Reciprocating piston air compressor

Air Compressor Troubleshooting Chart: Your Ultimate Guide to Diagnosing Issues

For numerous industries, such as manufacturing, construction, and vehicle repair, air compressors are crucial instruments. They function by compressing air to power various tools and equipment. Air compressors can, however, experience issues over time, just like any other piece of machinery. Technicians frequently utilize air compressor troubleshooting charts to identify these problems. The definition, significance, and practical application of air compressor troubleshooting charts will all be covered in this article.

Air compressor types

It’s critical to comprehend the two primary types of air compressors:

  1. Positive displacement, and
  2. Roto-dynamic.

Before we get into diagnostic charts, in order to compress the air, positive displacement air compressors trap it in a chamber and then reduce its volume. Reciprocal, rotary screw and scroll compressors are a few types of positive displacement air compressors. On the other hand, roto-dynamic compressors operate by giving the air a velocity before translating that velocity into pressure. Centrifugal and axial compressors are two types of roto-dynamic compressors.

Common Air Compressor Problems

Many issues, such as low pressure, high pressure, leakage, overheating, and odd noises, can arise with air compressors. High pressure can be the result of a broken safety valve or a clogged discharge pipe, whereas low pressure is frequently brought on by a malfunctioning pressure switch or a clogged air filter. While overheating might be brought on by a lack of lubrication or a filthy cooling system, leakage can happen as a result of worn-out gaskets or loose fittings. Strange noises may be a sign of a faulty piston, worn bearings, or a loose belt.

Chart for Troubleshooting Air Compressors

A compressed air system is essential to numerous industrial operations and must function successfully and efficiently. Nonetheless, issues can occur in the course of normal operation, which could reduce output and raise maintenance expenses.

The following table lists 30 typical air compressor issues along with their causes and fixes:

Problem Name Cause Solution
1. Air leaks
  • Worn-out seals,
  • Loose fittings, or
  • Damaged hoses
  • Tighten fittings,
  • Replace seals and
  • Replace the hoses
2. Overheating
  • Dirty air filter,
  • Insufficient ventilation, or
  • Low oil level
  • Clean or replace the air filter,
  • Improve ventilation,
  • Check and fill the oil level
3. Not Starting
  • Faulty pressure switch tripped circuit breaker or
  • Bad motor capacitor
  • Replace the pressure switch,
  • Reset the circuit breaker, or
  • Replace the motor capacitor
4. Low pressure
  • Clogged air filter,
  • Damaged valves, or
  • Worn piston rings
  • Clean or replace the air filter,
  • Repair or replace valves, or
  • Replace piston rings
5. High pressure Faulty pressure switch blocked pressure relief valve or malfunctioning regulator Replace the pressure switch, clear the pressure relief valve, or repair the regulator
6. Excessive noise Loose or damaged parts, or insufficient lubrication Tighten or replace loose or damaged parts, lubricate moving components
7. Oil leaks Damaged seals, worn gaskets, or loose fittings Replace seals and gaskets, tighten fittings
8. Rust buildup Exposure to moisture or inadequate drainage Keep compressor dry, drain moisture regularly
9. Motor runs continuously Damaged pressure switch or malfunctioning unloader valve Replace the pressure switch or repair the unloader valve
10. Dirty air filter Accumulation of dust and debris Clean or replace the air filter
11. Contaminated air Accumulation of oil or moisture in the air tank Drain the air tank regularly, install a moisture trap
12. Compressor vibrates excessively Loose or worn-out motor mount, unbalanced pulleys, or damaged compressor bearings Tighten or replace motor mount, balance pulleys, or replace compressor bearings
13. Oil in compressed air Worn piston rings or damaged valves Replace piston rings or repair valves
14. Compressor won’t stop Faulty pressure switch or unloader valve Replace the pressure switch or repair the unloader valve
15. Compressor trips breaker Overloaded circuit or faulty motor Reduce the load on the circuit or replace the motor
16. Unusual odor Burnt or overheated parts, or contaminated air filter Replace damaged parts, clean or replace the air filter
17. Poor quality compressed air Dirty air filter, low oil level, or worn compressor parts Clean or replace air filter, check and fill oil level, repair or replace compressor parts
18. Low oil pressure Insufficient oil level or faulty oil pump Check and fill oil level, replace faulty oil pump
19. Slow compressor response Dirty air filter or low voltage supply Clean or replace the air filter, check the voltage supply
20. Unusual noises Loose or damaged parts, or damaged bearings Tighten or replace loose or damaged parts, replace damaged bearings
21. Noisy intake valve Loose or worn valve parts Tighten or replace valve parts
22. Loose belts Worn or loose drive belts Tighten or replace drive belts
23. Damaged hoses Wear and tear or exposure to heat and chemicals Replace damaged hoses
24. Water in air-lines Accumulation of moisture in the air tank or a malfunctioning drain valve Drain the air tank regularly, repair or replace the drain valve
25. Compressor won’t build pressure Clogged air filter, malfunctioning regulator, or worn compressor parts Clean the air compressor air filter or replace it,
21. Compressor runs hot Dirty or clogged cooling system, low oil level, worn piston rings or bearings Clean or replace the cooling system, check and refill the oil level, and replace worn parts
22. Excessive oil consumption Worn piston rings, dirty air filter, oil leaks Replace worn rings, clean or replace air filter, fix oil leaks
23. Compressor not building enough pressure Leaking valves or gaskets, worn piston rings, damaged cylinder walls Replace valves or gaskets, replace worn rings, repair or replace the cylinder
24. Excessive noise Loose components, worn bearings, damaged crankshaft Tighten loose components, replace worn bearings, repair or replace crankshaft
25. Oil in compressed air Worn piston rings, damaged cylinder walls, damaged oil seals Replace worn rings, repair or replace cylinders, replace damaged seals
26. Compressor starts and stops frequently Incorrect pressure setting, malfunctioning pressure switch, air leaks Adjust pressure setting, replace faulty pressure switch, fix air leaks
27. Compressed air has water High humidity, condensation in air tanks, damaged drain valve Use the air dryer, drain tanks regularly, and replace the damaged valve
28. Compressor trips circuit breaker Electrical overload, malfunctioning motor, damaged wiring Reduce electrical load, replace faulty motor, repair or replace wiring
29. Compressor won’t start Faulty pressure switch, tripped thermal overload, electrical problems Replace faulty pressure switch, reset thermal overload, fix electrical issues
30. Compressor vibrates excessively Loose or unbalanced components, worn bearings, damaged crankshaft Tighten loose components, replace worn bearings, repair or replace crankshaft


What is a troubleshooting chart for an air compressor?

A troubleshooting chart for air compressors is a tool used by repairmen to identify and isolate compressor problems. Typical formats have an enumerated list of issues and their respective fixes.

Why is using an air compressor troubleshooting chart important?

A troubleshooting chart can help you locate the root of an air compressor issue and solve it more quickly and effectively. Also, it might assist you in avoiding costly errors and further harming your compressor.

What kinds of issues may an air compressor troubleshooting chart identify?

Troubleshooting charts for air compressors can assist in identifying a variety of problems, including low pressure, leaks, overheating, and odd noises.

Can I fix issues with an air compressor on my own using a troubleshooting chart?

It depends on the problem at hand, your level of skill, and both. While some problems can be quickly resolved by following the instructions in a troubleshooting chart, others could need more specialized knowledge and abilities. The best course of action is to speak with a trained technician if you’re unclear about how to resolve an issue with your air compressor.

How frequently should I maintain my air compressor?

A number of variables, including the type of compressor, how it is used, and the environment in which it functions, will affect how frequently maintenance is performed. Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to carry out routine inspections and maintenance at least once a year, or more regularly if your compressor is heavily utilized or operates in a hazardous environment.

What safety measures must I follow when using an air compressor?

When working with an air compressor, always use the proper safety equipment, such as safety glasses and ear protection. Verify that the compressor is grounded properly and that all safety precautions are in place and functioning as intended. Never operate your compressor above the maximum recommended pressure, and always use and maintain it in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

Final Words

Overall, a compressed air system is vital to the smooth running of numerous manufacturing procedures, and its upkeep is of the utmost importance. You may reduce downtime, maintenance costs, and equipment replacement by fixing typical issues including inadequate cooling or lubrication, sloppy upkeep and operation, and inappropriate application of the system.