Troubleshooting 6 Common Air Cooled Piston Compressor Problems

By In Blog On November 22, 2016

Air Cooled compressors are some of the most important pieces of equipment for any industrial enterprise. When they fail, your entire business can temporarily shut down. In rare cases, a failing air compressor can also cause dangerous work conditions. When something goes wrong with your equipment, you want to assess the problem and find a solution as quickly as possible.

Our technicians are available to fix your air compressor 24/7. If you suspect you need a repair, give us a call. In the meantime, read through our blog below to learn about what issues could be plaguing your air compressor.

1. Your Air Compressor Refuses to Turn On

First, eliminate the most obvious culprits: double check that your air compressor has power. You can also try resetting the machine to see if that resolves the issue. These solutions are fairly obvious, but it never hurts to ensure that your machine has power and is ready to go before you call the technicians for a repair.

You can also verify that your circuit isn’t simply overloaded. Disconnect any other pieces of equipment from that same circuit. Check that your circuit breaker hasn’t tripped or the fuse hasn’t been blown out and try running the machine again. You may have connected too many devices and your electric system can’t handle the energy load.

If neither of these simple fixes work, call a technician. He or she can find out if you have a problem with your pressure switch or with the air pressure in the tank itself.

2. Your Air Compressor Is Too Loud

Air compressors operate with a fairly high level of noise. You and your employees should wear ear protection if you use large, high-powered air compressors. But just because air compressors make a lot of noise doesn’t mean you should expect them to be excessively loud. If the machine hurts your ears in spite of your protective ear gear, your air compressor has a problem.

A loose screw, clamp, belt, or pulley could be causing the problem. Check that all of your compressor’s components are tightened correctly. If they are, you might not have enough oil in the air compressor-add any oil as needed.

Otherwise, you could have a problem like a broken crankcase or a broken piston that hits against the air compressor’s valve plate when you run the machine. Call a repair technician to solve the problem before the parts wear down excessively or damage the rest of the machine.

3. Your Air Compressor Consumes Too Much Oil

If you frequently have to add more oil to your air compressor, it’s probably not running at top efficiency, which means it’s wasting your money. Before you call in a technician, make sure you’ve changed the compressor’s air filter recently (or ask a repair technician to perform this task for you). Cleaning your air filter might be the only change you need to make to get your air compressor back to normal.

You might also be using the wrong type of oil in your air compressor. Verify that you’re using oil at the right viscosity-if it’s too thick or too thin, the machine won’t operate correctly. If you’re using the wrong type of oil, drain the current oil from the air compressor and add the right type.

Alternatively, your piston rings or valves might have worn out, and the old parts are decreasing your unit’s efficiency. Call a repair technician for replacement pistons if necessary.

4. Your Air Compressor Vibrates While in Operation

Follow the same steps you would if your air compressor operates too loudly. Check that all the clamps, valves, and pulleys are correctly tightened. Your unit’s flywheel could also be misaligned with the pulley, and they need to be brought back into realignment to stop the unit from shaking.

If you only recently installed this air compressor, it’s also possible that it wasn’t installed or mounted correctly. Double check that the compressor was installed correctly-if not, call in outside help to get the job done right.

5. Your Belts Wear Down Too Quickly

If the belts are too tight or too loose, they’ll wear out faster than if they were correctly installed. If you find that you’re replacing your belts over and over, they probably need to be readjusted so they fit your unit correctly.

6. Your Air Compressor Keeps Blowing the Fuses or Circuit Breaker

This problem could occur because your unit requires too much energy for the circuit to sustain. Your unit can’t put out more energy than your electrical system is equipped to handle. If the problem continues follow the same steps you would if your unit won’t run

If the problem recurs, you either need to update your air compressor, downgrade to a smaller unit, or upgrade your building’s electrical system.


Look out for these six common problems. If you run into any trouble and can’t find the source of the problem, turn to Compressor-Pump & Service today. We’re happy to provide the excellent service, parts, and replacement units you need.

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