Although many businesses rely on compressed air to ensure optimal process performance, reliability, and safety, many companies still overlook air compressor maintenance and upkeep. Regardless of your specific industry or compressor application, air compressors often play a major role in day-to-day operations. As compressor breakdowns can result in costly, time-consuming repairs and increased downtime, proper maintenance is crucial.
Below is a short checklist of five easy ways to avoid air compressor problems and ensure your equipment continues to run smoothly and efficiently.
1. Drain your air receiver tank.
Drain air from your compressor’s air receiver tank through the drain or plug located at the bottom of the compressor. When the receiver tank collects air from the machine, excess water and moisture is created and collected when in use. This is especially common during warmer seasons when there tends to be higher levels of humidity in the air. The moisture in the air is condensed in the receiver tank, adding up to large quantity of water in a short amount of time if not drained on a daily basis; receiver tank and piping damage can occur in the form of corrosion. A 25 HP/100 SCFM compressor can make 2-3 gallons of condensate per hour. Downstream, point of use equipment, can be damaged as well as improper function of the air compressor due to lack of storage capacity for the air. Ultimately an Automatic drain is recommended as well as manual bypass drain for daily inspections. There are several types of auto drains ranging from electronic timer, electronic zero-loss, auto magnetic float style.
2. Check your hoses.
Since the hoses in an air compressor act as the system’s key connection points, any damage to the hoses can be catastrophic to the whole system. To prevent leaks and cracks from developing, it’s important to check your hoses frequently — at least on a weekly basis. Hoses often become damaged as a result of inclement or cold weather, which can cause them to crack or corrode. Such damage then results in leaks, which can be quite costly due to reduced machine performance and expensive repair needs. Performing routine checks will help ensure that hoses remain clean and intact. And since leaks are often hard to detect, a leak-detection device can be hugely helpful for finding leaks early on — before major damage occurs.
3. Change the air filter.
Air filter inspections should be performed on a monthly basis and more frequently in dusty environments. It is not recommended to clean air filters unless they are designed to be cleaned and reused. Dirty filters restrict air flow, this makes the air compressor less efficient as well as allowing dirt and debris into the air compressor bearing and oil, causing premature failures as well as possible contamination down stream. This contamination is very crucial in the food and beverage industries, hospitals, surgery centers, labs, paint and body shop, and some manufacturing facilities.
4. Check the fittings.
Your fittings should be checked regularly to ensure that they’re forming a tight enough seal. Loose fittings can cause leaks to occur at one or even several sites on your air compressor. When fittings appear to be worn out or corroded, replace or repair immediately to reduce cost and inefficiencies.
5. Have a professional service team come out.
To save valuable time and provide some peace of mind, consider having a professional service team come out regularly to check for leaks, perform preventative maintenance, and make any needed repairs. Being proactive in scheduling routine checks and upkeep can help save time and money down the road, reducing the risk of extended downtime and costly repairs. This will also give you a more complete picture of your equipment’s health and help you anticipate any necessary fixes or issues well in advance. Plus, rather than worrying about the state of your air compressors, you’ll have more time to focus on your day-to-day business operations.
Keeping your air compressor healthy is one of the best ways to ensure your equipment and operations continue to run smoothly. Compressed Air Systems specializes in all aspects of air compressor maintenance and optimization.
Moisture buildup, in particular, is one of the most common air compressor issues, and we frequently field questions from clients on how to best avoid it. To learn how to fix air compressor moisture issues — as well as the other common problems discussed above — download our free guide to moisture content in compressed air.