Air Compressor Maintenance

By Robert Robillard on Workshop tips

air compressor maintenance tips

Air Compressor Maintenance tips:

Most problems with air compressors  are a result of normal wear and tear to rubber components due to high usage, lack of lubrication or dirt or water that entering the tool via the air lines  and damaging the internal components.

Air Ccompressor Maintenance

Routine maintenance procedures consisting of the breakdown, cleaning and installation of the proper O-ring kits and trigger valve kits will prevent and/or correct approximately 90% of the symptoms.

If your compressor is conventionally lubricated, be sure to check the oil regularly and change it as recommended in the operator’s manual. And don’t forget the air filter. All air compressors have an air filter to keep the dirt and dust out of the compressor pump. If you run the compressor in a dusty environment, check and clean the air filter often.

The following are a few tips to keep you air compressor running at peak efficiency.  These air compressor maintenance tips will ensure you remain productive and efficient while decreasing tool downtime due to maintenance issues.
1.  Regulate the air flow:

Use the tools regulator to the recommended settings for your tools.  Never use more air pressure than is necessary to drive the fasteners. Tank pressure in an air compressor varies between the pressure it’s set to start up and the pressure it will cut out. Regulators maintain a constant pressure to the tool regardless of this pressure fluctuation at the source.  Most air compressors will operate well at 80 to 95 PSI. a simple rule of thumb is if the nails set well at 85 PSI, continue to use that pressure.

2.  Drain the tank when done:

Air compressors generate condensation in the air storage tank.  You should drain this tank daily.  To do this, open the drain valves near the bottom of the tank/s, while the tank still has air pressure in it.  The air pressure will force the moisture out.    Close the valve to store the compressor.  Just tighten finger tight, no tools, until the air stops leaking.

3.  Set compressor up at the power source:

Use a long air hose not a long electrical cord. Long cords place too much strain on the capacitors / motor of the compressor and increase the likely hood that you will pop the circuit breaker.  If you must operate it in a remote area, use a heavy gauge extension cord as follows:

Distance Electrical Extension Cord Gauge:

25 feet 14
50 feet 12
100 feet 10
150 feet 8

4.  Use quality air hose:

Avoid using small diameter air hose.  Smaller hoses tend to restrict the air to the tool.  Use a heavy duty 3/8” air hose.

5.  Lubricate:

Most compressors and air nailers need to be oiled unless they are the oil-less type.  Nail guns require a few drops every time you use them.  Air compressors should have their oil reservoir checked daily or at least regularly.

Cold Weather

In the winter consider using 5w or specialized cold weather compressor oil for your air compressor.

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About the author

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor

Rob Robillard is “The Concord Carpenter” Rob is a builder, general contractor, carpenter, woodworker, and editor of Concord Carpenter and ToolBoxBuzzr As a General Contractor and carpenter, Rob owns and operates Concord Carpenter LLC. A full-service remodeling and construction company. Rob is a recognized leader in home building best practices and a source for how-to information for building professionals. On this website, Rob covers all aspects of home construction, building science, home improvement, woodworking, remodeling, and some of the best product and tool reviews. Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review series - Concord Carpenter Videos where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob approaches remodeling and building construction with a pragmatic and problem-solving approach. He enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the construction and remodeling industry. He's a strong advocate for "raising-the-bar" in the construction trades and promoting the trades to youth. #BeAMentor #Green2Great Craftsmanship, quality, and pride guide his journey on this channel The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob

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