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Why Your Compressor Isn’t Building Up Pressure

If you own an air compressor, you might have experienced this at least once: the motor runs and the pump seems like it’s running, but the air pressure in the tank just isn’t rising up – or it can rise up to just a certain point, and it just stays there. An air compressor that does not build pressure might have a few problems to consider. Here are some of the things that you should check when you encounter this problem:

Power Supply

If you do not have sufficient power supply, it is possible that the motor can only generate pressure to a certain level, but it definitely would not exceed that level. If you have to use an extension cord, ensure that your power supply is heavy enough to provide power to the compressor over the length of the cord. You also have to check if you have a clean power supply. Compressors run best will full electrical supply from a reliable circuit. Avoid using lengthy extension cords for good measure.


Compressors have valves that allow air to enter the cylindrical area as the piston moves down. These valves also allow the air to be directed into the tank line when the compressor piston is on the compression stroke. If one of the valves break, then your compressor might run the whole day but it will never build up pressure. There are two types of valve: intake valve and pressure valve. If the intake valve breaks or fails, the compressor will draw air as the piston descends, but the air will blow right back by the intake valve. If the pressure valve breaks, air will flow into the tank through the pressure valve on the compression stroke, but the air will be drawn right back out of the tank as the piston descends.

Presence of Leaks

If the pressure of your compressor reaches only a certain level and won’t go past that, you can turn off your compressor or unplug it. When you do this, watch the tank gauge. You are checking for an air leak that you won’t be able to hear while the compressor is running. Monitor the tank gauge and see if the pressure drops. If it does, the leak may be bleeding off enough air, making it difficult for the compressor to build pressure past a certain point.

If you still can’t figure out the problem, you might want to call in trusted professionals to sort it out for you.

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