When you invest in an air compressor for your shop or garage, it's often a learning experience as you discover how the compressor works and what things can go wrong. It also often leads to confusion as you face new problems when something does malfunction. Here's a look at some of the most common issues you might experience with your air compressor and what you can do about them.
Problem: Excessive Noise When the Compressor's Running
Air compressors naturally make some noise when they're running, but if you start hearing whining, squealing or other loud noises that are out of the ordinary, it likely means something's wrong inside. Shut the compressor off, then check the oil level in the crank case. If the oil's low, refill it and then test the compressor to ensure that the problem is resolved. Otherwise, it may be caused by a loose pulley, flywheel or belt. Check all of the mounting bolts to ensure that everything's secure. If neither of these things fix it, you'll want to call an air compressor service technician to inspect the crank case and the cylinder head.
Problem: Knocking in a Rhythmic Pattern
If you're hearing a knocking sound that's occurring in the same rhythm as the compressor's RPMs, that's a sign of bearing or flywheel issues. Check the flywheel first, tightening the mounting bolt if necessary. Otherwise, you may need to have a technician replace the connecting rod bearings or the main bearings.
Problem: Milky Oil in the Reservoir
If you check the oil reservoir and find that the oil inside is milky, that's a sure sign that there's water getting into the oil. This often happens if you're running your compressor in a high-humidity area. You'll want to move your air intake to a less humid environment. Once you find another location for your air intake, you should have the whole system serviced and have your oil changed.
Problem: Oil in the Compressor's Discharge Air
Your compressor should never discharge oil with the air. If it is doing so, you'll need to figure out where the oil's coming from. If the air filter is clogged, the restricted air intake can cause this. It's also sometimes caused by worn piston rings or the use of an oil that's the wrong viscosity for the compressor motor.
With the tips here, you can be better equipped to identify some of the common problems that can occur with air compressors, making it easier to troubleshoot your new air compressor.