Compressor-Pump & Service, Inc.

3 Things to Know About Your Air Compressor’s Oil Supply

By In Blog On April 22, 2022

The oil in your air compressor plays an important role in the smooth and safe running of the machine. What do you need to know about how this oil works and what it means for your compressor?

1. Not All Compressor Oils Are the Same

Air compressors can take different types of oil. For example, you might be able to use a petroleum, synthetic, or food-grade product. It is safest to follow the recommendation of the compressor’s manufacturer. They will recommend the best type of oil for their system, so you know that this oil will work well.

However, you also have to factor in environmental conditions before you choose which oil to use. The oil in the system should run with an optimum flow. Its viscosity should enable it to run through the compressor at the right rate. It shouldn’t be too thin to lubricate or too thick to flow smoothly.

If your compressor will be exposed to higher or lower temperatures than the norm, then you need to find an oil that can cope with extra heat or cold. Temperature extremes can affect an oil’s viscosity, and the weight of an oil dictates how well it can flow in different circumstances. If you store your compressor outside, you have to use oil that can handle external temperatures during any season.

2. Compressor Oil Levels Are Important

Like any oil-based machine, you need to keep your compressor’s oil supply topped off to acceptable levels. However, you have to be careful not to underfill or overfill the compressor.

Air compressors might not work so well if they don’t have enough oil in their system. You might not have enough oil circulation to lubricate key internal parts. If some parts aren’t lubricated, they can seize up or get damaged. Moreover, oil helps cool down the system. If your levels are too low, then the machine might overheat.

However, you also have to take care not to put too much oil in the machine. Don’t be tempted to fill the reservoir to the top. If a compressor has too much oil in its system, then some of the oil might spit out when you use the machine. Spits and spills can be hazardous because people might slip on the oil, and it also poses a fire risk.

Moreover, too much oil can affect the quality of the air you produce. Excess oil might get through filters and come out in your air supply. This might also damage any tools or machines you use the air on.

Ideally, you should fill your machine with as much oil as your manufacturer recommends and no more. Use the machine’s sight glass or dipstick to check your levels regularly.

3. Oil Can Reveal Compressor Problems

Your air compressor’s oil can give you early warning signs when your machine has a problem. For example, if you look at the oil through your sight glass and see that it looks milky and cloudy, then you might have water in your system. This could mean that your oil/water separator isn’t working. On the other hand, you might have too much environmental humidity coming into the machine.

Oil also helps you spot leaks. For example, if you see drips or pools of oil in unusual places under or around your machine, then you might have a broken, damaged or loose part. If your oil levels start to deplete more rapidly than normal, but you can’t see any excess oil outside the machine, then you might have an internal leak.

If you think you have an oil problem in your air compressor, then contact Compressor-Pump & Service, Inc. Don’t leave small concerns to turn into major problems. Our experts can inspect your compressor and its oil supply, check it for faults, and then make any necessary repairs.

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