It is imperative to know how to use an air compressor correctly if you want to maximize efficiency and minimize damage.
The proper operation will reward you with beautifully completed projects, while the improper use will throw your money and efforts down the drain.
It’s an open secret what any novice or inexperienced user would want to end up with, isn’t it?
How to Use an Air Compressor
This article informs you what the proper usage and maintenance of an air compressor entails. It also sheds light on what not to do to avoid accidents. Continue to get satisfactorily educated on the subject.
Placement of Air Compressor
Place the air compressor on a solid and flat surface. Make sure the place is clean, dry and has proper ventilation. Besides, it should be at a safe distance from your actual project site so that the noise of the compressor doesn’t disturb you.
Plugging the Air Compressor
Plug the power cord of the unit in a nearby grounded power outlet. But, first, make sure the power and pressure switches/levers are in the OFF position. The use of an extension cord for reaching a power source is strictly prohibited because it tends to overheat the unit. A safe alternative is the use of another air hose. Connect the plugging end of one hose into the receiving end of another for a longer reach.
Check the Pump Oil Level
If your air compressor is a piston-type, it means it requires lubricant. Therefore, always check the oil level before use. The sight gauge for oil level will allow you to check whether there’s sufficient oil in the unit or you need to add fuel to increase the level.
Since we’re talking about oil, always keep bearings and other movable parts of the unit well-greased to reduce friction. Also, look for loose parts and tighten them to avoid vibration.
Connect the Air Tool
Slide the plug end of the required pneumatic tool into the free end of the hose to securely fit the two. Make sure the connection is tight to avoid loss of air pressure during air intake.
Fill the Air Tank
Close the drain valve present at the bottom of the tank using an adjustable wrench. Have a little patience. There will be a safety valve near the hose line. Pull it towards yourself and listen for a hissing sound when the air starts escaping. This test ensures that the unit is properly working.
Now, flip the power switch on the compressor to “ON” position to start building pressure inside the compressor’s tank. Closely monitor the air pressure gauge and wait for the needle to stop moving after reaching ascertain point. The unit will automatically shut off after touching the maximum pressure limit.
Regulate the Air Control Valve
Every pneumatic tool has a specific air pressure rating. Look for that information on the tool you plan to use. Turn the pressure adjusting knob in the right direction to regulate the pressure of the hose. The smaller gauge near the hose will allow you to monitor the pressure of the air hose. Make sure it doesn’t exceed the specified PSI of the tool in hand.
Maximum PSI rating varies from tool to tool. Therefore, you need to tweak the pressure every time you connect a different tool.
Note: If your air compressor or power tool stops abruptly, it could be either because of the overheating of the compressor or slow refilling of the tank.
Maintenance After Use
Remove the drain valve present on the underside of the unit to release the accumulated moisture. Tighten the valve back after that. If you want the air compressor to keep offering you services for a long time, never forget to drain residual water after every use.
While we are still on the subject of maintenance, clean the air filter periodically to prevent dirt buildup in the air intake passage. Otherwise, you will lose efficiency.
How Not to Use an Air Compressor
It is equally important to know what you are not supposed to do while using an air compressor. These are:
Setup Area: Do not install the air compressor in a hot, humid and unclean workspace.
Also, make sure there are no combustible and explosive materials close to the air compressor. Oh, and keep water miles away from electrical parts of the compressor to avoid shock.
Do not place the air compressor at such an angle or direction that blocks the vent part of the machine.
Precautions Related to Operation: Don’t plug in the power cord with the power switch flipped to “ON’. Next, it is not wise to work with an air hose that looks frail or damaged.
Don’t play guess games with the required PSI for the task at hand. Make sure you know the accurate PSI for every application.
When you are about to shut down the air compressor, don’t remove the plug or disconnect the air hose before moving the power switch to “OFF” position.
Personal Protective Gear: Working with an air compressor without protective apparel is like a cardinal sin because it leaves you vulnerable to injuries. To minimize the risk of injuries, wear protective equipment, including safety goggles, closed boots, gloves and hats.
Some air compressors aren’t as quiet as you would find comfortable. In that case, it is better to wear earplugs or earmuffs to avoid damaging your hearing.
Knowing the correct use of an air compressor can make a hell of a difference. Negligence will not cause you financial damage but can be hazardous to your health as well. This article educates first-timers and less-experienced users on how to operate an air compressor. We can assure you that if you follow the guidelines related to the use and maintenance of the air compressor, you will be able to do both: one, smoothly run your air compressor and pneumatic tools; two, acquire efficient results.