You’ve made a sizable investment into your air compressor, so you’ll want to get the most life from it that is possible. Here are some simple air compressor tips and tricks that will help you achieve years of trouble-free operation.
- Follow instructions – It may seem obvious, but reading the manual for your air compressor is a small time investment with big payoff. You’ll learn the maintenance schedule as well as operating guidelines for your compressor. With this information, you can extend the life of your equipment and minimize downtime.
- Check oil levels daily – For compressors that use oil, check oil before every use. Operating with insufficient oil is a quick way to seriously damage your compressor.
- Clean intake vents – Keep your air intake clean, especially if your environment is dirty or dusty. Buildup on intake vents will force your compressor to work harder and rob it of pressure.
- Replace the separator element – This separator element needs to be replaced every 2,000-8,000 hours of use (depending upon make and model of the compressor) and prevents excessive oil usage. Analysis has shown that compressor energy costs rise by 1% for each 2 PSI of separator pressure drop.
- Keep things tight – Vibration from compressor operation can loosen screws, nuts and bolts. Check them periodically and tighten anything that has wiggled loose.
- Keep an eye on hoses – Inspect all of your compressor’s hoses regularly because any cracks can lead to leaks, which in turn imposes strain on the compressor’s other components. Replace any hoses that are cracked or damaged.
- Drain moisture and contaminants – The receiver tank collects moisture from the air that it’s compressing. Empty this regularly to prevent water build-up in the system. Also check systems like filters and separators for removing other contaminants like oil. Watch for condensate stuck upstream of the drain.
- Monitor temperature – Your manufacturer will specify acceptable operating ranges. Excessive heat will cause extraordinary wear and shorten your compressor’s life. To help with this, your compressor may have a built-in safety shutdown system if it gets too hot, so test this feature to make sure it’s functioning.
- Patrol for leaks – Leaks can originate from lines, gaskets, fittings, valves, clamps and connections. They can divert an estimated 25 percent of your compressed air, so check the entire system regularly. Ultrasonic leak detectors can be helpful.
- Look and listen – Keep your ears tuned for strange noises and watch for things like excessive vibration or belts that slip. Know what your compressor’s gauges should read when it’s operating normally. If you are monitoring your machine closely, you can prevent major damage.