How to Maintain an Air Compressor

July 21, 2012 by  Filed under: Email 

While once used solely in commercial construction projects, air compressors are increasingly being put to use in a home environment for DIY projects. By sucking in air and compressing it into a much smaller space, air compressors power a variety of tools such as nail and paint guns, allowing for a level of control not possible with other equipment.

With this influx of air compressors into home projects comes the need to take on new knowledge, especially when it comes to maintaining air compressors. Keeping an air compressor in tip-top condition is relatively easy if you follow the tips outlined below.

How often you maintain your compressor comes down to how often you are using it. If you use the compressor quite heavily, you will have to drain moisture from the device daily to ensure it continues functioning properly. Otherwise, you can do this on a periodic basis – just remember that it’s important that you do keep on top of it.

It’s important to regularly clean out the vents of your air compressor, especially if you are working in a particularly dusty or dirty environment. Dust and dirt can accumulate in the vents of your compressor which, although it won’t ruin your compressor straight away, will directly affect how effective your compressor is and shorten the life of the product in the long term.

On a similar note, you need to change the filter on your air compressor regularly. A general timeframe is around every six months but this can differ on a case-to-case depending on how well you clean your compressor. Again, not doing this won’t destroy your compressor but will significantly hamper its performance.

You should also take safety into consideration when performing maintenance checks on your compressor. Are there any loose power cords or pieces missing from the compressor? Air compressors, while useful, originated in a commercial construction environment and as such should be treated in much the same way as any other power tool, with potential hazards identified and dealt with as soon as possible.

Another key tenet of safety is the safety shut-off features that most compressors will have. This feature will kick in and shut down the compressor should the machine get too hot. Check that all is in order with the safety shut-off features – if you’re unsure of how to do this, consult the manual that came with your compressor. The implications of not having working safety shut-off features can be grave; you risk permanent damage to your compressor as well as potentially severely injuring yourself.

The final step to good air compressor maintenance is to go around and check that all the basics are in working order. This means checking that the hose is functioning correctly, with no blockages or tears in the piping. Resist the urge to tape these holes up, as any serious pressure will expose faults, and invest in some new parts.

Check the nuts and bolts of your compressor as well – usage will generally make these looser so you need to tighten on a semi-regular basis to ensure you are getting the best out of your machine.

Always remember to consult the manual included with your compressor when undertaking maintenance, as it will tell you how exactly things should be working, making diagnosing any issues easy. It should also outline your warranty agreement, so you can make sure any work you do perform on your compressor won’t void your warranty.

Christopher Joseph Smith is writing on behalf of Excel Compressors, specialists in air compressor services

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