A Guide To Basic Air Compressor MaintenancePosted: October 4, 2012
Even if you’re only hiring air compressors, rather than buying one, you should still be aware of how to carry out basic maintenance tasks – especially if you’ll be leasing the machinery for a few weeks or months at a time.
Although it’s highly unlikely that any compressor you hire will arrive with a problem, it’s better to give the equipment a brief inspection before you use it, just to be certain.
One of the main reasons to carry out routine maintenance on a compressor is to reduce the likelihood of it breaking during the work, which could significantly delay your project and push costs higher.
Here are a few things you can do to keep your compressor in good condition:
Clean the inlet filter
An air compressor has to suck in air in order to function and, if the inlet valve gets clogged or dirty, it can put a strain on the rest of the system as it is unable to supply a sufficient volume of air to work effectively. Check the inlet filter regularly and clean it whenever it looks as though it is getting dirty.
Empty the receiver tanks
As the machinery compresses the air, moisture gathers in the receiver tank, which needs to be drained on a regular basis. Usually, it will simply be a case of opening the valve to let the water out, although you need to make sure you depressurise the tank before you do this.
Check all the hoses
One of the potential weak points in a compressor is its hoses, which can get corroded or cracked, which will mean the equipment won’t function properly and could even fail completely.
Simply looking over the hoses regularly should be enough, while making sure they aren’t left lying around on the ground or in places where they can get trodden on will help keep them in good condition.
Tighten loose parts
Certain parts of an air compressor, such as bolts and screws, can become loose through day-to-day use because the machine vibrates when it is being operated. It’s therefore vital that you check all the fastenings regularly and tighten any that have become loose.
Change the oil regularly
Just like any other mechanical equipment, you need to change the oil to keep all the parts properly lubricated and make sure they operate to their maximum efficiency. As a general rule,
you’ll need to do an oil change every 500 to 1,000 hours of use, although you should check this on a daily basis to be certain there are no leaks anywhere in the system.
Clean the heat exchangers
The heat exchangers are designed to keep the temperature at which your air compressor works down, which improves its efficiency and ensures the components don’t overheat. If your heat exchangers get too dirty, they won’t be able to operate effectively, which will, in turn, affect the performance of the compressor.
Only clean these when the machine is not in use and has had time to cool down since it was last switched on, though.
Check the safety shutdown system
The majority of air compressors will be fitted with an emergency shut off system in the event that the equipment overheats or runs low on oil. It’s important to check this is working as it should be, otherwise you could cause serious damage to the components in the compressor and potentially need to replace certain parts.