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Reasons Why Your Air Compressor is Not Turning On & How to Fix It 

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There is incredible value in understanding the basics of how our everyday equipment works, especially for complex machines like air compressors. The more you know about your machine, the better you’re able to troubleshoot when something goes wrong. But what do you do when your air compressor is not turning on?

At face value, this problem may seem straightforward – if the machine doesn’t turn on, then it’s broken. However, the truth is that several factors can contribute to an air compressor refusing to start. The issue could be due to a faulty pressure switch, electrical disturbance, or even a lack of regular maintenance

Having a malfunctioning air compressor can be a significant inconvenience, interrupting your activities or even bringing your entire operation to a halt. That’s why it’s worth taking a deeper look into why your air compressor might not be turning on and how to fix these issues.

5 Common Reasons Why Your Air Compressor Is Not Turning On 

Knowing the reasons behind your air compressor not turning on is the first step toward addressing this issue. Here are some of the most common causes of an air compressor refusing to crank up. 

Faulty Pressure Switch

The Issue: The key role of the pressure switch in an air compressor is essentially to tell the system to start and stop. When your compressor doesn’t kick on, one common culprit might be a faulty pressure switch. For instance, if the pressure switch is stuck in the open position, it may not send the necessary signal to the compressor, preventing it from working as expected.

The Solution: If the pressure switch is at fault, in many cases, the best solution is to replace it. Always make sure to replace the faulty pressure switch with one that matches the specifications of your compressor. Consult your owner’s manual or the manufacturer’s website to find the correct part.

Electrical Issues

The Issue: Electrical problems are one of the most common causes of air compressor failures. From a blown fuse to issues in the engine compartment, several electrical components could prevent your compressor from turning on. Always ensure that your compressor has power. If it doesn’t, the problem might lie within the power supply, wiring, or a fused connection needing replacement.

The Solution: If you suspect an electrical issue, the first step is to click the reset switch. If you find a blown fuse, replacing it may bring your air compressor back to life. However, remember that a repeated blown fuse indicates a bigger electrical problem. Consider consulting with an experienced professional who can rectify any underlying issues that are causing this experience.

Lack of Regular Maintenance 

The Issue: Regular maintenance is crucial for keeping your air compressor in top condition. Not having routine maintenance leaves your compressor susceptible to various issues, including motor failure or low pressure. Regular checks and servicing can prevent unexpected breakdowns, prolong the life of your compressor, and maintain its efficiency.

The Solution: The simplest yet crucial action is performing regular maintenance on your compressor. From changing filters and oil to checking hoses and belts for wear and tear, a little care goes a long way to prevent unforeseen issues. 

Defective Electric Motor

The Issue: If you notice a humming sound or excessive noise when trying to start your air compressor, it might be an indication of a failing electric motor. Additionally, an overheated or burnt motor due to excessive usage or lack of maintenance can also stop your air compressor from turning on.

The Solution: A defective air compressor motor usually needs to be rewound or replaced, which should be done by a professional. A regular check-up of the motor and immediate action at the first sign of trouble can prevent extensive damage and costly repairs.

Low Pressure

The Issue: The air compressor requires a specific pressure level to kick-start its operations. If you notice that your compressor assembly is not reaching the correct pressure level, the low-pressure switch may be the source of the problem. In this case, you might need to adjust or replace the pressure switch. Alternatively, there could be a mechanical failure involving a check valve, which can cause the compressor to trip under excessive load. In certain rotary screw compressor cases, there may be an anti-start switch that activates if too much pressure is sensed. 

The Solution: Manually reset the low-pressure switch to tackle low-pressure problems. If resetting doesn’t work, replacing the switch is the best course of action. Remember to replace it with a switch that matches your air compressor’s specifications.

Understanding and solving these issues will not only ensure the smooth running of your compressor, but will also extend its life, efficiency, and productivity. 


When to Repair Your Air Compressor & When to Replace It

Sometimes, despite our best efforts and intentions, an air compressor might just refuse to work, leaving us with the critical decision of whether to repair or replace it. It can be a tough call to make. Here are some guidelines to assist you in making an informed decision.

Consider the Lifespan 

A well-cared-for compressor can serve you well for about 10-15 years, given it operates under normal conditions and is regularly maintained. However, if your device is nearing the end of this period and frequently causing you trouble, it might be time to consider replacing it.

Severity of the Issue 

If the problem is minor, such as a blown fuse, electrical wiring problems, or insufficient air pressure, it is certainly reasonable to fix it. These fixes are relatively inexpensive and do not take a lot of time. You can do these repairs yourself after a quick search online for your particular model’s wiring diagram.

However, some problems can be more severe, like a broken air suspension or a faulty compressor motor. When these occur, repairing the compressor might pose a significant challenge and can become an expensive affair. For instance, if the compressor motor is to be replaced, it could cost almost as much as a brand-new unit. In such cases, it might be more cost-effective to replace your machine entirely.

Downtime 

If your business or operations depend heavily on the compressor and you can’t afford the time it takes for a lengthy repair, replacing the air compressor might be the most effective route to take.

Energy Efficiency 

Older models tend to be less energy-efficient and can lead to high electricity bills over time. Newer models, on the other hand, run more efficiently and provide long-term cost savings. 

Consider all these factors while making your decision. Still, remember that it’s equally important to consult with experts when you are unsure of the best approach to take. 

Recognizing the Need for Regular Maintenance

The ability to troubleshoot and address your air compressor issues when they arise can save you time, money, and frustration. This blog has shed light on the common reasons your air compressor might refuse to turn on and provided practical solutions for each of these issues.

However, one key takeaway is the importance of regular maintenance. Neglecting routine maintenance exposes your compressor to various problems that can disrupt your activities and even halt your operations. Although you can diagnose and fix your air compressor problems yourself, the smartest and safest option is to have regular checks and servicing by industry professionals. At Advanced Air & Vacuum, we are committed to providing comprehensive services, including repairs, maintenance, and installations, ensuring your air compressor performs optimally, efficiently, and safely. We also offer air compressor parts like oil, filters, dryers, and piping, and we offer support and instruction for those who are eager enough to handle them on their own. 

If you are experiencing issues with your air compressor that we have not covered in this article, please make sure to refer to our previous blog posts where we provided more detailed information on various problems frequently encountered with air compressors. Whether you are seeing a common problem or something more unusual, contact Advanced Air & Vacuum today!

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A Comprehensive Guide on How to Drain an Air Compressor

Air compressors are expensive tools, which is why it is so important to maintain them to ensure their longevity and performance. One simple yet crucial aspect of maintaining your air compressor is regularly draining it. Whether you are dealing with a large industrial air compressor or a smaller compressor, overlooking the importance of draining can lead to a range of problems, from reduced efficiency to significant damage over time. In this blog, we aim to equip you with an easy-to-follow guide on the process of draining your air compressor, making it a task that you can confidently undertake regularly.

An air compressor is a vital tool in various industrial, commercial, and even home settings. It powers everything from pneumatic tools to complex machinery. However, like any piece of equipment, it requires regular care to function at its best. Draining the compressor is not just a recommendation; it’s a necessity. This process helps in removing accumulated moisture, which if left unchecked, can cause corrosion and deterioration of both the compressor and the tools it powers.

So, whether you’re a seasoned professional or new to the world of compressed air systems, this comprehensive guide is designed to provide you with all the information you need to maintain your air compressor effectively.

Why is it Important to Drain Water from your Air Compressor?

The functioning of an air compressor is linked to the concept of air pressure and the use of compressed air. In simple terms, an air compressor takes in atmospheric air and compresses it, resulting in a high-pressure output. This compressed air is a powerful resource, but it comes with an often overlooked byproduct – moisture.

air compressor hoses and valves

The Basics of Moisture Buildup

When air is compressed, the moisture that was once dispersed in the atmosphere gets concentrated. This is because air can hold less water vapor when it’s under pressure compared to when it’s at atmospheric pressure. As a result, this moisture naturally condenses and accumulates within the compressor system.

The Inevitable Moisture Buildup

As the compressor operates, it continually pulls in new air and with it, more moisture. This is not a sign of a malfunctioning compressor but a natural consequence of air compression. The critical factor here is not the presence of moisture but the management of it.

Why Draining is Crucial

Neglecting to drain this accumulated moisture can lead to a host of problems. The most immediate is the reduced efficiency of the compressor. When water mixes with the oil in the system, it affects lubrication, leading to increased wear and tear. But the impact goes beyond just the compressor itself.

Corrosion: The Silent Culprit

Over time, moisture will start to corrode the internal components of the compressor, such as the valves and tanks. This corrosion shortens the lifespan of the compressor and can also lead to costly repairs.

The Far-Reaching Impact of Moisture

The effects of moisture don’t stop at the compressor. When it makes its way into the compressed air supply, it can damage the tools and machinery that rely on this air. This is particularly problematic in applications where dry air is critical, such as in woodworking or sandblasting. The presence of water can lead to poor finishes, clogged tools, and even failure of pneumatic controls.

Draining your air compressor isn’t just about maintaining the compressor; it’s about protecting the entire system and the applications it supports. It’s a simple yet vital routine that preserves the efficiency, reliability, and longevity of your compressed air system.

How to Drain Moisture from an Air Compressor

Having understood the critical importance of draining your air compressor to prevent moisture build-up and its detrimental effects, let’s jump into the practical steps of this task. Remember, regular draining is key to maintaining the health and efficiency of your air compressor and the entire compressed air system.

Understanding Your Air System Components

Before we start, it’s crucial to have a basic understanding of your air system components. The main parts involved in the draining process include the drain valve, aftercooler, receiver tank, and distribution system. Each plays a vital role in the operation and maintenance of your air compressor.

Step-by-Step Guide to Draining an Air Compressor

  1. Turn Off the Compressor: Ensure that your air compressor is turned off. This prevents any additional pressure build-up while you are performing the maintenance.
  2. Release Pressure: Safely release any residual pressure from the air tank. This can be done by opening the pressure release valve.
  3. Locating and Releasing the Drain Valve: The drain valve is typically located at the bottom of the air compressor tank. In some systems, you might also find a drain valve on the after-cooler. Depending on your compressor model, you might have a manual drain valve, which requires you to open it manually, or an automatic drain valve that does the job automatically at set intervals. Open the drain valve by pulling the ring and allow all the water and moisture to flow out. If your system has an automatic drain valve, check it periodically to ensure it’s functioning correctly.
  4. Close the Drain Valve: Once all the moisture is drained, securely close the drain valve.
  5. Draining Frequency: For manual drain valves, it’s recommended to drain your air compressor after each use or at least daily, depending on the humidity levels and usage frequency.

Draining Other Air System Components

Besides the air compressor itself, other components in your compressed air system need regular draining, such as air dryers, receiver tanks, and the piping system. These components can also accumulate moisture and should be included in your regular maintenance routine.

How to Drain These Other Components

Image depicts a drain valve.
  • Air Dryers and Receiver Tanks: Similar to the air compressor, locate the drain valves and release any accumulated moisture.
  • Piping System: Check for any low points where moisture might collect and ensure they are drained properly. Many piping systems will have a drain valve underneath the drip leg which is placed at the optimal low point.

By following these steps, you can effectively manage moisture in your air compressor and the entire compressed air system, ensuring optimal performance and longevity. Regular maintenance, like draining, is a small investment of time and effort that pays off significantly in the long run.

Is There Anyone I Can Hire to Drain My Air Compressor and System Regularly?

Now that you understand the importance of draining your air compressor and its process, you might be wondering if there are other ways to ensure the longevity of your system. The good news is, there is professional help available.

Air compressor used in HVAC being maintained.

The Importance of Professional Maintenance

Proper maintenance of your air compressor is not just about draining the moisture; it’s about ensuring the entire system functions efficiently and has a long lifespan. While the steps provided in this guide are straightforward, they do require time, consistency, and a certain level of technical know-how. This is where Advanced Air & Vacuum steps in.

Advanced Air & Vacuum: Your Maintenance Partner

At Advanced Air & Vacuum, we understand the critical role air compressors play in your business or home projects. That’s why we offer comprehensive maintenance services, including regular draining of air compressors and compressed air systems. Our team of experts is equipped with the knowledge, skills, and tools to handle this essential task and much more, ensuring your system remains in prime condition.

Contact Us for Reliable Air Compressor Maintenance

If you’re interested in learning more about our services or scheduling a maintenance appointment, please don’t hesitate to contact us. At Advanced Air & Vacuum, we are always ready to assist you in keeping your compressed air system operating smoothly and efficiently.

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Air Pump vs Air Compressor: An In-Depth Comparison

Welcome to our in-depth comparison of two important pieces in the world of compressed air—air pumps and air compressors.In this blog, we will explore the similarities, differences, and various applications of air pumps and air compressors. So whether you’re an engineer, a DIY enthusiast, or someone who is simply curious about air systems, stay with us as we venture into the realm of air pumps and air compressors. The purpose of this article is to empower you with knowledge, guiding you toward informed decisions when it comes to your air system needs.

Understanding Air Pumps

To start, let’s begin our analysis by better understanding air pumps. Air pumps present a marvel of simplicity and utility, effectively leveraging the straightforward principle of air displacement.An air pump fundamentally does exactly what it says – it pumps air. Sounds simple enough, right? Its primary aim is to pump air into or out of an object or space. An air pump can function either manually by the physical exertion of force or electrically as seen in an electric pump.

Mechanisms Used to Operate Air Pumps

Now, let’s go a bit deeper to understand its intricacies. Air pumps operate by using mechanisms such as a diaphragm pump, foot pump, or as we just mentioned, an electric pump. A diaphragm pump uses a flexible membrane or diaphragm that reciprocates to create a temporary vacuum. This displacement of air creates a change in air pressure, forcing air out on one stroke and drawing air in on the other. A foot pump, on the other hand, has an interface specifically designed for foot operation. Electric pumps represent a more advanced form of air pumps, providing a consistent air supply without the need for manual effort. With portable capacities and a range of sizes to hang out with, electric pumps are often the go-to option for quick and effortless inflation or deflation. In essence, air pumps are the cornerstone of pressurized air handling, offering versatile and accessible solutions to a multitude of inflation or deflation needs. Whether you’re dealing with a flat tire or a deflated air mattress the properly chosen air pump can make a world of difference.

Understanding Air Compressors 

As we shift gears from air pumps, we land on the most transformative device in the landscape of air displacement systems – the air compressor. An air compressor plays a pivotal role in our daily lives in ways many of us overlook, from allowing our air conditioners to cool our homes on a hot day, to powering pneumatic tools in factories and workshops around the globe.

What is an Air Compressor?

So, what exactly is an air compressor? To put it simply, an air compressor is a mechanical device that increases the pressure of air by reducing its volume, creating what we commonly refer to as compressed air. To understand this better, imagine a storage tank. The air compressor works by continuously pulling in outside air into this tank, reducing its volume, and creating a reservoir of high-pressure air. This compressed air can then be used as a powerful force to perform various tasks that require more than just natural air pressure. Like air pumps, air compressors have several designs. However, the most common versions are the single-stage and two-stage compressors. The devices are classified based on the number of times that air gets compressed between the initial intake and the final destination.

Industrial factory compressor for production line motion close up.

Single-Stage Air Compressors

Single-stage compressors pull in air and compress it in one motion, generally offering a maximum pressure of about 150 pounds per square inch (psi). These are best suited for tasks that require less air like inflating bike tires, car tires, or operating air tools. 

Two-Stage Air Compressors

Contrarily, two-stage compressors have an additional step. Following the initial compression, the air is cooled and then compressed again, generally offering a maximum pressure of about 200 psi. These compressors are often needed for higher capacity applications common in air conditioning, powering high-pressure pneumatic tools, or refrigeration units.

Portable Air Compressors

Man Operating a Portable Air Compressor.

Of course, understanding these compressors wouldn’t be complete without mentioning portable air compressors. As the name suggests, these compact yet powerful units are designed for on-the-go air supply needs, making them well-suited for quick fixes or inflating items on road trips.Fundamentally, air compressors offer a versatile range of applications from inflating tires to powering an air conditioner or a heat pump, right to operating heavy-duty pneumatic tools at a construction site. The air compressor is an unsung hero in a lot of everyday tasks.

Comparing Air Pump vs. Air Compressor

On the surface, air compressors and air pumps might appear pretty similar – they both work with the displacement of air to create pressure. However, how they achieve their purpose and the applications they serve make all the difference.

Air Pump vs. Air Compressor: Similarities

Let’s begin with the similarities. As we mentioned before, both air pumps and air compressors capitalize on the concept of air displacement. They modulate air pressure, creating systems where air can be stored or used. Both air pumps and air compressors provide an efficient way to mobilize high-pressure air.

Air Pump vs. Air Compressor: Differences

The key difference between air compressors and air pumps is in the way they interact with air. An air pump is designed to pump air into or out of a device. It creates air pressure, but not to the point of compressing the air. Air compressors, on the other hand, operate by reducing air volume and creating what is known as compressed air, providing significantly more force.Another differentiator is their capacity and the intensity of the force they can produce. Air pumps are used for situations that need less power like inflating tires or air mattresses where a moderate amount of pressurized air is needed. Air compressors, given their higher capacity, serve applications where more force is required like running pneumatic tools, air conditioners, heat pumps, and more robust machinery.

Air Pump vs. Air Compressor: Components & Complexity

In terms of components, compressors may include storage tanks to hold a reservoir of high-pressure air. This is not typical for air pumps. Also, while air pumps, like bicycle pumps, are predominantly manually operated, air compressors are predominantly powered by electric motors or internal combustion engines.Lastly, air compressors can be a little more complex, comprising of one or more compressing stages, heat exchangers for cooling the air between stages, and more. Conversely, air pumps can be uncomplicated and straightforward.

Applications: Air Pump vs Air Compressor 

Now that we’ve established a solid understanding of air pumps and air compressors, it’s time to explore their various applications.

Applications of Air Pumps

  1. Bicycle Tires: If you’ve ever gone on a bike ride, you’ve likely used an air pump to ensure your tire pressure is at the proper level. These portable tire inflators are invaluable whether you’re dealing with a stubborn Presta valve on your road bike or a Schrader valve on a mountain bike.
  2. Air Mattresses: Have you ever inflated an air mattress during a camping trip or as an extra bed for guests? Electric air pumps effortlessly inflate these mattresses, providing comfort on the go.
  3. Inflating Sports Equipment: From soccer balls to basketballs to inflatable pool toys, air pumps are invaluable in keeping recreational equipment ready for use.
  4. Medical Devices: Certain medical devices, such as nebulizers used for respiratory treatments, rely on air pumps to deliver precise doses of medication in aerosol form.

Applications of Air Compressors

  1. Pneumatic Tools: Air compressors power a wide range of pneumatic tools, including nail guns, impact wrenches, and sanders, making them essential for construction and woodworking projects.
  2. Industrial Machinery: In manufacturing and industrial settings, air compressors drive heavy machinery, such as CNC machines and assembly line equipment, ensuring smooth and efficient operations.
  3. HVAC Systems: Air compressors play a crucial role in promoting air flow for HVAC systems, where they work to supply warm or cool air and regulate humidity.
  4. Automotive Maintenance: In automotive garages, air compressors are used for tasks like tire inflation, powering air tools for repairs, and operating hydraulic lifts.
  5. Painting and Woodworking: Professionals in the painting and woodworking industries rely on air compressors to provide a consistent source of compressed air for spray painting and finishing wood.

Understanding these diverse applications allows you to appreciate the versatility of air pumps and the necessity of air compressors. Whether it’s the convenience of an air pump for your bike tires or the power of an air compressor in an industrial setting, these devices are integral to our daily lives.

Choosing the Right Equipment for Your Needs

When choosing between air pumps and air compressors, consider key factors to ensure optimal performance for your specific needs. For air pumps, think about portability, power source, pressure requirements, and required air volume. In contrast, air compressors require considerations like capacity, compressor type (single-stage or two-stage), power source, tank size, and noise level.By carefully evaluating these factors, you’ll be well-equipped to make an informed decision when choosing an air pump or an air compressor. Remember that your choice should align with the specific tasks you intend to perform, whether you need a tire inflator or power for your pneumatic tools.At Advanced Air & Vacuum, we understand that choosing the right equipment can be a daunting task. Our experts are here to guide you through the process, offering tailored solutions to meet your unique air system needs. We’re committed to providing you with top-notch products and services to ensure that your air systems operate at peak performance, enhancing your productivity and efficiency. Remember, at Advanced Air & Vacuum, we serve as your one-stop destination for all your compressed air needs, from air compressor sales and service to Prevost piping.

Sources

  • Price Industries. “How Does Displacement Ventilation Work?” Price Industries, 4 May 2021. Web. 29 July 2022.
  • Debem. “Operation of Diaphragm Pumps.” Debem, n.d. Web. 29 July 2022.
  • IQS Directory. “Industrial Air Compressors.” IQS Directory, n.d. Web. 29 July 2022.
  • Air Best Practices. “Pros and Cons of Single-Stage and Two-Stage Rotary Screw Air Compressors.” Air Best Practices, n.d. Web. 29 July 2022.
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How To Use An Air Compressor

In this blog, we will delve into an essential guide to understanding and operating an air compressor. Air compressors are versatile tools, widely used in industries and homes for a variety of applications such as inflating tires, powering pneumatic tools, painting, cleaning, and that’s just to name a few.


However, despite their widespread utility, many individuals often struggle with the correct operation and required maintenance of these systems. Mistakes can lead to inefficient operations, increased costs, or even potential safety hazards. As such, it’s crucial to learn how to use an air compressor correctly.


It is also important to keep in mind what issues are most common in air compressors. To better understand these issues, read our previous blog where we went in-depth discussing problems frequently encountered in air compressors.


This blog post serves as a comprehensive guide to give you the knowledge and confidence you need to use an air compressor effectively. Whether you’re a beginner tackling your first project or an experienced hand looking for a refresher, this article has got you covered. We’ll start from the basics, work through a step-by-step guide, provide maintenance and safety tips, and explore practical applications of air compressors. Here’s how Advanced Air & Vacuum can help you make the most out of your compressor. Let’s dive right in.

Understanding the Basics of an Air Compressor

Before we delve into the practicalities, let’s first establish a solid ground of understanding – what is an air compressor and how does it function? An air compressor is a powerful device that converts power into potential energy stored in compressed air. It works by sucking in a large amount of air, compressing it, and storing it under pressure in a tank. This stored high-pressure air is then released in a controlled manner to power a variety of tools and applications.


Let’s Familiarize Ourselves with a Few Key Terms:

  • Compressed Air: This is air that is kept under a certain amount of pressure, typically greater than atmospheric pressure, ready to be used when needed.
  • PSI (Pounds per Square Inch): This is the unit used to measure air pressure in the compressor tank.
  • Cubic Feet: In the context of air compressors, this refers to the volume of air moved by the compressor per minute.

There are Various Types of Air Compressors, Each Suited for Specific Tasks:

  • Portable Air Compressor: This is compact and mobile, great for home use or mobile operations like roadside tire inflation.
  • Electric Air Compressor: Uses an electric motor to drive the compressor, is quiet, and generally requires less maintenance. They’re ideal for indoor operations.
  • Industrial Air Compressor: Used in factories and industrial environments, these beasts can deliver high power for large scale applications.
  • Gas-Powered Air Compressor: Powered by gasoline, these machines are typically robust and perfect for outdoor projects where electricity may not be readily accessible.

Understanding the details of your air compressor, from type to capacity, will help you get the best performance in every task. In the next section, we’ll guide you through the steps of using an air compressor in a practical way.

Step-by-Step Guide on Using Air Compressors

Now that we’ve established the basics, it’s time to understand how to use your air compressor correctly. The first crucial step is to read the owner’s manual. No matter what type of compressor you own, the manufacturer’s guidelines will hold specific insights about the model you are using.

  1. Connecting your compressor to a power source: Depending on your type of air compressor, you will need to connect it to an appropriate power source. This could be an electric power tool, a generator, or simply plugging into an extension cord. It’s crucial to follow manufacturer instructions to provide the right power resource for your compressor.
  2. Setting up your compressor: Before starting, join the air hose to the compressor’s air outlet. Connect your air tool, such as a nail gun or paint sprayer, to your air hose. Make sure all connections are secure to prevent any air leaks. Next, open the compressor’s storage tank to enable airflow, accelerating the compressor’s performance.
  3. Adjusting pressure: Your pneumatic tools will need distinct pressure levels (PSIs) to operate optimally. To set the pressure, look at the pressure gauge while your compressor is running. Adjust the air pressure by turning the pressure regulator knob until you get the recommended PSI on the pressure gauge. Most tools have a recommended PSI listed within their owner’s manuals.
  4. Checking Oil Levels: For compressors that require oil, regular checks on the oil level are critical. To check the oil level on an air compressor, locate the oil sight glass or dipstick, which is commonly found on the side or bottom of the compressor pump. Always make sure the compressor is turned off and fully depressurized before performing any maintenance. Using the compressor with inadequate oil can significantly harm the electric motor.

So far, so good? Remember, every air compressor might have its specifics, but the basic operation remains the same. In the next section, we’ll identify key maintenance steps and safety precautions to ensure the longevity of your device and your own well-being.

Maintenance and Safety Tips

A well-maintained air compressor is a long-lasting one. But more critically, proper maintenance ensures safer operation. So, let’s discuss some essential maintenance and safety measures.


Regular Checks
Scheduling regular checks can prevent potential problems that could lead to system breakdowns. Key components to inspect include the air filter, oil level (for oil-lubricated compressors), air compressor tank, and drain valve. The aim is to ensure all these components are in good shape and replace any worn-out parts promptly.


Proper Draining of the Compressor Tank
Moisture tends to accumulate in the air compressor tank over time, especially in a humid environment. This can lead to rust and damage to the tank. To avoid this, drain your air compressor tank regularly. Most tanks come equipped with a drain valve at the bottom. It’s essential to always have the air release before you drain the water.


Safety First
Always wear proper safety gear when operating your compressor, including safety glasses and steel-toe boots. Make sure to keep the work environment clean and free of clutter to avoid accidents.


Consider the Air Hose
The air hose is one of the unsung heroes when operating an air compressor. Make sure the hose is properly connected and in good condition. If the air hose is damaged, it could lead to the hose bursting, causing severe injuries.Preventative maintenance increases the lifespan of your compressor and keeps it functioning effectively. In the final section, we will explore the various practical applications of air compressors. Let’s make the most out of your air compressor!

Practical Applications of Air Compressors

Air compressors are incredibly versatile devices with countless practical applications. Apart from powering your pneumatic tools effectively and efficiently, air compressors can make a surprising number of everyday tasks much simpler. Let’s consider a few:

  • Inflating Tires: Whether it’s a bike tire or a motorbike tire, you would find your air compressor very handy. They allow you to set your desired PSI, ensuring safety and optimal performance.
  • Cleaning: By generating a strong gust of air, compressors can be used for speedy and effective cleaning. This could range from sandblasting your power tools and workspaces to powering a car wash.
  • Torque Wrench Operations: In auto repair shops and garages, air compressors are often used to generate the high torque output required for various tasks such as removing lug nuts from tires.
  • Gas Station Applications: At the gas station, a reliable air compressor is used to inflate car tires and sometimes even balance them.
  • Advanced Applications: It’s not just about inflating tires or cleaning dust. When you have a bigger compressor, you can take on heavy-duty tasks like operating jackhammers, powering high-scale paint sprayers, or even complex machinery in large industrial settings.

Knowing how to use an air compressor can simplify many tasks, making your life easier. It’s not just about the utility; with every puff of compressed air, you’re saving time, effort, and money, and therefore improving your work’s efficiency. It’s all about understanding what this efficient tool is capable of.
These are just a few examples – but the potential uses for a compressor in your home or business are numerous. Check out our Industries & Applications pages for more practical uses for air compressors.
Now that you have a clearer understanding and confidence to take on air compressor tasks, ensure you maintain your device well and stay safe.

Advanced Air & Vacuum: Serving All Your Compressed Air Needs

Advanced Air & Vacuum is your trusted partner for all your compressed air needs. We take pride in delivering top-tier air equipment and providing unrivaled servicing to keep your systems running smoothly. Through our extensive range of products and services, we strive to make your compressed air system more efficient and effective.
At Advanced Air & Vacuum, we are committed to finding you the right air compressor for your needs. Contact us today for a recommendation for what air compressor to buy for your specific needs. We also offer the service of installing whichever air compressor you choose. 
We also provide other compressed air products and services. We do pump repairs, removal, and installation. We are the exclusive authorized dealer of Prevost Aluminum Air Piping products. Additionally, we provide industrial vacuum pump & motor rewinding sales and service. Request a quote now!

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What is Air Compressor Oil? Advanced Air Explains

Air compressors are the unsung heroes of many industries. Whether it’s powering tools in a workshop or playing a crucial role in large-scale manufacturing processes, these machines are everywhere, yet often unnoticed. But at the core of each air compressor lies its heart: the oil. This vital component ensures smooth operation, keeps things cool, and extends the life of the machine. But what exactly is air compressor oil? And why is it so critical? In simple terms, air compressor oil serves as the lifeblood for the machine. Much like how motor oil is essential for an automobile engine, compressor oil ensures the air compressor runs efficiently and lasts longer. It provides necessary lubrication to the moving parts, keeps the compressor cool during operation, and can even help in sealing and preventing corrosion. To truly grasp the significance of air compressor oil, we must dive deeper into its mechanics, types, and best practices.

The Science Behind Air Compressor Oil: Why It’s Essential

The efficiency of air compressors rest on the seamless interplay of numerous components, with compressor oil being the linchpin. But what makes this oil so indispensable? At its essence, an air compressor works by compressing air—a task that seems simple yet involves countless moving parts vulnerable to wear. Compressor oils, be they synthetic, motor, or mineral-based, serve as lubricants for these parts. This lubrication ensures the machine operates without hitches, minimizing friction and potential malfunctions. Another crucial role of the compressor oil is as a cooling agent. As they function, especially in industrial contexts, compressors generate substantial heat. The unique properties of the oil assist in dissipating this intense heat, ensuring the equipment doesn’t overheat and consistently runs at peak efficiency.  It’s worth noting, however, that not all compressors utilize oil. There are oil-free compressors designed for scenarios where impeccably clean compressed air is vital. But in many industrial environments, oil-lubricated compressors reign supreme. Equipped with tools like oil and water separators, these machines are renowned for their resilience and suitability for rigorous tasks. Clean compressed air is a non-negotiable, particularly in certain industrial operations. This is where the oil, paired with devices like oil separators and air filters, becomes invaluable. It captures and eliminates contaminants, guaranteeing that the discharged compressed air is of unparalleled purity. Furthermore, the oil acts as a protector. Air compressor systems, laden with metal parts, are prone to corrosion over time. By enveloping these components, the oil defends them against moisture and possible corrosion, thereby extending the compressor’s longevity.

Types of Air Compressor Oil

Given the diverse array of compressors and their unique requirements, it’s vital to make informed choices to ensure optimal performance. Below, we’ll dive into the different types of air compressor oils, their distinct characteristics, and best-fit applications.

  1. Synthetic Oil: Derived from a synthetic base, synthetic oil is the pinnacle of advanced engineering. It’s tailored for extreme conditions and offers superior protection against wear, rust, and oxidation. With its high resistance to extreme heat and ability to maintain viscosity in varying temperatures, it’s a popular choice for rotary screw air compressors and those used in high-demand environments.

  2. Mineral Oil: Extracted from natural sources, mineral oil has been the traditional choice for several decades. It’s best suited for general-purpose applications and offers a balance between performance and cost. While it might not boast the extended lifespan of synthetic oils, it’s reliable for routine applications, especially in stationary compressors.

  3. Hydraulic Oil: Although primarily designed for hydraulic systems, hydraulic oil can sometimes be used in air compressors, especially those designed for industrial applications. Its superior anti-wear properties and ability to handle high pressures make it a feasible choice in specific compressor settings.

  4. Standard Oil: This is the general-purpose oil that’s often recommended by manufacturers for a broad range of air compressor systems. Following the manufacturer’s recommendations is crucial here. Using standard oil in systems that require specialized oil can hinder performance and reduce the life span of the compressor element.

  5. Special Mention – Oil-Free Compressors: As touched upon earlier, there are compressors designed to function without oil. These oil-free air compressors, often found in medical or food industries, rely on materials like Teflon for lubrication. While they ensure absolutely pure compressed air, their maintenance and life span might differ from their oil-lubricated counterparts.

By understanding the nuances of different oils and their applications, you’re not just ensuring your compressor’s efficient operation but also safeguarding a significant investment.

Oil refinery. Air compressor oil tank.

How to Choose the Right Air Compressor Oil

Selecting the right oil for an air compressor isn’t as straightforward as one might presume. Given the diverse array of compressors and their unique requirements, it’s vital to make informed choices to ensure optimal performance. While it’s tempting to opt for the most advanced or the most economical option available, it’s paramount to consider the specific requirements of your air compressor.  For instance, rotary screw air compressors may benefit more from synthetic oil due to their continuous operation, while a portable compressor might do just fine with mineral oil. Another factor to consider is the environment. Extreme conditions, such as very high or low temperatures, may necessitate specialized oils.

Best Practices for Maintaining Your Air Compressor’s Oil System

An air compressor is a significant investment, both in terms of finance and its pivotal role in operations. Therefore, ensuring it runs efficiently and lasts long is essential. A lot of that comes down to the oil system’s proper maintenance. Let’s uncover some best practices and maintenance guidelines for your compressor’s oil system.

  1. Checking the Oil Level: Much like checking your car’s engine oil, regularly inspecting the oil level in your air compressor is crucial. A dipstick or sight glass is typically available for this purpose. Ensuring that the oil level is maintained within the recommended range guarantees optimal lubrication without risking any overflows.

  2. Oil Change Intervals: Depending on the type of oil you use—be it synthetic oil, mineral oil, or hydraulic oil—change intervals will vary. For instance, synthetic oil might offer a longer interval compared to mineral oil. Always refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations for accurate intervals, and be consistent with oil changes to ensure longevity and optimal performance.
  3. Monitoring Oil Quality: Oil doesn’t just lubricate but also traps contaminants. Over time, this can degrade its quality. Regularly inspect the oil for any signs of contamination, including darkening or the presence of particles. Any deterioration in quality might necessitate an earlier oil change.

  4. Oil Filters and Separators: Oil filters and separators play an integral role in ensuring the purity of both the oil and the compressed air. These components need routine maintenance. Regularly checking and replacing filters can prevent excessive wear and tear and uphold the quality of compressed air.

  5. Avoiding Oil Carryover: Excessive oil in the compressed air, known as oil carryover, can be detrimental. It can degrade the quality of the compressed air and lead to potential downstream issues. Regular maintenance, adhering to oil level recommendations, and ensuring the use of quality oil separators can mitigate this issue.

  6. Understanding Oil-Free Systems: For oil-free air compressors, while you don’t have to worry about oil changes, you should be vigilant about the wear of the components. Periodic checks for signs of wear or any inefficiencies are essential.

  7. General Guidelines for Maintenance: Beyond just the oil system, ensure your air compressor undergoes routine maintenance. Check for any leaks, inspect air filters, and monitor energy consumption. Regular servicing can detect potential issues early on, reducing maintenance costs in the long run.

  8. Consultation with Experts: There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to maintenance. Depending on your operational demands, environment, and the specific model of your air compressor, maintenance requirements can vary. This is where the insights from experts, like the team at Advanced Air & Vacuum, can be invaluable.

To sum it up, while selecting the right oil is vital, it’s just the beginning. Ensuring a consistent maintenance regime amplifies the benefits of that choice, granting your air compressor a long and efficient life. In our final section, we’ll delve into the broader picture, exploring the overarching benefits of investing in quality and maintenance in the realm of compressed air systems.


Operator recording routine operation oil check.

Benefits of Investing in Maintenance for Air Compressors

Investing wisely in air compressors entails more than just an initial purchase; it encompasses a commitment to quality and consistent maintenance. High-grade compressor oil paired with regular maintenance can substantially extend your equipment’s lifespan, ensuring smooth, energy-efficient operations. These proactive measures not only avert expensive breakdowns, minimizing maintenance costs but also guarantee the production of high caliber compressed air vital for many industries. Furthermore, it bolsters safety, ensuring compliance with industry standards. Downtimes can be detrimental to a business’s revenue and reputation. By emphasizing quality and regular upkeep, businesses can establish themselves as reliable industry players. Collaborating with experts like Advanced Air & Vacuum provides an added advantage, granting access to unparalleled advice and support. In essence, delving into the world of air compressors with an emphasis on quality is an investment in future success. Click here to contact the AAV team today.

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How Electric Motor Rewinding Helps Revive your Motor

Have you ever experienced motor failure at the most inconvenient time? Of course, who hasn’t? Whether it’s in your commercial HVAC system, on the factory floor, or even at home, a malfunctioning motor can bring life to a screeching halt. Now, what if we told you that there’s a way to bring that seemingly dead motor back to life? Intriguing, right? Welcome to the world of electric motor rewinding. Electric motor rewinding is not just a revival tactic; it’s also a strategy that can save significant costs. Picture this: instead of investing a hefty sum in a brand new motor, you could restore the functionality of your current one. This approach is often quicker and certainly more cost-efficient. It’s akin to replacing the heart of the motor while preserving the body. However, not all motor repair services are created equal. Choosing a reliable and experienced company for motor rewinding can mean the difference between motor efficiency, and having a motor that merely limps along. That’s where we come in. With years of expertise in the field, our team at Advanced Air & Vacuum (AAV) is here to guide you through the world of electric motor rewinds. As we dive into the specifics of how a successful rewind can breathe new life into your motor, you’ll discover our commitment to quality, efficiency, and customer satisfaction. So, let’s switch gears and get into the details of electric motor winding. 

Understanding Motor Rewinding

Let’s illuminate the somewhat mystical concept of motor rewinding. At its core, motor winding—whether it’s a phase motor or DC motor—refers to the process of replacing the copper coil or ‘motor coils’ inside the motor terminal—a coil which, when energized, forms the motor’s magnetic field and generates its power. Over time, this coil may suffer faults or thermal deterioration, necessitating a rewind.

So, why does a motor require rewinding? It could be due to several reasons: the motor could have failed due to overloaded conditions, aging, or an unfortunate voltage surge. In such cases, the internal coil winding, or ‘faulty winding’, may burn out or become damaged, compromising the motor’s performance. Thermal deterioration is also a common enemy of motor longevity. Heat can degrade the insulation around the wire winding, leading to internal short circuits. In each of these scenarios, a motor rewind or electric motor repair can rectify the issue, effectively giving your motor a new lease on life.

Diving into the nitty-gritty of the process, the motor rewind involves several key components: the core material or ‘stator core’, insulation resistance, and the magnetic field, which is a critical component. First, the old, damaged coil is carefully removed, and the stator core is inspected and repaired if necessary. A ‘new winding’ is then wound onto the core, and high-quality insulation is applied to resist heat and prevent electrical failures. The focus is to maintain the motor’s original magnetic field characteristics, ensuring its performance, even at a higher speed, is not diminished after the rewind. With variable frequency drive, this might sound straightforward, it requires a keen understanding of the motor’s specifications and meticulous execution.

Best practices in motor rewinding involve the correct selection of wire gauge, precise winding techniques, and the use of high-quality insulation material. All these steps play a crucial role in ensuring the rewound motor works efficiently and maintains its longevity. This is why the skills of the repair technician are paramount. An experienced technician understands the intricate details of motor design and can perform the rewind to meet, or even exceed, original equipment manufacturer (OEM) specifications. In the next section, we will explore the tangible benefits that come with choosing motor rewinding over buying a new one. Stay tuned!

Benefits of Electric Motor Rewinding

Now that we have unveiled the mechanics behind electrical motor rewinding, let’s switch our focus to its array of benefits. Opting for motor rewinding, instead of purchasing a new one, presents a multitude of advantages, chief among them being significant cost savings. A rewind is typically a fraction of the cost of a new motor. Just think of it in terms of a heart transplant – it’s far more cost-effective to replace the heart than the entire body. The same principle applies here. By replacing only the damaged winding head or the ‘faulty winding’ and leaving the motor body intact, you are effectively saving on the costs associated with manufacturing and installing a completely new motor. But the benefits aren’t purely financial.

Motor rewinding also makes a substantial contribution towards environmental sustainability. In a world where reducing carbon emissions and waste is a top priority, motor rewinding offers an eco-friendlier option than replacing the entire motor. When you choose to rewind, you’re saving the bulk of the motor from landing in a landfill. Additionally, the energy consumed in producing a new motor far exceeds that used in the rewinding process. A rewind can also preserve the unique qualities of your motor. Many motors in service today are older models, built with a level of craftsmanship and materials that simply can’t be replicated with modern manufacturing techniques. In such cases, a rewind allows you to maintain the motor’s original robustness and reliability. It’s essential, however, to remember that the success of a rewind largely depends on the skills of the repair technician and the quality of the materials used. Remember, unequal voltage and temperature can affect the performance of a ‘permanent magnet’ motor. In the next section, we’ll introduce you to a team that guarantees quality rewinds – the experts at Advanced Air & Vacuum. 

The Advanced Air & Vacuum Advantage

When it comes to motor rewinding, Advanced Air & Vacuum (AAV) stands as a beacon of excellence and reliability. As specialists in motor repairs and services, we’re committed to providing superior service, high-quality materials, and expert craftsmanship that ensures your rewound motor runs smoothly and efficiently. AAV is not just any service center; we’re a team of dedicated experts specializing in air compressors, vacuum pumps, and, of course, motor rewinding.

With years of experience under our belts, we’ve fine-tuned our skills to tackle any repair or rewind job, big or small, simple or complex. But what really sets us apart is our authorized service center status for leading brands. This stamp of approval not only represents the trust placed in us by industry giants, but it also reflects our commitment to staying current with the latest industry trends and technical advancements. Our technicians are regularly trained and updated with the latest practices, ensuring that every motor rewind meets or surpasses original equipment manufacturer (OEM) standards.

Our focus extends beyond just providing a service; we’re also committed to customer education and satisfaction. We believe in transparent communication and keeping our customers informed at every stage of the process. It’s part of our goal to build strong, long-term relationships based on trust, integrity, and mutual respect. So, if you’re in need of motor repair services, and particularly motor rewinding, remember that AAV is ready and equipped to offer superior service. In the next section, we’ll wrap up the discussion and outline the steps to take if you decide to give your motor a new lease on life through rewinding.

Electric motor rewinding is a smart, cost-effective, and sustainable solution for dealing with motor failures or deteriorations. It breathes new life into your motor, preserving its unique qualities, and reducing waste. However, the success of a motor rewind largely hinges on the skills of the technician and the quality of the materials used.

This is where Advanced Air & Vacuum steps in. As a trusted and authorized service center for many leading brands, our expertise in motor rewinding is unrivaled. We’re not just here to offer a service; we’re committed to providing a superior customer experience, characterized by transparency, education, and satisfaction. Don’t let a malfunctioning motor slow you down. Whether it’s an air compressor, vacuum pump, or another type of motor, reach out to us at AAV. Our team of experienced professionals is ready to give your motor a new lease on life. Contact AAV today for more information!

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Air Compressor Gauges: What to Know

Air compressor gauges play a crucial role in ensuring the efficient and safe operation of air compressors. These gauges provide valuable information about the pressure levels within the compressor tank and the output pressure being delivered to various tools and equipment. By monitoring these pressure readings, users can maintain optimal performance, prevent equipment damage, and ensure the safety of both operators and the surrounding environment. Air compressor gauges allow for precise adjustments of pressure settings, enabling users to match the requirements of specific tools and applications. Additionally, they serve as essential diagnostic tools, indicating any potential leaks, blockages, or malfunctions within the compressor system. With accurate and reliable gauges, operators can make informed decisions, optimize productivity, and maintain the longevity of their air compressors. 

What is an Air Compressor Gauge?

An air compressor gauge is a measuring instrument specifically designed to monitor and display the pressure levels within an air compressor system. It serves as a visual indicator, typically featuring a dial or digital display, that shows the current pressure reading in pounds per square inch (PSI) or other applicable units of measurement. The primary purpose of an air compressor gauge is to provide users with accurate and real-time information about the pressure conditions within the compressor tank and the output pressure being delivered to connected tools and equipment. This information is crucial for maintaining optimal performance, preventing equipment damage, and ensuring safe operation. By monitoring the gauge, operators can adjust pressure settings, detect abnormalities or deviations, and take appropriate action to troubleshoot and maintain the efficiency of the air compressor system.

A typical air compressor gauge consists of several key components designed to accurately measure and display pressure levels. The gauge is housed in a durable casing, often made of metal or plastic, to protect its internal mechanisms. At the heart of the gauge is a pressure sensing element, commonly a Bourdon tube or diaphragm, which reacts to changes in pressure by moving or deforming. This motion is then transmitted to a mechanical linkage or a digital sensor, which converts it into a readable pressure value. The gauge usually features a dial or digital display with clear markings denoting the pressure units, such as PSI or bar. A needle or numerical display provides the actual pressure reading. You’ll find that most air compressor gauges incorporate a pointer stop or a peak hold mechanism to retain the highest pressure reached. The gauge may also include a calibration screw or knob for adjusting the accuracy of the readings. Overall, the design of an air compressor gauge ensures durability, accuracy, and ease of reading, enabling operators to monitor pressure levels effectively and make informed decisions based on the displayed information.

Are there Different Types of Air Compressor Gauges?

There are several different types of air compressor gauges available, each with its own unique features and applications. One common type is the analog gauge, which uses a mechanical system to display pressure readings on a dial. Analog gauges are straightforward to read and offer a wide range of pressure measurement options. Another type is the digital gauge, which utilizes electronic sensors to provide precise and accurate pressure readings in a digital format. These gauges often offer additional features like backlighting and the ability to switch between different units of measurement. Furthermore, there are combination gauges that combine analog and digital displays, allowing users to choose their preferred method of reading the pressure. Specialty gauges, such as differential gauges, are designed to measure the difference in pressure between two points within the air compressor system. These gauges are commonly used for diagnostic purposes and troubleshooting. Additionally, some gauges come with integrated pressure switches, which allow for automatic control of the compressor’s on/off cycles based on preset pressure thresholds. The availability of different types of air compressor gauges ensures that you can select the most suitable one for your specific needs and preferences.

How does an Air Compressor Gauge Work?

The functioning of an air compressor gauge is relatively straightforward. The gauge is connected to the air compressor system through a pressure line or port, allowing it to measure the pressure inside the system. When the compressor operates, it generates compressed air, which builds up pressure in the tank or reservoir. This pressure is transmitted to the gauge through the connection, causing the gauge’s sensing element, such as a Bourdon tube or diaphragm, to deform or move in response to the applied force. As the sensing element moves, it activates a mechanical linkage or digital sensor that translates the motion into a readable pressure value. The resulting pressure reading is then displayed on the gauge’s dial or digital screen, allowing users to monitor the pressure levels in real-time. By observing the gauge, operators can adjust the compressor’s settings, detect any abnormal pressure conditions, and take appropriate action to maintain safe and efficient operation. An air compressor gauge functions by converting the applied pressure force into a visual representation that enables users to monitor and control the pressure within the system.

Understanding Pressure Measurement and Units Used in Air Compressor Gauges

Pressure measurement is an essential aspect of air compressor gauges as it provides crucial information about the force exerted by compressed air. Pressure is defined as the amount of force applied to a given area, and it is commonly measured in pounds per square inch (PSI) or bar. In an air compressor gauge, the pressure measurement is typically indicated by a needle on an analog dial or displayed numerically on a digital screen. The gauge’s sensing element, such as a Bourdon tube or diaphragm, reacts to the applied pressure and translates it into a readable value. The PSI unit is commonly used in air compressor gauges, especially in North America. It represents the force exerted by one pound of pressure per square inch of area. The scale on the gauge dial is marked with increasing PSI values, allowing users to observe and adjust the pressure levels accurately. Another widely used unit of pressure is bar, commonly used in Europe and many other parts of the world. One bar is equivalent to approximately 14.5 PSI. Air compressor gauges that use the bar unit will have the corresponding scale displayed on the gauge dial or digital screen. Additionally, there are other units of pressure used in specific industries or applications. For instance, kilopascal (kPa) and megapascal (MPa) are commonly used in scientific and engineering contexts. These units offer a more precise measurement of pressure, with 1 MPa equivalent to 1,000,000 pascals or approximately 145 PSI. It is important for users of air compressor gauges to understand the units being used and ensure that they match the requirements of their specific tools and applications. Properly monitoring and adjusting the pressure levels within the compressor system is vital for efficient operation, equipment safety, and optimal performance.

What is the Gauge’s Role in Air Compressor Systems?

Air compressor gauges play a vital role in ensuring the efficient and optimal performance of air compressors. They enable users to regulate and adjust the pressure levels within the compressor system, ensuring that the desired pressure is maintained for optimal operation. By matching the pressure output to the specific requirements of tools and equipment, operators can achieve efficient performance and prevent potential damage. Additionally, air compressor gauges serve as diagnostic tools by detecting pressure loss or fluctuations, indicating potential leaks in the system. Monitoring the pressure readings on the gauge helps identify issues such as clogged filters or worn-out valves, allowing for timely maintenance and repairs to maintain efficiency. Furthermore, gauges prevent overloading by providing clear indications of pressure levels, preventing excessive strain on the motor and ensuring optimal performance. Overall, air compressor gauges facilitate precise pressure control, prevent system issues, and contribute to the overall efficiency and longevity of air compressors.

Recommended Pressure Ranges for Air Compressor Gauges

Recommended pressure ranges can vary depending on the specific application and the tools or equipment being used, so it’s important to consider the recommended PSI specific to each use case. In industrial applications and settings, pneumatic tools like impact wrenches generally operate well within a range of 90-120 PSI (6.2-8.3 bar). For automotive applications, standard tire inflation typically requires gauge pressures ranging from 30-35 PSI (2.1-2.4 bar), but it is important to refer to specific tire pressure recommendations. Paint sprayers usually operate effectively between 30-50 PSI (2.1-3.4 bar), while airbrushing for artistic purposes typically requires lower pressures in the range of 15-25 PSI (1-1.7 bar). Each air tool, such as nail guns or pneumatic drills, may have its own specific pressure range, so referring to the manufacturer’s instructions or specifications is crucial. These recommended pressure ranges serve as guidelines to ensure safe and optimal performance based on industry standards and specific tool requirements.

How to Maintain your Air Compressor Gauge

Maintaining and cleaning an air compressor gauge is essential to helping extend the life of your air compressor gauge and ensure its accuracy and reliability in monitoring pressure levels. In doing so, here are some tips to keep in mind:

Regular Inspections: Perform routine visual inspections of the gauge to check for any signs of damage, such as cracks, dents, or loose parts. Address any issues promptly by replacing or repairing damaged components.

Cleanliness: Keep the gauge and its surrounding area clean. Regularly wipe the gauge with a soft, lint-free cloth to remove dust, dirt, and any other debris that may accumulate on the dial or digital display. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners that can damage the gauge’s surface.

Avoid Moisture and Condensation: Moisture can affect the accuracy of the gauge and lead to corrosion. Take measures to prevent moisture buildup by ensuring proper ventilation in the compressor area, addressing any leaks in the system promptly, and using moisture traps or separators in the air compressor setup. 

Avoid Excessive Vibration: Excessive vibrations can impact the gauge’s accuracy and durability. Securely mount the gauge to minimize vibrations and use rubber or foam padding as necessary to dampen any vibrations from the compressor or surrounding equipment.

Common Issues with Air Compressor Gauges

While air compressor gauges are generally reliable, they can experience a few common problems. Here are some typical issues and their potential solutions:

1. Inaccurate Readings: One common problem is inaccurate pressure readings on the gauge. This could be due to gauge calibration issues or damage to the internal components. To address this, first, ensure that the gauge is properly calibrated by following the manufacturer’s instructions. If recalibration doesn’t resolve the issue, consider replacing the gauge with a new one.

2. Gauge Damage: Gauges can be subject to damage from impacts, vibrations, or environmental factors. Cracked or broken dials, damaged glass, or loose components can compromise the accuracy and functionality of the gauge. If the damage is minor, it may be possible to repair or replace the damaged parts. However, significant damage may necessitate replacing the gauge entirely.

 3. Pressure Leaks: Air compressor gauges can develop leaks at the connection point or around the threads. This can result in inaccurate readings or the gauge failing to hold pressure. To address this issue, inspect the connections and tighten them securely. If there are still leaks, apply thread sealant tape or use a compatible thread sealant compound to create a tight seal. In some cases, replacing the gauge or the faulty components may be necessary.

4. Condensation or Moisture Buildup: Moisture can accumulate inside the gauge, affecting its accuracy and potentially causing corrosion. To mitigate this, ensure proper ventilation in the compressor area, use moisture traps or separators in the air compressor system, and perform regular maintenance to remove any accumulated moisture.

5. Stuck Needle or Display: Sometimes, the gauge needle or digital display may become stuck or unresponsive, preventing it from providing accurate readings. Try gently tapping or nudging the gauge to see if the needle or display responds. If the problem persists, the gauge may require repair or replacement.

Having regular maintenance, proper calibration, and addressing issues promptly are key to resolving problems with air compressor gauges. If the problems persist or if there are safety concerns, reach out to AAV and one of our qualified professionals will be more than happy to help you!

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CFM Vs SCFM: What’s the Difference?

When you’re searching for an air compressor, you may see a couple of different terms used to measure air flow rate, specifically CFM and SCFM. Though they’re somewhat similar, one is based on actual cubic feet at actual conditions, while the other is measured in standard cubic feet, which requires a standard condition of standard barometric pressure at a specific actual temperature and humidity. This can make a strong difference if you’re at high altitudes, have a different relative humidity, or are at a different ambient temperature.

In some situations, such as using high-demand equipment, scientific equipment, or precision equipment, these readings make a big difference in how much mass flow your air compressor receives, impacting CFM available in your pressurized air lines. In this post, we’ll get into the details of the differences between these two types of measurements, what each one will entail, and how they are calculated in case it’s important to your work.

What is SCFM?

SCFM stands for standard cubic feet per minute, a measurement of airflow at a standard temperature, standard atmospheric pressure, and standard humidity. Because these conditions are carefully controlled, they produce a very precise reading of the volumetric flow rate of an air compressor. For this reason, this calculation uses the same formula for both the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the Compressed Air and Gas Institute (CAGI) standards across different industries.

The requirements for SCFM rating are as follows, with usual United States units (non-SI units) listed first:

  • Absolute pressure of 14.7 PSI or 1 Atmosphere
  • Air temperature of 68 degrees F, or 20 degrees C
  • 36% humidity

Here’s the actual (complicated) formula to calculate your standard mass flow rate:

SCFM=CFM/(Ear*(T*458.67)/Ts)

As it requires you to know the expanded air ratio (Ear) from a table, it’s probably best to use an online calculator unless you want to get really crazy with the math. Ts stands for standard temperature, or 68 degrees F.

This is especially helpful to calculate when you’re looking at compressed air systems that are basing their CFM on very different conditions than what you may be using it at. As an example, you may get a very different actual CFM if you have a high elevation with lower pressure, have very dry conditions that lower your humidity (we see you, Sonora Dessert!), or extreme temperature differences, such as Phoenix’s summer temperatures where you could fry an egg on your vehicle hood. In these situations, you may find yourself going over your duty cycle due to issues with air density,

In these conditions, knowing the SCFM allows you to calculate the kind of actual CFM that you’re likely to get out of a compressor at your location. When you have an air tool that is more dependent on the volume of air rather than the pressure per square inch, this is a very important differentiator. What are these air tools? Paint sprayers, sand blasters, powder coating guns, and similar pneumatic tools that expend air volume constantly while doing their job often require a specific volume of air flow to get the job done. If you’ve purchased an air compressor in areas with different ambient conditions than standard, you may discover that your air consumption may not keep up with your demand

However, if you use tools in a standard air-conditioned environment closer to sea level where you’ll have a higher pressure, the actual quantity of air that flows through your system will be fairly close whether you use an SCFM or CFM value, so you may not get as much difference in this type of controlled environment. If this is the case, and you’re exceeding your duty cycle because the compressor is having to work too hard to reach your working pressure, the addition of a centrifugal fan or other option to increase air flow can help increase your inlet cubic feet or inlet CFM without having to buy a new air compressor.

What is CFM?

CFM is the standard flow rate that you’ll receive in your local conditions. This is important because it can be dramatically different than SCFM based on the differences in static pressure, temperature, and humidity mentioned above, based on where your unit is tested versus your location. Being able to calculate the difference allows you to determine what kind of adaptations you’ll need to make to meet your CFM requirements at your pneumatic tools.

CFM is a measurement of inlet cubic feet per minute, or how much air density your air compressor can take in per minute, calculated using your actual temperature and actual pressure. As an example of why this is important, 1 CFM at standard conditions used at 100 PSI will equal 0.947 CFM at 3,000 feet, 0.912 CFM at 5,000 feet, 0.868 CFM at 7,500 feet, and .824 CFM at 10,000 feet of elevation, making a big difference in how much air volume your system is actually taking in to use.

This allows you to determine how much air your air compressor is taking in to determine how much it can put out to your air tools. Here’s how to calculate it:

CFM = SCFM × (14.7 psi ÷ actual pressure ) × (actual temperature + 459.67) ÷ (68°F + 459.67)

Calculating CFM is fairly straightforward as compared to calculating SCFM, so if you’d prefer to just work it out on your phone’s calculator, it’s very easy to manage. For this reason, unless you’re in extreme conditions that require you to use SCFM or you need very precise measurements, CFM will usually work fine.

Differences between SCFM and CFM

The main difference between these two systems of pressure measurement at the air compressor inlet is based on the conditions in which the measurement is taken. If you expect to be using your air compressor in an air-conditioned environment with perfect humidity at sea level with fairly stable barometric pressure, you’ll probably have very similar readings, which means that you won’t have to adapt to differences between them.

However, if you’re in very hot conditions, at a high elevation, or in very humid conditions, your CFM may be impacted from what it was originally anticipated to produce. Heat tends to make air thinner, as the molecules in the air become more excited and bounce off each other more frequently, causing them to spread out more and lower the pressure. Elevation tends to thin the air, so both of these conditions (heat and elevation) tend to lower pressure. Humidity can add a little bulk to the air, which is removed when it passes through an air dryer on the way to the lines, unless the air is dried before your system takes the air in. However, humidity’s impact tends to be lower than the other two factors.

If you’re working with very sensitive tools that have a narrow range of air flow or are in extreme environments, determining the actual CFM will give you a better idea of how those tools will perform in your environment, and will allow you to make adaptations to your system, if needed, or to select a system that will meet your needs at your conditions.

By comparison, using the SCFM that is calculated tends to work better if you’re in a more standard environment or are working with tools that have a broader range of working air flows, because a slight change in air flow at the inlet in actual cubic feet won’t impact your operation as dramatically. In these situations, SCFM and actual CFM are close enough that the difference shouldn’t impact your needs.

However, SCFM is often used extensively in scientific research, pharmaceutical production, or other high-precision needs. In these situations, setting an exact SCFM on your equipment helps to ensure that you’re getting regular, consistent results that can be reproduced exactly if needed. In these situations, the difference between CFM and SCFM can make a big difference in results, so using a standard measurement makes it easier to get the same results in each batch of work over time.

Trust the Experts of Advanced Air & Vacuum

By understanding the differences between actual CFM and SCFM, you have a better grasp of why each type of measurement is important, and how it may impact your final decision in selecting equipment for your compressed air system, as well as the final system design. You’ve also gained the knowledge to determine which type of reading should be used in which situations, making it easier to make a smarter choice when it matters most.

At Advanced Air & Vacuum, we understand the very important difference between these readings and are able to help you find the right equipment for the conditions at your specific location. That’s just one of the reasons why you’ll want to contact us for all of your air compressorvacuumpumpelectric motor, and air compressor piping needs. Why not take a moment to contact AAV today?

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What Size Air Compressor Do I Need? An Informational Guide

When you’re considering purchase an air compressor, it’s important to know how to select the right size for your needs. An industrial air compressor which is too large may require a larger investment than you’re comfortable with, while one that is too small may exceed its duty cycle while trying to keep up with your rate of use.

However, there are several factors you’ll need to to consider when you’re selecting the right air compressor for your pneumatic tool selection so that you can maintain an appropriate flow of cubic feet per minute, air pressure in terms of pounds of pressure per square inch, and similar concerns. Do you need a larger tank, a portable air compressor for construction or mobile use, rotary screw compressors designed to run continuously?

In this article, we’ll look over all of the basic differences in air compressors, air tool types, tank size, and other factors that may impact your selection when choosing an air compressor for industrial applications. Whether you need something portable with a smaller compressor tank to run an impact wrench on your tow truck or something with a storage tank that can handle the compressed air volume demanded by larger tools, you’ll be able to make a smarter decision after reading this guide.

CFM vs. PSI

Let’s start with some basic measurements that are used with a gas or electric air compressor. The CFM rating has to do with how much air the air compressor is able to move over the course of a minute in terms of cubic feet of air at a particular pressure. This has to do with high-demand air tools that have a higher CFM requirement to ensure that they work properly, such as a paint sprayer or sandblaster.

By comparison, PSI refers to pounds per square inch, a measurement of pressure that is needed. Though high CFM tools may require more airflow, other tools may require a higher pressure to get the job done, such as a finish nailer set to 90 PSI to drive a nail into a hard piece of trim on construction sites. Because it only uses the air intermittently instead of continuously, it’s okay if it has a smaller tank, provided that it can reach the higher pressure needed for the air-powered tool to get the job done.

These factors can impact how your air compressor will work with your pneumatic tools. Smaller models with an electric motor may work well for most home garage or tire inflator needs, but mobile units or larger horsepower motors may require a different power supply to operate effectively, which can also impact your overall performance and installation process. For this reason, it’s important to consider not only the tank size when considering the size compressor that you need, but also the purpose you’ll put your electric compressor to in the course of operation.

Types of Air Tools

Let’s start by looking at the types of tools that are used and whether they are considered high-demand or low-demand air tools. High demand tools tend to vent the air to the atmosphere while in operations, such as a paint sprayer, sandblaster, powder coater, or texture gun. This is because the air that is released from a larger compressor with a higher tank capacity pushes the material out as it exits the air tool on a continuous basis, causing it to be used up in a higher number of cubic feet per minute.

Low-demand air tools, by comparison, may use a bit of air at a time, but it’s not as continuous. In these cases, such as a brad nailer, roofing nailer, or similar air tool, the air is only expressed a little at a time, because the air is used to drive one nail at a time, limiting how much air is exiting the system from a pancake compressor or other small compressor that is capable of reaching a higher pressure.

These different levels of demand create specific requirements when selecting an air tool. For painting or other high-demand use, you may require a stationary compressor or a rotary screw compressor that can provide a constant, large volume of air for your tools. By comparison, low-demand air tools may require a higher PSI, making a dual-stage compressor a better option because it can build a higher pressure while using a tank that has smaller physical dimensions.

Tank Size

Tank size is typically measured in terms of gallons, with seven gallons equaling a cubic foot. However, it’s important to understand that a seven-gallon tank is capable of delivering much more than one cubic foot of air per minute at sea level pressure. Because the air is compressed, your tank will hold much more air than you may expect, because it is at a higher pressure.

Generally speaking, you’ll want to make sure that the air compressor that you’re considering can deliver both the PSI and the CFM that you need for your tools to work effectively. As an example, a pancake compressor may be capable of delivering the CFM that you need but may exceed its duty cycle due to the small physical dimensions of the tank causing it to constantly run to refill it. If in doubt, always go up in tank size to allow for future growth.

Selecting the Right Size Air Compressor

Most air tools will have a specific minimum requirement for PSI, with high-demand air tools also having a specific CFM requirement. Trying to operate air tools without sufficient pressure or air flow will be very frustrating and can cause early failure of the air compressor due to cycling beyond its rated duty cycle. This type of operation can cause your air compressor to fail prematurely, costing your company a lot of money to replace it when you could have been using a slightly more expensive, larger capacity air compressor for many more years into the future.

To calculate the minimum CFM and PSI needed, determine the total needs of the tools you’ll expect use simultaneously on that system. For stations where your employees switch between tools, calculate based on the highest-use tools for each station. Add these together to determine the minimum CFM and PSI for your air compressor, then add a buffer for flexibility in the future. Don’t worry about changing out your air compressor every time that you upgrade your tool sets or add to your company’s operation!

Similarly, you’ll need to determine your tank size based on CFM needs with a buffer for low-demand tools in use at the same time. If in doubt, go with a larger tank size to meet your company’s needs without having to change your compressor in the future. In some cases, an air compressor with a three-phase power source or a rotary screw compressor may be needed to keep up with high-demand systems, making it easier for you to expand your business quickly without the added expense of a new air compressor.

If your company will be upgrading your existing tools, it’s important to include those tools in your calculations so that you don’t have to replace your air compressor as soon as you’ve added new tools to your system. No matter what type of air compressor you select, making sure that it provides at least some additional capability allows you to get more use out of your system long into the future, despite slight shifts in demand and changing needs in your business.

Shop Advanced Air & Vacuum for all your Air Compressor needs!

By selecting the proper air compressor for your company’s business, you’ll be able to not only meet, but also expand your business in the future without the expense and trouble of upgrading your air compressor at the same time. Selling air compressors of all sizes, CFM airflow and PSI pressures, Advanced Air & Vacuum has exactly what you need to keep your operation running effectively, including:

  • Large Storage Tank Capacity: Available in single and three phase power sources, the Advanced 10 HP Horizontal Air Compressor has a huge 120-gallon tank capacity.
  • Dual-Stage Compressors: The Quincy QT-54 allows you to reach higher pressures with dual-stage compression, while taking up less shop space with a vertical layout.
  • Rotary Screw Compressors: In addition to simpler configurations, our selection of Atlas air compressors exceed 30 HP, providing plenty of air flow for high-demand tools.
  • Portable Air Compressors: For the home garage, the Quincy Q12120P provides the perfect combination of professional performance and easy portability.

We also provide a range of industrial air compressor rentals, which includes oil free rental air compressor options.  If you’re wanting to try a system out before you make your purchase, we offer vacuum pump and hose rentals, too.  If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, we’re happy to help you find the perfect air compressor for your needs, all with a simple phone call. Please feel free to contact us today with any questions, for more information, or to get a quote on your next compressed air system.

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How to Adjust an Air Compressor Pressure Switch

Your electric air compressor is designed to operate within specific air pressure ranges, with pre-set cut-in pressure and cut-out pressure setting options. For the most part, operating within this range, especially the cut-out pressure setting, is the best way to operate your air compressor. This is especially important when you’re considering adjusting the higher pressure end of your switch, because the rest of the system may not be rated to higher pressures and turning up the pressure can damage it if the rising pressure doesn’t trip a faulty safety valve and tank pressure gets too high. At Advanced Air & Vacuum, we always recommend having a professional look at your manufacturing sector air compressor to see what the system will bear, or if any other upgrades would need to happen before pressure switch adjustment takes place.

However, sometimes you have to replace the switch with a new pressure switch that has been set to different cut-in pressure and cut-out settings. These settings are the pressure at which your air compressor switch, a mechanical device, will turn on to increase air pressure or turn off when the higher pressure that is set is reached. Similarly, you may need to adjust the breadth of the pressure range in which your air compressor will operate. In this situation, being able to adjust your air compressor switch is an important part of operations.

This is a different process than changing the line pressure for your system and should not be confused. It’s much simpler to change your system’s line pressure, where a pressure regulator is adjusted to adapt the pressure in your feed lines that go to your tools. In this article, we’ll take a look at the steps that are taken when you are adjusting your air compressor’s pressure settings at the switch, including appropriate safety precautions to take to prevent an accident, what kind of tools you’ll need to get the job done, and the steps required to make the changes to your air pressure switch.

Air Compressor Pressure Switch Adjustments: Precautions + Required Tools

Safety Precautions

Air compressors often work on an electrical circuit, which makes it important to take appropriate safety precautions. Because the pressure switch will control the electrical current to the compressor motor, it’s vital that you follow safety measures, including wearing personal protective equipment. Turn off the air compressor and if possible, pull the plug to avoid accidental shocks to yourself, your crew, or any bystanders in the area.

You don’t need to open the drain valve, as the lack of current at the electrical contact will prevent the pneumatic pressure switch from running the compressor pump. However, if you’re undertaking these operations at the end of the day regardless, it may make sense to bleed pressure off of the system first, especially if you’ll be testing the cut-in at a lower pressure than you currently operate at. You may also want to inspect the pressure switch relief valve so that you know that it will blow off extra pressure instead of causing a blow-out if you turn the maximum pressure too high. Similarly, if the drain water from your drain valve is rusty, you may want to have your pressure tank inspected before adjusting the pressure up, as that can be a sign of corrosion within the tank.

Tools and Materials Needed

Generally speaking, the adjustment process needs very little in terms of tools and materials. You’ll need a screwdriver or wrench, depending on the type of air pressure switch that you have on your compressor. If the compressor and lighting in the area are hardwired into a breaker, you’ll need to throw the breaker, so make sure you tape it off and have alternative lighting available to be able to see what you’re doing. Depending on how long it has been since you’ve adjusted the pressure switch, you may need to use dielectric grease or an electrical solvent to get the set screw to move. DO NOT spray flammable liquids on the pressure switch while it is hooked up to an electrical current! Similarly, a bit of sandpaper or steel wool is handy if you need to clean up the switch contacts due to corrosion. If you’re rehabbing your air system, you may want to include Teflon tape if you’re replacing piping with threaded connections or need to replace gauges.

Steps to Air Compressor Pressure Switch Adjustment

Now that we know what we need and how to safely work on an air pressure switch, let’s start going through the adjustment steps of the process.

Step 1: Turn off the air compressor. For safety reasons, this doesn’t mean just work on it when it isn’t running, because it could cut in at any point. If possible, unplug the air compressor from its power supply or flip and tape off the breaker that the air compressor is powered on. You may want to drain the pressure tank and check the pressure relief valve at this time.

Step 2: Locate the pressure switch and the adjustment nut. There are two types of pressure switches, fixed range, which has one nut with an adjustment spring beneath it, and adjustable range, which will have two or three nuts that can be adjusted to change the cut-in point, the cut-out point, and the breadth of the pressure range between these two points. For a fixed range pressure switch, you can only increase or decrease pressure, while the range remains the same. Increasing the cut-out point will increase the cut-in point. Adjustable range provides a much finer degree of control.

Step 3: Identify the correct pressure range for your tool or equipment. If this is not located on the tool itself, or if it has worn off, check the manual for the factory setting for the pneumatic tool. Exceeding the recommended settings for the air tool can cause serious damage to the tool, so you’ll want to make sure you’ve got this range correct before proceeding.

Step 4: Turn the adjustment nut or adjustment screw. Generally speaking, almost any air compressor pressure system that has a differential adjustment will turn in a clockwise direction to increase the pressure, while turning the fitting in a counterclockwise direction will decrease the pressure. Similarly, turning the range nut on an adjustable range pressure switch clockwise will increase the range, while turning it counterclockwise will decrease the range. It is recommended that you leave a minimum range of 20 PSI to prevent short cycling and wear on your system.

Step 5: Check the pressure gauge and adjust as needed. Close the drain valve, pressure relief valve, and shut-off valve to your air system lines. Plug your compressor in or flip the breaker back. Turn your compressor on and see at what points it will cut in and out before putting pressure out to your system. By keeping pressure localized, you can speed up the rate of compression and the testing process, because the system will not need to pressurize all your lines before you reach the cut-out point.

Step 6: Test the compressor and adjust again if necessary. Check the pressure at the gauge and again at the tank to ensure that they match up. Are they where they need to be? If the pressure is outside your ideal range, take the time to adjust again. If you record the pressure between tests and note how far you’re turning the adjustment nut or nuts, you can get a better idea of how much adjustment will be needed to reach that range.

Step 7: Turn on the compressor and monitor for any issues. After you’ve reached the ideal range for your air system, open the valve to the rest of your air lines. Connect tools and make sure that they work well with the pressure settings and make any additional fine-tuning adjustments at the pressure regulator to your overhead line system or at the tool itself, depending on your setup. Once your system is fully pressurized, listen for hissing sounds that may indicate leaks or poor connections, and repair them as needed.

Advanced Air – Your Provider of Industrial Air Compressors

Whether it’s part of your retooling process, rehabbing an older industrial air compressor, or simply changing out an air pressure switch that has failed, going through the steps properly ensures that your company will get good performance out of your air compressor for many years to come. However, in some situations, a simple adjustment may not provide enough of a change for your operation to work smoothly.

At Advanced Air & Vacuum, we’ve spent the past two decades creating outstanding air systems for industrial, manufacturing, and factory needs. With a short chat on the phone, we can find the right solution to your air compressor woes, whether it’s upgrading part of your system, making a simple repair, or providing you with the right air compressor for your company’s needs. Please feel free to contact us with any questions.