Tips for Air Compressor Maintenance

Air Compressor

An Air Compressor is a vital piece of equipment in commercial organizations and manufacturing industries. It also plays a vital role in sophisticated instrument laboratories requiring a source of compressed air such as gas chromatograph and atomic absorption spectrometer. The compressed air quality in laboratory needs to be free from impurities such as dust, oil and moisture so additional filter traps are necessary.

An air compressor consists of different parts – including a variety of valves, each of which plays a critical role – that require regular examination, repair and replacement to maximize performance and prevent downtime.

Air Compressor
Air Compressor

The Almighty Valve

That said, there is one valve you should leave at its original setting. During the manufacturing process, the pressure relief valve is adjusted for the maximum pressure permitted by tank specifications and working pressure. If you change this setting and the valve pops, you will have to drain all of the air out of the tank in order to reseat it correctly.

The level of pressure dictates whether or not you should perform maintenance on the tank drain valve. As long as the tank pressure remains below 25 PSIG, you should open the valve daily to drain condensation. If the pressure rises above 25 PSIG, leave the valve closed.

It is wise to remove all valves and clean your air compressor with a soft wire brush and compressed air if you notice that the tank is filling up slowly or the machine is failing to pump air altogether. It is crucial that you disconnect the compressor from its power source and drain the air tank prior to beginning the cleaning process.

In fact, before beginning any maintenance work, you must make sure the compressor’s main disconnect switch is in the “off” position and “tag out” or “lock out” all sources of power. Leaving the equipment connected to any source of power while you are working on it is hazardous to your health and could damage the compressor.

Hoses Affect Everything

Much like valves, hoses are an integral part of your air compressor’s system. When hoses leak due to corrosion or cracks, they can place strain on the rest of the components. You can prevent this from happening by checking them on a regular basis and promptly replacing any hoses that demonstrate compromised integrity.

A Filthy Filter is Foul

Think about it: filthy air filters are going to hurt your compressor at its very core, forcing it to work harder to intake air. That sounds a bit counterproductive, right? Fortunately, there is an easy solution. Simply check your filters frequently and swap out the old for the new if you notice dirt and dust build-up. You can extend the time period between inspections to six months if you do not use the compressor often, but taking a look at filters on a monthly basis is recommended.

A similar theory can be applied to intake vents. Dirty intake vents cause your air compressor to work too hard, especially in an environment prone to dust and dirt, resulting in diminished compression power. You can avoid this problem by keeping the intake vents as clean as possible. It should only take you a few minutes and will help improve performance.

Beat the Heat

Keeping operating temperatures down is an absolutely vital practice for extending the life of your air compressor. Clean the heat exchangers on a regular basis to ensure your unit remains cool under pressure.

A smooth running air compressor delivers compressed air at consistent pressure which is essential for efficient running of instruments with minimal damage to their components . In a nutshell a well maintained air compressor is a key to higher productivity in laboratories, industries and commercial establishments.

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  1. Thank you for these wonderful tips for maintaining an air compressor. The Air compressor is a really important tool for my facility that I run along with few people. I did not know all these things about the air compressor. My compressor is 40-gallon. I do open the valve and clean it from time to time. But other things I did not know. Thank you for writing on this matter.


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