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Reasons Your Air Compressor is Not Building Pressure

Your air compressor seems to be running just fine. You’re not sure whether there’s air in the compressor or none. Or air pressure in your tank reaches a plateau and though the appliance is continuously running, the pressure is just not building.


The main problem of course is that you’re not getting sufficient and much needed air to your air tool. Another possible problematic scenario is this: air compressors (even those ones that will not build pressure) continue to run even past the point where it reaches the cut out pressure level. Of course, it means one thing – you can expect your compressor motor to overheat. Aside from that, it has a not so positive impact on the capacitors, too.


We know it’s a lot of trouble. But do you know what might cause this failure? Here are some possible reasons:

  • The compressor intake valve is failing. If the intake valve has a problem, one sign that you would notice is air blowing back from the intake port. To make sure, you can remove the intake filter, then run your compressor while carefully checking around the intake port. If you feel air pumping from this port, chances are, the intake valve is failing and you probably need to replace it.
  • The compressor pressure valve is not working. This part allows compressing air into the air line from the pump head and then into the tank. If the valve is not working as it should, air could flow into the line going to the tank, but the problem is, as soon as the piston moves, air will then flow into the piston coming from the intake valve. It will also back up the line that comes from the tank into the piston. Of course, when air circles back and forth, there will no pressure build in the tank past a particular point. Turn your compressor off and drain the tank. Pull the line coming from the piston head. Run the compressor, and if you can prevent air from blowing out the pressure port, it could be a symptom that the pressure valve has failed. Your choice of course is either to replace or repair it.


These are just two probable reasons why your air compressor is not building pressure. Like with any major problem your air compressor experiences, when this happens, it is best to shut the equipment done and have it fixed before you use it again.

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