An air compressor is an essential tool in many different industries, from woodworking right through to auto manufacturing. In order to get the most from an air compressor and ensure it meets your specific requirements, it’s important you do some research beforehand – and often, this means asking a few questions along the way.

Just like all pieces of machinery, air compressors require some maintenance. When air compressors are maintained incorrectly or not maintained at all, they can quickly develop faults and issues. Alternatively, if an air compressor is set up incorrectly, it could be underperforming and you could be losing money.

Knowing exactly what an air compressor is, what issues to look out for and how to resolve them will ensure you’re getting the very best out of your air compressor and will help to extend its lifespan.

At Air Supply, we get asked a lot of questions about air compressors by our customers. For your convenience, we’ve put together the answers to some of your most frequently asked questions, ensuring you are completely clued up before you make a purchase. Alternatively, you might already have an air compressor and need a few questions answering.

How does an air compressor work?

Air compressors are used in a range of different industries. Essentially, an air compressor is a device that converts power into potential energy stored in pressurised air (i.e, compressed air). Air compressors work by forcing air into a container and pressurising it; the air is then forced through an opening in the tank where the pressure builds – when released, this pressurised air can be used as energy for a number of different tasks and jobs.

What are air compressors used for?

Air compressors have a number of uses and are used in both commercial and domestic environments. It’s not just the pros who have air compressors anymore; lots of DIY-ers have them to help out with projects too. They’re used in construction, manufacturing, agriculture, the energy sector and in HVAC systems. More uniquely, they can also be used for railways, cars, diving and even at the laundrette.

Just some of the air compressor uses include supplying high pressure clean air to fill gas cylinders, supplying moderate-pressure clean air to a submerged surface supplied diver and powering portable tools in construction.

How often should I change the air compressor oil?

To ensure your air compressor continues to operate smoothly and performs at optimum level, it’s important to perform routine oil checks and changes. Unless you have an oilless compressor which doesn’t need lubricating, you’ll need to change the oil every now and then.

How often you need to change the oil will vary depending on the individual machine you have and the style of compressor. You should always read the product manual, however, if you don’t have that to hand, there are some basic guidelines you can follow:

  • If you have a lubricated reciprocating or rotary vane air compressor, it’s recommended you should change the oil every three months (subject to the manufacturer’s recommendation).
  • If you have a rotary screw compressor, you should change the oil every 4,000 to 8,000 hours, depending on the type of oil used.

Oil checks should be performed regularly. If you’re unsure when to change your oil or don’t know whether it needs changing, you can check the colour of the oil through the sight glass. If it’s black, it’s time to change it.

What pressure should my air compressor be set at?

The level of pressure you should set your air compressor at will depend on the tools you’re using and the pressure level they require to run effectively. Unfortunately, there is not one answer to this question; it all depends on the tools you’re using. Typically, you’ll find air compressors are set between 90 and 115 psi when you buy them; this is because the average air compressor operates at this pressure.

What is the difference between stop-start and constant run?

A start-stop air compressor has a pressure switch that turns the machine on and off. Start-stop can be applied to either reciprocating or rotary screw compressors and is the simplest control available. The motor driving the compressor is turned on or off in response to the discharge pressure of the machine. The majority of small electric and small gas air compressors are start-stop.

A constant run compressor means the motor continuously runs and therefore continuously turns the pump. This type of compressor is ideal for businesses that need consistent air on a daily basis, such as industrial shops.

How often do I need to replace the air intake filter?

If your compressor has an air intake filter and you use the compressor at least three days a week, it should be cleaned on a weekly basis. If your filter has become clogged with debris and you can no longer get it completely clean, you should replace it right away. Similarly, if you notice any tears or holes in the filter, it needs replacing immediately.

Why is my air compressor leaking?

All air has moisture in it and the amount of water your air compressor produces will vary depending on the quality of air in the given environment, along with the inlet condition. Water condensation is a common side effect of compressed air – the more hot and humid the air, the higher the moisture content and the more water that will come out of the air compressor. Cold air has a lower moisture content.

You should expect a small amount of water to escape from your air compressor. A water trap can be fitted to the outlet air lines to prevent water reaching the tool. You should also drain the compressor after each use by opening the drain cock on the underside of the receiver tank; this will force any moisture out and ensure the inside of your tank does not rust.

How can I find an air compressor service near me?

If you’re looking for an air compressor, there are plenty of places you can purchase one, from online to physical shops. Remember, it’s important to discuss your requirements with the professionals to ensure you choose the right compressor for your specific needs. Buying an air compressor for the first time can be challenging in many ways; make sure you choose a reliable compressed company with a great reputation and top reviews.

Air Supply Ltd: air compressor hire, maintenance and repairs

If you’re looking for air compressor services near you, you needn’t look further than Air Supply Ltd. We specialise in industrial air compressor maintenance and repairs and pride ourselves on our excellent reputation coupled with our outstanding customer service and competitive pricing. Whether you’re looking for a used air compressor or you’re in need of repairs, we’ve got you covered.

Our skilled, experienced and dedicated team offer expert quiet air compressor and repair services across Yorkshire and North East England. We also supply products to the whole of the UK. Established in 1995, our team of experts supply all forms of compressed users with a friendly, professional and efficient service. To learn more about us, visit our website.

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