By reading the manual for your air compressor, you'll learn tricks and tips that you otherwise wouldn't think of. Knowing these things will help you extend the life of your air compressor by quite a bit.
2. Always check your oil level.
If your compressor takes oil, be sure to check it before each time you use it. If it's low, you could do some serious damage to it. If it gets low, top it off. After 500-1000 hours of use, you need to change the oil out with fresh oil.
3. Drain water and oil removal traps.
Filters, air tanks, dryers, and separators designed for removal of water and oil can only operate efficiently if you periodically remove the contaminants from the system. Make sure the drains for these are functioning properly. If there's a test button on the drain, use it. An even better option is to watch closely as it fills and dumps on its own. If your drain has a bypass, open it and inspect for condensate stuck upstream of the drain behind a blocked line.
4. Clean your air filter.
If your air filter's dirty, your compressor will have to work harder and use more energy to get the job done. You'll also be running the risk of contaminating the compressor. Regularly check all of your filters and change them if they have any heavy build up of dust and dirt. If you rarely use your compressor, change your air filter every 3-6 months.
5. Replace the separator element.
The separator element is responsible for preventing the excessive use of oil. But if you don't replace it periodically, your energy costs will rise. For every 2 PSI drop in separator pressure, your energy costs can increase by 1%. It's much cheaper to change out the separator element than it is to increase your energy costs continuously over time.
6. Keep your eyes and ears open!
Be "on the lookout" for any abnormal sounds, overheating, slipping belts, and excessive vibrations. These are signs that something may be going bad. Inspect and find what's causing the abnormality and fix it before serious damage is caused. Educate yourself and become more familiar with what gauge readings should be. Be aware of gauge readings that are outside of the normal spectrum, and keep a written record of the main readings like oil temperature and pressure, motor amps, and discharge pressure.
7. Always be checking for leaks.
Leaks in your air compressor will significantly effect the output. As much as 25 percent or more of the compressed air that's generated is lost through a leak, so make sure to check the entire system for air leaks around gaskets and fittings. You can use an ultrasonic leak detector for this, Common problem areas that should be focused on are the control lines and fittings, valves, clamps and connectors, air pressure safety relief valves, flexible joint packings, piping, and pressure gauge connections.
8. Maintain the right temperature.
Check your owner's manual for the proper operating temperature, and make sure you're operating at an acceptable temperature. By following the steps above, you'll better ensure you don't exceed the recommended operating temperature.
9. Keep it clean.
A dirty compressor is a damaged compressor. Your air compressor should never have oil leaks. Don't let dust build up on the pump, the motor, or the area around the cooling fin. Dust buildup will prevent proper ventilation and release of heat. Keeping your compressor clean and properly sealed will help manage the proper temperature and maintain smoother operation.
10. Stock up on filters and other important parts.
If you don't have what you need, you're more likely to put off doing what's needed. Keep filters and other maintenance supplies on hand so you can change them out and repair problems as soon as possible.