When you invest in your first air compressor for your garage or workshop, caring for it can be a bit of a mystery. In fact, there are a few common questions that nearly every new air compressor owner asks at some point along the way. By familiarizing yourself with these questions early, you can better prepare yourself for the care and maintenance that your air compressor is going to need.
Here's a look at several of the frequently asked questions about air compressors and the answers you should know.
How Do I Choose a Drain Valve?
Understanding the options is the first place to start when choosing the drain valve for your air compressor. There are three primary types to choose from.
- Electronic Timers: Electronic timer valves rely on a solenoid valve with a timer integrated into the system. The timer is electronic, and it opens the valve automatically at the pre-scheduled intervals regardless of the water level inside the tank. Just make sure you have a steady power source, because it needs electricity to function.
- Float-Operated: A float-operated valve is controlled by a small float inside the air compressor tank. As the water level inside the tank rises, the float will rise as well. When it hits the trigger level, which is determined by the float system, it will automatically drain the tank. This is ideal if you want to be sure that you're only draining the tank when the water level is too high. Since it's controlled by a float, it doesn't need a power source.
- Electric Sensors: An electric sensor valve uses a small probe connected to a sensor to regulate the drain function. It opens the drain valve when the water level comes in contact with the sensor. This is much like the float system, because it only drains when the water level is too high. Like the electronic timer, though, this drain system needs a consistent power source.
Is It a Big Deal if Water Isn't Draining Properly?
Inside the air compressor tank is typically a steel liner. The steel can be vulnerable to corrosion if you leave any moisture accumulated inside. If you want to ensure that the tank stays intact and free of damage, you need to preserve the liner's condition. This means ensuring that you have a drain valve that's best for your work schedule and maintenance needs. Choose one of the automatic valves listed above if you're concerned about forgetting to manually drain the tank on time.
What Causes Water in the Air Lines?
Water in the air lines often means that the condensate trap has failed. If so, you can fix the problem by cleaning out the trap or replacing it with a new one. If the condensate trap is clean and you're still seeing water in the air lines, it may mean the air dryer isn't working right. If so, you'll have to invest in a larger air dryer. To get the best one for your compressor, it's best to try this website to talk with a technician who can assess the unit and help you select one.
How Often Do I Need to Check the Air Intake?
The filter on the air intake catches particles of dirt and debris from the air as it's drawn into the compressor. You need to keep this filter clean, otherwise your air compressor won't have sufficient air flow to function as it's intended. The more often you use the compressor, the more frequently you'll have to replace the filter.
As a new air compressor owner, understanding how to care for the unit is important. With these questions answered, you're in a better position to manage it. If you have other questions, you can reach out to an air compressor retailer or service specialist.