How To Troubleshoot An Overheating Air Compressor

Posted on: 22 January 2016

If you have an air compressor in your manufacturing plant or machine shop that is used to power pneumatic tools, then you likely experience a great deal of downtime if the compressor overheats and shuts down on a regular basis. This downtime costs money and leads to employee frustration that jobs cannot be completed in a timely manner. If you have been experiencing this issue, then keep reading to troubleshoot the problem.

Decrease Ambient Temperature

If you have a number of machines and tools inside your business that run continuously, then you may have a problem with something called waste heat. Waste heat is the thermal product of any machine that uses energy to run. If your shop or plant is sealed, then the waste heat is released directly into the ambient air. This will cause temperatures to rise substantially in the plant and cause overheating issues with your air compressor. One way to reduce this problem is to install a heat recovery system in your building. This system uses the warm exhaust from your machinery to heat the cooler air that is pulled into the building. The warmed air is then utilized by the heating system to warm cooler areas of your building. This system does require the installation of a heat exchanger in your ventilation system and ducts to collect the heat. While this may be expensive, it is a permanent solution to overheating problems that can also cut down on heating costs over time.

If you live in a warm weather area where your heating system is rarely used, then heat recovery may not be the best option to cool your air compressor. Instead, invest in a centrifugal blower or another type of fan that will continuously pull the heat away from the compressor and also reduce the ambient temperature around the device. Also, if the compressor is a large industrial model that is ventilated, then ventilation ducts may need to be increased in size to handle proper heat removal.

Check The Oil

Air compressors contain a material called air compressor oil that flows around compressor valves tin the pump to remove debris and carbon formations. The oil helps to keep the seals maintained and in good shape, and the fluid also pulls heat away from the pump so it does not overheat. Typically, the oil is stored in a sump or small pit inside the machine. As the device vibrates and moves, the oil splashes onto the parts that need lubrication. However, this will not happen if there is not enough oil in the system and overheating will occur. Check the oil in the compressor to see if low levels are the issue.

Your air compressor will have either a dipstick or an oil level gauge that will help you figure out if oil levels are low. The dipstick will be located on the oil cap and the gauge will sit on the side of the compressor. Oil gauges are small and clear chambers that have a red dot in the middle. If the oil is in line with this dot, then oil levels are good. If oil is low, then you will need to add some to the reservoir or pit. Purchase specialty air compressor oil for this purpose. Add oil until it reaches the gauge dot or the proper level on the dipstick.

Along with adding new oil to the compressor, you should also replace oil if it appears dark, thick, or gritty when you check it Make sure the air compressor is warm so the oil is thin enough to flow out of the reservoir. Look for a small bolt or screw on the bottom of the compressor underneath where the oil reservoir is located. Place a pan under the bolt and loosen it. Allow the oil to drain, replace the bolt, and add new oil to the reservoir. 

For more information on air compressors, contact a company like Compressor-Pump & Service, Inc.


Choosing The Right Industrial Supplies

A few years back, I realized that we needed to upgrade our factory--and fast. I was tired of dealing with broken pieces of equipment and issues with our system, and it was really frustrating for me. Instead of giving up, I decided that I needed to take a second look at replacing different items around our warehouse. I started with the most important machines and worked my way towards other items. It was really exhilarating to see things transform, and before I knew it our warehouse was operating at top capacity. This blog is all about choosing the right supplies and streamlining your operation.

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