Many small business owners and DIYers rely on air compressors for powering pneumatic tools, running machinery, or inflating tires. Air compressors make tasks quicker and more efficient.
Like any mechanical device, air compressors require regular upkeep, especially the pump. Learn why regular maintenance is critical for air compressor pumps and some tips on how to keep them running smoothly.
The Consequences of Deferred Maintenance
Ignoring air compressor pump maintenance can lead to costly repairs or even replacement of the pump. It's better to perform regular maintenance than deal with unexpected breakdowns or failures in the middle of a job. In fact, many manufacturers recommend specific maintenance schedules for their air compressors, so it's essential to follow those guidelines to avoid nullifying the warranty.
Failure to perform regular maintenance on air compressor pumps may result in increased downtime, costly repairs, or the need for a replacement air compressor pump. Replacing a worn part sooner could have avoided that expense.
Poorly-maintained air compressor pumps can lead to increased energy costs from machines that are straining to function, decreased equipment lifespan, and safety issues. Follow the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance schedule to keep air compressor pumps in good working order and extend their life beyond the expected maximum. A few items you’ll likely find on their maintenance checklist include the following points that we will explain below.
Checking the Oil and Refreshing Lubricants
Air compressor pumps generate heat, which can result in wear and tear on the various components. Over time, this can lead to decreased performance or pump failure. Regular maintenance—changing the oil and lubricating moving parts like bearings—can reduce heat buildup and keep the pump running efficiently.
Changing Filters, Inspecting Belts, and Cleaning Traps
Oil changes are just one part of regular maintenance that can extend the life of an air compressor pump. Cleaning or replacing air filters should be a regular part of scheduled maintenance for these machines.
Worn belts are dangerous: if they snap, a machine can come to a sudden stop at an awkward and perilous moment in manufacturing, metal fabrication, or auto repair. Check the belts regularly for tears and fraying. Keeping the belt(s) aligned on the pump flywheel and motor pulley is essential, as well as maintaining tension on the belt. There should be no more than ½” of belt deflection when pressing down on the belt at the center point between the flywheel and pulley. Not having the belt properly aligned and taut can wear out the belt, the motor, and the pump bearings.
Loose connections are other hazards. Running a checklist prior to using any machine or tool powered by an air compressor can avoid breakdowns and improve safety.
Industrial compressors have drain traps that capture condensation, which can become corroded or stuck in the open or closed position due to accumulated debris. Inspect and clean drain traps regularly to prevent pressure drops or backflow of condensed liquid into the airstream.
Regular maintenance is critical for air compressor pumps. It can prevent safety issues, increase productivity and output, conserve energy, and save money on repairs and replacements. If you discover worn parts during regular air compressor pump maintenance, look to Master Tool Repair to keep your tools, and your business, thriving.