Three Common Air Compressor Problems To Watch For

If you’ve just invested in your first air compressor for your shop, it can take time to learn how it works and what kinds of issues can arise. And, when new problems occur, it can be tough to narrow down the source of the issue on your own. Luckily, when you understand some of the most common problems that air compressors can encounter, it makes troubleshooting much easier. Here are a few common compressor problems and some tips to deal with them.

Rhythmic Knocking Sounds

When your air compressor starts knocking in a rhythmic pattern that’s similar to the RPMs of the air compressor’s motor, that’s a key indication that the motor is experiencing flywheel or bearing problems. Start by inspecting the flywheel. Tighten the mounting bolt to be sure it’s secure. If this doesn’t stop the problem, you’ll need a repair technician to replace either the main bearings or the connecting rod bearings.

Excessively Noisy Compressor

Compressors are noisy by nature, but they shouldn’t be excessively so. If your air compressor starts whining, rattling or squealing when it runs, that’s a sign that there’s a problem. Start by shutting the compressor off and checking the oil level. If it’s low, fill it.

Once the oil’s filled, run the compressor again for a few minutes to see if that fixes it. If not, inspect the pulleys, belts and flywheel to be sure everything is secure and tight. If the problem persists, you’ll need to call a mechanic to evaluate the condition of the cylinder head and crank case.

Milky, Hazy Oil

If the oil in the compressor’s reservoir is milky and hazy, that means your compressor is leaking water into the oil. This is most common when you run a compressor in an area that’s particularly humid. If possible, move the compressor to a less humid area, or add a dehumidifier to the space where the air intake is placed. Once you reduce the humidity, have a complete oil change and cleaning before putting the compressor back in service.

Air compressors can be the backbone of many shop operations, particularly for the use of power tools. Knowing how to recognize issues can save you from a complete compressor failure, which will disrupt your production schedule significantly. With the information here, you’ll be well prepared to identify several of the common compressor issues before they become disastrous. If perhaps your air compressor is getting a little old and you’re looking to purchase a new one, consider looking into local companies that specialize in tools and equipment, such as Idaho Tool & Equipment.

Author: Randy Ross

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