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Troubleshooting Your Compressor

Air compressors are great tools to have. They make certain tasks easier such as automotive repairs, carpentry, painting, trim work, cutting, and more. Quality air compressors are designed to last for many years, given the proper care and usage. However, even if you do use and take care of your air tools properly, there’s no guarantee that they would not be damaged or have failures along the way. Some factors as to why air compressors might fail include overuse, overloading and environmental factors, to name a few.

Here are some of the troubleshooting tips to aide you when your air compressor fails you at some point:

Problem: The compressor is not turning on.

Solution: Try turning the power off and on again for good measure. Push the reset button and make sure that the outlet you’re using has power. If you are using any extension cords, remove those and check if the circuit you are using has sufficient amperage for your air tool. Check the level of your oil if applicable and refill if necessary.

Problem: The receiver pressure builds up slowly.

Solution: Check the air filter – it might be dirty or needing replacement. You might also want to check on the speed if available. Check for air leaks and loose belts – tighten joints or belts; replace them if necessary. Your air compressor might also have broken low pressure intake or discharge valves – you need to have new valve plates installed.

Problem: There’s a knocking sound while running.

Solution: Knocking sounds might indicate a serious problem with the piston inside the cylinder. If you hear a knocking sound, it’s best to stop using your compressor to prevent further damage. Have a professional look at your compressor or you can call the manufacturer to have further assistance.

Problem: The pressure isn’t building up at all.

Solution: There might be leaks present – this would definitely make your work less efficient and it also poses the risk of overusing the motor. Check for leaks by applying a mixture of water and detergent to all seals and connections on the compressor. Run the compressor and check for bubbles. Once a leak is identified, check the connections around the leak – they should be properly secured. Cracked piping and other damage components might also cause leaks. Contact the manufacturer or a professional.

There are other problems that you might encounter with a faulty air compressor. It’s always best to follow safety instructions and operating procedures. Each unit comes with a manual – familiarize yourself with it. Always contact the manufacturer or a professional for your immediate concerns.


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