With 30 years of experience (and counting!) of working on air compressors, there are certainly issues we see more than others. As the warmer temperatures approach, we wanted to give 4 tips for keeping your compressors out of the repair shop and running smoothly.
Change the Oil!
For goodness sakes, change your oil! Right now, as I’m looking at the stack of airends we are rebuilding, I am noticing a common thread. Overheated and old oil creates problems for compressors when it starts to gum up the entire machine.
Hotter temperatures speed this process along, too. Neglected and forgotten, your oil turns into a rubbery, gel-like substance that can wreak havoc inside your machine. This is what happened in the photo at the top of this post. Sludge will coat the airend, causing it to run less efficiently and overheat. If your oil is dark or murky looking, it’s time for a change.
Take Advantage of our Oil Sample program.
You can order an oil test to help you detect things like moisture in your oil, varnish (from overheating, cheap oil, etc), or metalware from bearing failure (signaling a failing airend). An oil sample can also help to pick up on particulate matter that might be bypassing your air filter. Because we have the goal of keeping your machinery running smoothly, we will do an oil test at no charge to you.
Running Your Machine in Ideal Conditions
This seems like a no-brainer, but making sure your compressor is in a cool, dry place will do wonders for the lifespan of your machine.
Hotter temperatures will cause your machine to overheat, and excessive moisture will cause rust and corrosion. If you can’t avoid running your machine in a less than ideal environment, be sure to check it more frequently for issues.
Spare Compressors Need to Run
Not getting your system up to temperature is also bad, because 180 degrees is the temperature at which moisture can be removed.
People will oftentimes keep a spare machine, but what they fail to consider is that moisture will build up inside of an airend while its dormant. We recommend running spare machines every once in a while to keep them dry.
Turn Machines Off When Not in Use
Another operational tip would be to discharge all air and turn the machine off when your compressor isn’t in use. The reason you need to discharge your air is because compressed air at 125 psi is 8 times the density of everyday atmospheric air, so therefore it holds 8 times the particulates and 8 times the moisture.
Don’t Forget About Your Filters!
Another area that gets neglected are the filters. Clogged air filters restrict airflow and put unnecessary strain on your machine. When was the last time you changed your oil filter? Air filter? Separator? There are parts that, by nature, need to be swapped out at regular intervals. Here are the intervals we recommend:
- Oil filter – Every 2,000 hours
- Air filter – Every 2,000 hours
- Separator – Every 4,000 hours
Intervals are based on running conditions, so these hours may vary.
Keep a Log.
Without some sort of logging system, it is nearly impossible to keep track of updates you have made on your machines. There are a number of ways you can do this. Here are two:
- Write the updates directly on your machine. Sometimes the old ways are the best! We can provide something for you to stick to your machine. It will also help you to remember recommended intervals.
- Use a shared document. Do whatever makes sense in the context of your organization. Sometimes a Google Sheets document will do the trick. We recommend putting information on a shared document, rather than on your personal drive. This was, knowledge can be easily transferred.
Schedule Preventative Maintenance
By following these simple tips, you can keep your compressors running smoothly and help avoid costly repairs. If you have any questions or need assistance with preventative maintenance, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We are happy to help!