With the ever-increasing popularity and demand for air compressors, they have become a prerequisite tool for any construction worker, mechanic, carpenter, etc.
Unfortunately, this has also led to an increase in air compressor linked accidents. Even for the best of us, it’s not uncommon to let slip the fact of how potentially dangerous an air compressor can be.
An air compressor that has been set-up improperly tends to explode, overheat, catch fire and in the worst case could prove to be fatal.
Keeping these hazardous possibilities in mind we have put together this article, where we shall discuss how to set up an air compressor properly in detail.
If you are a neophyte with an air compressor, then I strongly recommend that you stay tuned as in these few following segments we will lay out each step in detail for setting up an air compressor.
I am positive that by the end of this article you will be able to manage an air compressor without any injuries or accidents.
So let’s begin.
Steps Involve In Setting Up Air Compressor:
Step 1: Safety
First things first, get proper safety equipment, it is of utmost importance.
This typically includes a protective eye goggle to shield your eyes from any flying debris, thick rubber gloves in case the compressor blew up, hard boots and hat if any compressor parts flew off due to a malfunction.
Last but not the least an ear muffler, or any other hearing protection. Air compressors are known to be loud power tools, prolonged exposure to any loud noise can lead to permanent ear damage.
Step 2: Power Extension Lead. Why Not Use Them?
A piece of unanimous advice from almost every user is that one should never use a power extension lead on an air compressor.
The reason being, these power extension leads often turn out to be way too long for the air compressor to handle.
Since a compressor is designed to handle only a certain amount of length, more than that might cause a drop in voltage, worse, your unit might burn out.
Nevertheless, if you have to have an extension then make sure you buy a hose reel extension, as this provides extra space and steering in your workplace.
Another factor to keep in mind is the hose’s internal diameter (ID), if the PSI average of your air compressor is relatively high then you need to have a hose with a suitable ID.
Step 3: Air Compressor’s Oil Level.
On to the next important step, that is to check the oil level of your compressor which is visible from the sight glass.
Keep in mind that the oil level should be at the red line, in case it isn’t then just fill the unit until the oil level reaches the desired level.
Note: You must read the manufacturer’s user guide to figure out what type of oil is suitable for your air compressor.
Always remember to lubricate your air compressor and its tools regularly so that their functionality remains optimum.
Step 4: Use Air Filter
Dust and debris are the arch-nemesis of an air compressor that gets sucked in if you don’t install an air filter.
It is important especially if you want to make sure that your spray paint finish is smooth and debris/dust free.
Furthermore, it prevents your air compressor from clogging on such debris, malfunctioning or shutting down entirely.
Hence the reason why you need to put an air filter onto the side of your air compressor before you begin your business.
Step 5: Use Of Oil Plug.
The oil plug needs to be placed tightly at the outlet after you have filled the unit with the oil. If there is any old oil then drain that before refilling it with the new one, don’t mix them up.
Step 6: Time To Start The Compressor.
After completing all the previous steps, it’s time to start the compressor. It’s basic, just plug in the electrical cord of the compressor in the power outlet and then turn the switch on.
Make sure the electrical cord of the compressor is not a hurdle, sometimes due to the positioning of the compressor the cord might be up in the air which is an inherent tripping hazard.
Needless to say that it is very dangerous especially when any power equipment is involved, so always keep the extra dangling cord tugged away.
Now turn on the air compressor.
Step 7: Fill Up The Tank.
Soon after the air compressor is turned on it will immediately begin to fill the tank.
Based on the type of compressor, whether it’s a stationary or a portable one, the size of the tank changes.
Not to forget the power source, it could be electric or gas-powered, which also plays a key role in deciding the size of the tank. Normally the size is measured in a gallon.
A golden rule to remember by is this “the bigger the tank, the more swiftly they work”.
If you are a professional job worker who needs a compressor for prolonged usage, then you should opt for a larger tank.
If you are a homeowner then you only need a compressor for moderate use so for that a smaller tank will be more than sufficient.
Upon using the air compressor equipment, your compressor will immediately turn off, once you stop using that equipment/tool the unit will restart again.
Step 8: Air Hose.
It’s time to connect the air hose to the compressor.
Just to be on the safe side, use Teflon tape and wrap it around the point of attachment, it’s better if you wrap it at least 4 or 5 times.
This way the hose gets firmly attached to the compressor with no possibility of air leaking out.
Having done this, your hose will stay attached to the compressor until the need of use arises, in the meantime, you won’t have to worry about removing the tape.
Step 9: The Air Tool.
After the air hose, now it’s time to attach the air tool/equipment at the end of the air hose.
If you observe there is a connecting apparatus at the end of the hose, this connector needs to match with the coupler of your air tool.
It simply means that if your air tool has a male thread, then your air hose should have a female thread and vice versa.
Sometimes they end up mismatched or get delivered with a pre-attached coupler, nevertheless just attach one to the end of your hose.
Step 10: Calibrate The Regulator.
Yet another important aspect of the setup, before you configure the regulator you need to go through the manufacturer’s guide first. With that, you will know the right pressure setting for your regulator.
Now you are good to go, start the compressor and get on with your business.
When it is time to call it a day, close the valve then turn off the power and follow these simple steps.
Step 11: Unplug Your Compressor.
A few minutes is needed for your compressor to cool down after unplugging.
This is a rather crucial aspect of a compressor because sometimes the motor can get very hot due to the extreme temperature as a result of extended use.
Be careful while shutting the compressor down, and keep an eye on it as it might get overheated while working.
Step 12: Empty The Tank.
Now for the most important part, before you head home, it’s time for you to empty the compressor’s tank.
For this, you would want to drain the air along with moisture from the tank via a bleed valve (it is present on the underside of your compressor).
We need to do this to keep the compressor ready for the next use.
Besides, it will prevent the moisture from interfering with the compressor’s work.
Speaking about draining, don’t forget the oil. I know you won’t, but just a reminder.
Step 13: Confine Your Compressor.
This is effectively the concluding factor of the set up as a whole.
Here keep in mind that the place you chose to store the compressor is neither too hot nor cold, and it should be well insulated.
Leaving in the garage might cause the moisture to accumulate in the tank during winter and rainy seasons, which will mess up the pressure regulator readings.
Note: You should never leave your compressor near any oil container, as the compressor tends to overheat so it might cause the oil to catch fire.
One of the best advantages of this design is the presence of a Thermal cut-off switch.
This switch would immediately turn off the air compressor in case it gets overheated, on top of that it will divert the air inside the tank to prevent any mishaps.
Goes without saying, no matter what always be careful when it comes to power tools, their handiness doesn’t negate their dangerous side.
Overheating, catching fire or exploding, these are all possibilities with a power tool like an air compressor.
So read the manufacturer’s guide thoroughly as it contains crucial points and information regarding the working of the unit.
The only thing that matters is your well being, so do not think twice if your air compressor starts acting out.