5 Common issues with air compressors
Updated: Feb 9
Air compressors can encounter a variety of issues that make them stop functioning properly. From exposure to extreme temperatures to parts wearing out with age or from lack of proper service, air compressors can encounter problems due to multiple causes. If something seems off with your air compressor, an ESA technician can diagnose the problem and recommend repairs. Compressors Sometimes the compressors on the air compressor can go bad, including the rotary screw and reciprocating compressors. The compressors contain a number of individual parts that can wear out or break. Reciprocating compressors, for instance, have rings, valves, controls, belts, and air intake filters. Any of these parts can become contaminated or worn, which causes the compressor to stop functioning correctly. The controls and check valves on rotary screw compressors are the most common cause of problems. Excessive oil carryover is another problem that can arise with rotary screw compressors. Air Leaks Air leaks can be caused by several problems. You may need an ESA technician to pinpoint the exact source of the issue. Air leaks can be caused by the compressor leaking constantly. They can also arise from the oil fill tune or from under the hood. If the compressor appears to be leaking, try applying soap to the connections to see if bubbles appear. If they do, you've found the leak. The tank check valve should also be examined to see if it needs to be cleaned or replaced to prevent future air leaks. Wear Items Wear items are found in all air compressors. They are parts that move within the system. Wear items common to air compressors include the purge valve, control regulator, check valves, inlet valves, shuttle valves, load and unload solenoids, and blowdown solenoid valve. At least once a year, the solenoid valves and check/shuttle valves should be replaced to avoid a shut down. The inlet valves should be replaced, too. Bad Motor Bearings The motor bearings on air compressors can also go bad and need to be replaced. The motor bearings must have sufficient amounts of grease in order to keep from running dry and ultimately failing. Electric motors that house the motor bearings should also be properly maintained to prolong the air compressor's lifespan. Power and Electric Problems Power that cuts out from air compressors or is otherwise insufficient or unreliable can be attributed to several causes. If the compressor is connected to an extension cord, the motor may not be getting enough energy, which can cause the engine to overheat. Ideally, the air compressor should be connected to a direct power source. The motor may also be old. To prevent air compressor issues in the first place, it's important to have an ESA technician service your machine to prolong its lifespan and improve its efficiency.