The Importance of Air Compressor Maintenance

An air compressor is an expensive investment elemental in any production facility. With its regular use, especially in a high-performing business, it is easy to forget that it needs routine maintenance to properly function. But sometimes, problems happen and when overlooked, these minor issues will eventually grow, resulting in a larger repair cost that could have been avoided. 

After all, no business can afford to have production halt, due to a failure of your equipment, and we have put together a handy top five air compressor maintenance tips to ensure the longevity and functionality of your compressed air systems.

1. Inspect and Change the Air Compressor Oil

Not all compressors need oil but if yours requires it, make sure that it has adequate lubricant before you operate it.  Without it, the air compressor will operate below capacity and can strain the metal components, which could result in a machine failure.

For instance, on hot summer days when the temperatures soar, oil can lose its viscosity, preventing the compressor from delivering proper lubrication to all internal parts. On the other hand, during winter, there’s a possibility for moisture to get into the oil, possibly thickening it and turning into a sludge that causes multiple issues that all result in engine damage.

To inspect your air compressor’s oil level, here’s what you should do.

    •   Make sure that the equipment is disconnected from the power source.
    •   Place the compressor on a flat surface and remove the fill cap.
    •   Look for dirt or foreign objects and debris that might have gotten into the crankcase.
    •   Measure the quantity of the oil with a dipstick, which should not exceed sit between the bottom and top marks for the sight glass.

If upon inspection, you find that that’s it’s time to change the air compressor oil (or that your oil compressor has reached the 500-1000 hours of use mark), here’s what you need to do.

    •   Place a collection container underneath the oil drain cap and then loosen up the drain cap to allow the used oil to drain out. Once done, secure the drain cap with the use of a tool.
    •   Fill the crankcase with your manufacturer’s recommended oil, but only to the level indicated above.

2. Replace the Air Filter

Using the compressor daily means that the filter will easily accumulate dust and debris, which will affect the performance of your machine. To change the air filter and maintain your compressor’s optimal performance, here’s what you should do.

    •   Make sure the compressor has cooled off and then remove the old air filter by unscrewing the filter top and base.
    •   Check the base for dust and other impurities that could have been trapped in between the crevices. Use a blower to ensure everything is removed.
    •   Attach a new filter on the filter base before screwing the filter top back again and securing the filter.

3. Manage Condensation in the Tanks

During cold weather, moisture usually enters the compression engine as droplets of water easily get sucked in. If the buildup is neglected, rust could possibly build-up, the oil gets sludgy, or worse, the compressor’s circuits get damaged. Here are four steps on how to manage the condensation.

  •   Make sure the compressor is turned off and is not attached to the power source.
  •   Set the tank’s pressure, ideally below 10 PSI.
  •   Look for the tank drain valve and open it to allow all trapped moisture to escape. You can also tilt the tank to let everything out.
  •   Once done and you’re sure that all condensates have been drained, secure the valve to prevent moisture from getting in.

4. Change the Oil Separator

When the compressor has been used for around 1,000 hours, it is time to replace the separator in order to ensure that the oil used in the machine is just but right. Here’s how to change it.

    •   Open the valve to let out any air trapped inside the compressor. 
    •   Locate the separator and remove the bolts to loosen it. Remove the separator lid and be careful not to drop any objects into the system.
    •   Clean the surface of the lid as well as the housing. Don’t forget to include the holes and the bolts.
    •   Replace the old separator filter with a new one and reattach the housing to the system. Use the right wrench to reattach the bolts and other parts.

5. Follow a Routine Maintenance Schedule

It is important to ensure that you follow the air compressor maintenance schedule outlined in your user manual, including ensuring your air compressor is serviced by a professional at least once every twelve months. In addition, to maintain optimal performance it is recommended you also do the following preventive maintenance measures.

    •   On a daily basis you should check the belt, oil levels and air leaks, drain the water in the tank, and lastly, check for vibration and other irregular noise.
    •   As for air filters, clean or have them replaced once a week.
    •   On a monthly schedule, inspect the belts, bolts, hoses, as well as the safety relief valve.
    •   Finally, on a yearly basis or at least after every 200 hours, check on the engine or service pump.

It is important you take steps to protect your compressed air system at all costs. Remember that by applying preventive measures, you can save time and money in the long run. To ensure that your equipment functions well, partner with a maintenance expert who can provide the appropriate air compressor service.  To get started, consult the team from Cleveland Compressors.


Speak to us today

We know that your business looks for every competitive edge in a tough marketplace. Reducing the cost of energy overhead is a challenge and we offer quality solutions through high calibre products and services. At Cleveland Compressed Air Services, we believe that your success is our success. That is why we provide top notch solutions and support to businesses using our quality products, whether through purchase or hire. After purchase or hire, our stellar customer care draws from a nationwide network of manufacturer trained technicians, ready to serve you 24 hours per day, seven days a week.

Ready for solutions to compressed air or energy problems?  Please call us at +61 8 9452 3669, email us at or contact us online.