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What You Need to Know About Air Compressor Oil

By In Information On July 16, 2019


If you have an industrial job that involves an air compressor, chances are that you will have to deal with air compressor oil. While some models do not utilize oil, most do.

If you deal with an air compressor and its oil, you’ll need to understand a few things about choosing oil and maintaining its integrity. Read this article to learn more.

Choose the Proper Weight

Air compressor oil is measured and valued in several different ways. One such way is through its weight. The weight rating, despite its name, actually deals with the temperatures in which the oil will need to operate.

Generally, a 20 or 30 weight is standard and useful for most applications. However, if your application involves very high or very low temperatures or has extreme temperature fluctuations, you may need to look into more specialized options.

In most cases, you will be safe if you simply follow the manufacturer recommendations for your specific compressor.

Consider Whether or Not Rust Is a Factor

Another thing to think about when choosing an air compressor oil is whether or not your particular job comes with a threat of rust or oxidation. Generally, if your work takes place outdoors or has a high chance of being exposed to moisture, you need to be concerned about the possibility of rust.

If rust is a factor for you, don’t worry. Simply choose an oil that has guards in place to protect against the threat of rust. If you’re unsure about whether or not the oil you’re using guards against rust, find out. Not doing so could put your entire system at risk since rust can have some major negative effects on your compressor and on your entire operation.

Always Choose Non-Detergent Oils

When people are new to using air compressors and air compressor oils, they will sometimes choose the wrong type of oil. One of the worst things they can do and commonly do engage in, for example, is choosing oil designed for motors.

This type of oil may work in your air compressor, but it is a detergent oil. Over time, the detergent in the oil can be very damaging to your system. If you use this type of oil long enough, it can even completely ruin your compressor.

Because using the wrong type of oil can be so detrimental, use an oil specifically designed for a compressor and nothing else. If you are unsure, refer to your compressors operation manual or ask the provider of the compressor for a recommendation. Taking this one step could mean saving yourself a ton of time and expense, so heed this advice with care.

Synthetic Lubricants

Because of the extreme high temperatures the oil is exposed to in air compressors serious consideration should be given to synthetic lubricants that are specifically designed for higher operation temperatures and moisture that condenses when air is compressed.

Food Grade Oil

Food Grade Oil is available for special food processing applications that require this type of oil.   Consult with your compressor supplier when this type of oil is required.

Make Sure the Oil Filter is Replaced

One final thing to be careful of is that the oil filters well and fully.

Any good compressor will have an oil filtration system. However, even the best system can only go so far in terms of filtering oil properly.

If you choose an oil that is low quality and that does not filter well or that tends to varnish it may reduce the capability of the oil filter and also lose its lubrication qualities,  which can cause premature bearing failure.

Read reviews and do your research to choose an oil that is easily and properly filtered. And, if you’re in doubt, call on a service that knows all about air compressor oils and that can help you.

In fact, professional advice is always wise when dealing with something as serious and tenuous as your compressor and what you put into it. With this in mind, don’t be afraid to call on the expert advice available from Compressor-Pump & Service, Inc. We’ll be happy to answer all your questions.


About the Author

enelson@compressor-pump.com

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