Air Compressors

Air compressors have been around for quite some time, and are still ranking high in popularity. The reason these machines remain so popular is because the air it uses as a resource is convenient, clean, flexible and safe. The reliability of air compressors is high due to the fact that they are vital for many applications.  

Use for:

  • Supplying high-pressure clean air to fill gas cylinders

  • Supplying moderate-pressure clean air to a submerged surface supplied diver

  • Supplying moderate-pressure clean air for driving some office and school building pneumatic HVAC control system valves

  • Supplying a large amount of moderate-pressure air to power pneumatic tools

  • Filling tires

  • Produce large volumes of moderate-pressure air for large-scale industrial processes

Methods of Air Compression

  • Positive Displacement

  • Dynamic Displacement

Types of Air Compressors

  • Axial-Flow Compressor; dynamic

  • Centrifugal Compressor; dynamic

  • Reciprocating Compressor; positive displacement

  • Rotary Screw Compressor; positive displacement

Though air compressors perform the same function, they come in a variety of designs, sizes and types. When looking to purchase a new machine, understand your needs and consider the following tips:

  • Air Flow; most common, CFM (cubic feet per minute)

  • Electrical or Gasoline

  • Portable or Stationary

  • Tank Size; small or large

  • Pump Types; belt-driven and direct-drive

Maintenance Tips

  • Read and follow the manual; follow the manual for tips and guidelines to get long life use out of your air compressor.

  • Drain the moisture from the tanks; since the receiver will collect moisture from the air that it’s compressing, most tanks will have a valve to drain the moisture that accumulates. Before draining, be sure to release the air pressure from the tanks.

  • Clean intake vents; don’t force your air compressor to work too hard to intake air, you’ll lose power on your compression. Check your intake vent regularly to keep as clean as possible.

  • Tighten all fasteners; screws, nuts and bolts will loosen as your air compressor is running and vibrating. Be sure to check them intermittently and tighten as needed.  

  • Check hoses regularly; keep an eye out for cracked or corroded hoses as it could lead to leakage and excessive strain on the air compressor’s components. Replace as needed.

  • Test the safety shutdown system; the safety shutdown system will shut of your compressor if it gets too hot or if the engine’s oil pressure is too low. For a longer lasting compressor, be sure this safety function works properly.

  • Change air filters as needed; filters must be checked and changed regularly to avoid heavy dust and dirt build up. If you don’t use your air compressor quite as much, air filters can be changed every six months or so.

  • Clean the fuel tank; yearly cleaning should be done on the engine to remove any residual build up from the fuel.

  • Check and change the compressor oil; this should be checked daily to ensure your machine is topped off. Every 500-1000 hours of use, change the oil to ensure maximum performance.

  • Change the separator element; replacing the separator element every 1,000 hours of operation can keep your compressor in top condition.

  • Clean the heat exchangers; clean regularly to keep operating temperatures down and to increase the lifespan of your air compressor.

[Links to Equipment Type Guides/Manuals]

[Links to Equipment Type Video]

Air Compressor Manufacturers

  • Atlas Copco

  • California Air Tools

  • Campbell Hausfeld

  • Champion

  • Craftsman

  • DeWalt

  • Eaton

  • Emglo

  • Grex

  • Grizzly

  • Hitachi

  • Ingersoll-Rand

  • Jenny Air

  • Makita

  • Maxus

  • Oasis

  • Porter-Cable

  • Quincy

  • Ridgid

  • Rolair

  • Saylor-Beall

  • Senco

  • Stanley-Bostitch

  • Sullivan-Palatek

  • Thomas


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