How to Properly Care for Your Air Compressor

Repairmen working on compressed air system

Properly maintaining your industrial air compressor will provide you with many benefits. Not only will proper maintenance improve the longevity of your compressed air system overall, but proper care can help you identify system problems far before they cause major damage to other system parts. Furthermore, proper maintenance can prevent costly downtime.

The key benefits of properly caring for your compressed air system include:

  • Downtime prevention
  • Increased air compressor efficiency
  • Reduction in costly repairs from progressing issues
  • Decreased energy costs
  • System leaks can be found and diagnosed early

The pros of properly caring for your machine greatly outweigh the costs of maintenance. The key to performing maintenance that will lengthen the lifespan of your investment is to implement a routine maintenance program from the start. Just like you make a point to routinely change the oil in your vehicle, your air compressor requires similar attention.

Whether you need the assistance of an air compressor technician or have an internal team to perform maintenance, it’s important that you are aware of the regular maintenance needs of your system. Below you will find the various steps performed during air compressor maintenance. 

First Glance Inspection

It can be helpful to take a first-glance inspection of the air compressor system. If the air compressor system appears to be vibrating or making strange sounds, a deeper inspection is in order. Just by listening or looking at the system, you may be able to identify a larger problem such as a leak or clogged filter. You may also be able to tell if condensate is becoming an issue for your system by glancing at drains and traps.

Check Lubricant

Lubricant is a material that is often underappreciated. Lubricant allows parts within your compressed air system to function smoothly and prevent wear down of internal mechanisms. Similar to lubricants in other industrial machines, lubricants will eventually age and lose effectiveness. For this reason, it’s important to check lubricants on a daily basis to ensure that levels are maintained.

It’s also a great practice to regularly perform oil sampling of your compressed air system. This is arguably the most important part of your maintenance routine, so be sure that this is performed according to your system’s manual.

Check for Leaks

If you’ve noticed recently that your system seems to be going through oil at much higher rates, this may be a sign of a leak. Leaks can be found in hoses, valves, joints, tubes, and other areas of your system. Both air leaks and fluid leaks can occur, so it is generally best practice to check your machine for leaks daily. In doing so, leaks can be caught when they are small and prior to needing large leak repairs.

Replace Your Air Filter

Air filters help prevent contaminants from entering the rest of your compressed air system and also help to generate the levels of pure compressed air that you are hoping for. If your compressor isn’t clean, contaminants can easily contaminate the compressed air generated by your industrial system. Cleaning your air filter regularly will prevent this contamination before it has a chance to occur. The frequency at which you replace an air filter will depend on your particular system and the environment it is located in. Check your owner’s manual to determine the interval at which filters need replacement.

Check & Replace Your Air/Oil Separator

Air/oil separators prevent oil from making its way into the rest of your system and affecting your end product. Whether the compressed air system is powering a tool or a packaging system, it’s important that oil is removed from the compressed air produced. To be sure that your separators are doing their job properly, it’s best to check them once a week and replace the components at intervals recommended by the manufacturer. It is also advised to change oil once a year or as recommended by your sample results.

Check Intake Vents & Intake Valves

Intake vents should be checked on a weekly basis and cleaned as contaminants can easily enter these vents. Contaminants can also affect intake valves, so cleaning those often is a great practice to implement in your maintenance schedule.

Contact Us for Compressed Air System Needs

The best way to prevent costly repairs or downtime in the future is to properly care for your compressed air system. By following the repair guidelines above, your system could experience a far longer lifespan than an improperly maintained machine. Routine maintenance can also help you experience greater efficiency within your system and lower your energy bills.

Whether your machines are maintained by an outside technician or an in-house team, ensure that a checklist is created for your maintenance needs. If you need help establishing an ideal maintenance schedule for your particular compressed air machine or if you have maintenance related questions, contact a compressed air specialist at JHFoster.