Omnia Mechanical Group

571 Timpson Place Bronx, NY 10455

Phone: 212-534-2500

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6 Common Air Compressor Problems and How to Fix Them

Air compressors are used in dozens of different applications. While at Antler Pumps, we mostly service air compressors used in industrial, mechanical, and fire suppression settings, we see air compressors utilized for everything from HVAC to medical devices to agriculture. When something goes wrong with your air compressor, it can result in lost work time and profitability. Here’s a look at the most common air compressor problems and some fixes you can try yourself to get up and running again.

Most Common Air Compressor Problems

Air Compressor Won’t Turn On

First, if your compressor has a reset switch, try that. If it’s a one-time issue, and your compressor runs fine thereafter, great. If you keep having to use the reset button, however, you may have a wiring, power, or internal issue that needs attention.

We offer these tips regarding power and wiring that might affect your machine’s ability to turn on:

  • Always plug your compressor directly into an outlet, never a power strip.
  • Use three-prong extension cords that are less than 25 feet long to reduce resistance. They should also be at least 10 gauge.
  • Check to see if the compressor has tripped your circuit breaker. Repeated circuit breaker issues could be a problem with the air compressor wiring, an electrical circuit of insufficient amperage, or your electrical panel. If other machinery making the same electrical demands doesn’t trip your breaker, the problem is probably with the compressor.
  • Check to see that rodents or wear and tear haven’t frayed any wiring.
  • Make sure the contact is good between the power switch and internal circuitry. Sometimes switches need tightening due to vibration, and old switches may need replacement.

Sometimes changing the pressure can also get your compressor to start again if the automatic run sensor cut power temporarily.

Other things you can check include:

  • Is the pressure switch operating properly?
  • Did the compressor overheat? Cooling off will usually allow it to start up again, but repeat episodes of overheating require evaluation.
  • Is the machine low on oil? (See more on oil problems below.)

Air Compressor Too Noisy

An air compressor that’s making excessive noise usually has internal problems that require professional servicing. If you check and tighten the compressor floor mounting, replace worn vibration pads, and top off the oil without any success in reducing noise, we’re happy to take a look at it. The problem is likely:

  • Loose parts (flywheel, pulley, belts, clamps, etc.)
  • Dirty piston at the cylinder head
  • Crankcase failure
  • Worn or hardened gaskets

Knocking sounds may be due to bearings that need replacement, which we can take care of for you.

Air Compressor Leaks

Air leaks are a common problem with compressors. How do you know if you have an air leak? Shut off the compressor while fully charged. If the gauge drops, you have an air leak.

Disconnect the hose after performing the steps above. If the gauge stops dropping, you know the hose is the leaky element.

Just like checking for a leak with a vehicle tire, you can apply liquid soap around connections and couplings to see if bubbles appear. The tank check valve may also need cleaning or replacement.

Air Compressor Providing Insufficient or Inconsistent Pressure

If your air compressor fails to provide any pressure, or if the pressure is inconsistent, there are a number of possible causes. First, check for leaks as described above. Next, make sure the air intake is clear and the filter element is clean.

Be sure that the tools you’re using with your air compressor aren’t putting more demand on it than the machine was made to handle. If these tips don’t solve your problem, you may have to have the compressor serviced by experts for issues like loose or broken belts, faulty gaskets, or a failing pump.

Air Compressor Won’t Stop

If you have a compressor that won’t stop running, it’s likely due to one of two causes. The pressure relief valve may be faulty. This makes the tank too highly pressurized and dangerous to use. Disconnect the air compressor from its power source and have it professionally serviced.

The pressure switch may also be at fault, causing no signal between it and the internal workings of the machine. In that case, a new pressure switch is in order.

Air Compressor Uses Too Much Oil

We hear from a lot of clients that their air compressors seem to guzzle oil. There are numerous things you should check when this occurs.

Make sure there are no leaks around the oil compartment and replace any worn gaskets. Likewise, old piston rings should be replaced.

Be certain you are using the right oil as well, double-checking the viscosity. Finally, don’t use your air compressor on a tilt. When it’s not in a level position, it can trick the machine into thinking the oil is low because it all flows to the lowest spot in the receptacle.

Other Air Compressor Issues We See

Less common problems

While the six problems listed above are the ones we see most frequently at Antler Pumps, there are other issues you may observe. Here are a few more air compressor problems and some things to try on your own to fix them:

  • Oil in reservoir has a milky appearance: air intake needs to be less humid to reduce air in the oil.
  • Compressor vibrating too much: tighten mounting bolts, and make sure the surface is level.
  • Belts wearing out too quickly: adjust the tension up or down accordingly.
  • Constant overheating: use in a well-ventilated area and keep up routine professional cleaning.

If you aren’t able to solve your air compressor problems, including anything not mentioned above, we welcome the opportunity to have a look at your machine. Call Antler Pumps at 212-534-2500, or schedule an appointment online with our easy contact form. We have our own shop, so we can do your repairs and get you back in business with a minimum of downtime.


Our Privacy Policy

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This Privacy Policy (“the Policy”) provides information on how the Company uses your personal information. By agreeing to the Policy, you agree to our collection and use of your personal information as described in the Policy. This Privacy Policy is effective for all new users of Sanitaryplumbing.com.

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You can browse some areas of omniagroup.nyc (“the Website”) without being a registered user. However, certain activities do require registration. (You consent to the transfer and storage of your information by registering with omniagroup.nyc).

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Our primary purpose in collecting personal information is to provide you with a safe and user-friendly experience. For example, the Company may use your personal information to:

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We may occasionally ask you to complete optional surveys. These surveys are used to improve and customize your experience with Sanitaryplumbing.com.

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