11 Tips for Small Piston Air Compressor Maintenance

Vital things that you need to know about maintenance

Recommended Audience:      DIYers & Handymen

Compressor Type:                  Small Piston Compressors

Now that you’ve invested in an air compressor to perform your household and DIY applications, its important to know how to look after it.  To often, small piston compressors get neglected which can be costly oversight.  The following are a few tips you can use to ensure your compressor stays in tip-top condition.

#1 Read and Follow Your Air Compressor’s Manual

Its extremely important that as a new owner of an air compressor that you read the owner’s manual.  It is a guide that usually contains some crucial tips which can help you ensure the longevitiy of your air compressor.  In addition, if you don’t follow the rules in your air compressor manual, there’s a chance that you will void your warranty.

#2: Drain The Moisture From The Tanks

During the compression process, condensation occurs and as a result the air receiver tank accumulates moisture.  Most tanks have a valve for draining this moisture and the onus is on you to ensure that the tank is drained regularly.

Important Tip:   Before draining the water you should be sure to release the air pressure from the tanks

#3: Clean Intake Valve

If your compressor is overworked, you will not only lose power but it will gradually degrade the quality of your air tool.  It is for this reason that you need to regularly check your intake valve and make sure it is as clean as possible.  This is especially important if you are working in a dusty or dirty environment.

#4: Tighten All Fasteners

As a compressor runs, it vibrates, and this results in vibrating parts.  These vibrations often loosen screws, nuts and bolts on a regular basis, thus it is vital that these are checked and tightened periodically.

#5: Check Hoses Regularly

To avoid air leaks and drops in pressure, check your hoses often as if they become cracked or corroded they could soon begin to leak and then put undue strain on the rest of your compressor’s components. If they are cracked or damaged then they should be replaced.

#6: Test the Safety Shutdown System

Your air compressor may have a built in safety shut down. The function of this system is to shut off your compressor if it’s getting too hot, or if the engine’s oil pressure is too low. This test will help you ensure a longer lasting compressor.

#7: Check and Change Air Filters As Needed

Having a dirty air filter, allows air inside the compressor and forces it to work harder to intake air.  It is crucial that your filters are regularly checked and changed to avoid a heavy build up of dust and dirt.

Important Tip: You should change your air filter every 6 months

#8: Clean the Fuel Tank

Periodically cleaning out your fuel tank will ensure optimal operating conditions and will preserve the life of your engine.

Important Tip: Clean your compressor engine every year to remove any residual build up from the fuel

#9: Check and Change the Compressor Oil

If you’re running a compressor that uses oil you should be checking it on a daily basis to make sure that your machine is topped off.

Important Tip:  You should change your oil every 500-1000 hours to ensure maximum functioning of your air compressor

#10: Change the Separator Element

The separator element prevents the excessive use of oil, but it has to be replace periodically.

Important Tip: Replace your separator element every 1000 hours of operation

#11: Clean the Heat Exchangers

Heat exchangers are used to reduce the operating temperatures of your air compressor, and if they are dirty your compressor may overheat.  Clean them regularly to keep your operating temperatures down and increase the life span of your air compressor.


Following the aforementioned tips will ensure the longevity of your air compressor and keep if running efficiently so you can perform the jobs you need to hassle-free.

Leave Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Contact Us Today!