenance schedule, which can be found in its user manual or online under ‘specifications’.

How Can I Prevent Corrosion On An Outdoor Compressor? How

You should apply a special oil designed for use with compressors and spray this product onto the exterior of your air compressor. This will help keep moisture away, thus air compressor preventive maintenance is essential from any oxidation or buildup that could cause deterioration. How often you need to do this is dependent on the humidity in your area. You can either apply it before storage or after use, but definitely prior to putting it away for any length of time.

Final Verdict

Maintaining your air compressor is necessary. If you don’t like to maintain it carefully, a few days later you have to buy one like the previous one. But it can be dangerous too if you don’t use it wisely.

The best way to maintain an air compressor is by following the manufacturer’s instructions. This includes using it at the maximum PSI rating, not storing it in areas that are too hot or cold for extended periods of time, and having regular preventive maintenance performed every six months.

With these air compressor maintenance tips, you should be able to make sure that your air compressors are properly maintained. We can also help you get started with any of the other home maintenance projects that we specialize in. If you follow these simple guidelines, there’s no reason why your air compressor won’t last many years!

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