How to use an Air Compressor

Most power tools these days use air compressor to power themselves. An air compressor can be of various shapes and sizes and which compressor in what situation is dependent on what the job that it needs to be used for is. Pressure discharged from the air compressor is used by a power tool, such as a nail gun, power drill or tire inflators to function.

how to use an air compressor
Use an Air Compressor

Tools that are operated with air compressors are called Pneumatic Tools. Pneumatic Tools are convenient for industrial production because of the low weight to power ratio. They are less susceptible to overheating and the maintenance associated with pneumatic tools is also very low.

There are a number of tools used both commercially and at home which use an air compressor to function. Sprinkler systems installed at both homes and offices are controlled by air pressure. Until heat breaks the seal and releases the pressure, it is air pressure that holds the sprinkler system together. Air Jets are already used for cleaning houses easily. Air compressors are also used to supply clean air for functioning some of the office and school pneumatic HVAC control valves.

Steps Required for Using an Air Compressor

Once you have brought home your chosen air compressor, it is time to start unpacking the compressor out of the box. Once it has been unpacked completely, you will see that it is not yet ready to be plugged in and made use of. Whether you are using an air compressor to spray paint your car or to inflate a tire, the following are the steps that need to be noted for using an air compressor:

  1. Assembling the compressor – The manual that comes with the package will give you almost all the details about how to use an air compressor. It is extremely important that you read these documents properly. There will be instructions to assemble your air compressor in that document. Thereafter, connect the hose to the regulator valve.
  2. Checking the oil level – It is important to check the oil level before operating the compressor to ensure that it is well lubricated. If the oil level is low or inadequate the pressure exerted on the air compressor will be high which will tend to damage the air compressor.
  3. Supply Power – Plug in the air compressor in a three pronged, grounded outlet. Ensure that the outlet is grounded otherwise there can be a risk of getting electrocuted.
  4. Relief Valve – Ensure that the relief valve is set correctly.
  5. Turn on the compressor – In order to pump the tank, turn on the compressor. And then close the valve.
  6. Connecting the Power Tool – Once all the previous steps have been complied with, it is time to plug your pneumatic power tool to the hose of the compressor. You will have to adjust the compressors discharge of pressure according to the specifications of the power tool and the project you are working on.
  7. Turning off – After the work is complete and you no longer need to use the compressor, unplug the compressor from the power outlet and turn it off. Thereafter, disconnect the power tool that was being used and then the hose. Once that is done you should open the drain valve to drain the water from the tank. Once the compressor has been used as desired, it needs to wiped clean and stored in a dry area.

The Steps for Maintaining an Air Compressor​

Once you know how to use an air compressor it is equally important to know how to maintain your air compressor. The more care you take of your air compressor, the longer it will last and the fewer problems you have to deal with when operating it. Some of the steps that can be taken towards the maintenance of an air compressor are as follows:

  1. Warranty – It is important to go through the warranty information provided inside the packaging of the air compressor. Most important of all is to note the points which if not followed will lead to your warranty being voided. Ensure that, if there are any serial numbers marked on the body of the compressor, it is protected using a protective transparent tape.
  2. Air Compression Filter – Changing the air compression filter is necessary every six months. If the filter is not changed, dirt will keep accumulating in the filter which will lead to the compressor coming under additional pressure.
  3. Draining the tanks – Since the compressor collects and compresses air, it is prone to collect moisture in the tank. Air can be released from the tank by using the valve provided.
  4. Clean the fuel tank – The fuel tank needs to be vacuumed dry and cleared of debris every once in a while.
  5. Check the Safety shut off system – You might know how to use an air compressor but it is extremely important to know how the Safety shut down system works as well. Most compressors have a system that shuts down the compressor when it gets too hot or when there is excess pressure on the compressor. A quick glance at the manual will tell you how you can make sure that the safety system is working as required.
  6. Changing compressor oil – The compressor oil should be changed periodically. Ideally, every 500-1000 hours of use.
  7. Replacing the oil separator – In the case of oil lubricated air compressor, with the air that is sprayed into the interior, some oil also gets through. This passes through the oil separator before you are able to use it. This oil separator should also be replaced after 500-1000 hours of use so that the oil separator is not clogged with oil and in turn exert additional pressure on the compressor.


It is not enough to buy an air compressor and then come home and just plug it in to begin work on the job at hand. It is also necessary to know how to use an air compressor in the right way and how to take care of your asset. By proactively taking care of your compressor, you will ensure that the investment made on the air compressor is justified. Learning how to use an air compressor and knowing the steps that have to be taken to maintain it is only the first step towards ensuring that the air compressor is used in the right way and in the safest way possible.

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