What You Need To Know About Air Compressors

Air compressor systems, while designed to handle fairly straightforward tasks, are often complicated to deal with. In using an air compressor, it's a good idea to be aware of their quirks and potential shortcomings. Keep these four issues at the top of your checklist when utilizing one.

Drain Air

Leaving air in compressor systems can create a wide range of possible problems. Foremost is that the air is likely to contain water, and condensation inside the unit will increase as the air pressure changes due to usage. This can lead to corrosion in the tank, valves, and other components, potentially causing plugs or ruptures. It's a good idea to bleed the air and water from your machine every time you've finished using it for the day. Allow it to cool before storing it.

Keep Them Dry and Warm

Employing air compressor systems in settings that are wet and cold can create a number of issues. If the air is wet and cold enough, ice expansion can pose problems to a variety of components. Of particular concern is water contained within lubricants that screw on the compressor unit itself to a tank. This can expand, leading to cracking of components. If you absolutely must use a compressor in a wet and cold environment, try to bring it up to operating temperature for a few minutes before turning it on.

Understand Your Purpose

It's important to draw a distinction between air compressor systems designed for low- and high-demand applications. For light residential use, which includes tasks up to operating a power nailer, you can employ a system with a one- to six-gallon tank and output up to 90 PSI. For heavier commercial uses, such as a power wrench in an auto repair shop, you'll want a larger tank and a system that provides at least 150 PSI of pressure.

Maintenance Schedules

Daily checks should be conducted for the oil level and the condition of the belts. It's also a good idea to regularly check for corrosion and leaks. Air filters need to be cleaned or replaced on a weekly basis.

You should do monthly checks on the safety release valve and all connections, and you'll want to tighten every bolt on a monthly basis, too. The engine or the pump should be taken to an air compressor service technician on an annual basis or after 200 hours of use, whichever comes first.