Your air compressor is an important part of your facility’s everyday operations. It needs to be functioning properly every day, otherwise your production will slow and your profits will decrease.

Luckily, there are some warning signs you can look out for to help minimize negative impacts and get you back to regular production quickly. Let’s look at seven of the most common signs it’s time to get your air compressor serviced:

1. It Won’t Turn On

This one is pretty straightforward. If your air compressor won’t turn on, something definitely needs maintenance.

2. It’s Losing Pressure

If you notice a dramatic decline in pressure, it’s likely that your air compressor and compressed air system has a leak (or a few leaks). Air leaks not only cause a consistent loss of pressure, but they’re also expensive. They cause your machine to use excessive amounts of energy to operate, which could lead to skyrocketing costs on your utility bills. By servicing your air compressor, you can detect the source of the leaks, stop the leaks, and maximize your energy efficiency.

3. It’s Louder Than Usual

While air compressors are naturally loud machines, you should be able to tell if yours is making more noise than usual. Loud noises are a sign that one of many things could be wrong, including the following possibilities:

  • There are loose parts
  • The pistons are hitting the valve plate
  • There are crankcase problems
  • It’s improperly mounted to the floor

4. It’s Giving Off Excessive Oily Air Discharge

Unless you have an oil-free air compressor, your machine needs oil to function properly. However, when too much oil is aerosolized by your compressor, it can damage pneumatic tools and accessories and impact the quality of your production. There are a few common culprits of this problem, including:

  • Piston rings are worn or inverted
  • The oil viscosity is wrong
  • The oil tank is overfilled
  • The intake filters are worn

5. It Overheats Frequently

Your air compressor’s ideal operating temperature range is between 50-85 degrees Fahrenheit. If it experiences extreme heat, serious damage or even complete shutdowns can occur. If your system is continuously overheating, it needs to be maintenanced to avoid further damage.

6. Its Circuit Breaker Tripped

Your air compressor has a high-capacity induction motor that keeps it running smoothly and efficiently. However, if that motor is faulty, it can trip the system’s circuit breaker. This causes electrical connections within the motor to short. When those electrical connections short, the sudden flow of electricity draws too many amps, tripping the circuit. If you sense this may be the problem with your compressor, it’s important to get it serviced as soon as possible to avoid further motor damage.

7. It’s Giving Off Excessive Moisture

The condensation produced by your air compressor is measured by pressure dew point (PDP), which indicates the temperature at which a gas reaches its saturation point and condenses into liquid. But while some condensation in your air compressor is normal, it’s important to keep it to a minimum, or a low PDP.

There are some methods you can use to remove some condensation, but as your compressor ages and wears down, this will eventually become a problem. If you notice an excessive amount of moisture within your system, you should have it serviced to find out what’s wrong.

How Often Should You Have Your Air Compressor Serviced?

The maintenance schedule for air compressors varies depending on the type of compressor. However, there are some general guidelines you could use as a reference to ensure you are increasing the lifespan of your compressor. The best air compressor service timeline is divided into two parts: basic preventative maintenance and full preventative maintenance.

Generally speaking, a basic preventative maintenance appointment should be scheduled after every 1,000-2,000 operating hours. This includes basic care like:

  • Checking for leaks
  • Tightening electrical connections
  • Changing oil and air filters

A full preventative maintenance appointment should be scheduled after every 4,000 hours or every 12 months. This includes the basic care listed above, as well as some more involved steps like:

  • Checking air/oil separators
  • Checking lubrication levels
  • Checking drain valves
  • Checking belts

How To Know If You Should Replace or Repair Your Air Compressor

One way to know if you should replace or repair your air compressor is to look at the pricing estimates for necessary repairs. If those pricing estimates are over half of the cost of a new compressor, it’s probably better to invest in a new machine.

However, there are still scenarios where repairing is the better option, depending on what’s wrong with your compressor. The best way to know for sure is to consult with a professional who can perform an audit to help you understand what each scenario would look like for your facility.

Consult a Professional for a Comprehensive Evaluation

Is your air compressor showing some signs of wear? Contact the team of experts at TMI to get a full evaluation. We’ll help you figure out what can be serviced and what should be replaced to get your compressor back in top shape.