How to Use Air Compressors

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Time was when air compressors were only used in garages for mechanics and devoted hobby crafters. Today, anyone can own a compressor from the many types sold for contractors, and do-it-yourself home users. People now have their own.

These can be purchased alone using your own pneumatic tools or bought with kits of tools, tips, hoses, and more cool stuff.

How to Use Air Compressors

The air compressor machine converts atmospheric air into a condensed compressed form of natural air under pressure. Compressors do three air conversions: air intake, air pressurization, and air release.

All steel tank air compressors release high-pressure air in spurts or controlled bursts. The air flow is measured in ACFM (Actual Cubic Feet per Minute). The output of each machine is measured in HP (horsepower). The air compressor machines are adjusted for inlet conditions and some can store pressurized air in tanks and chambers for using later.

The compressor’s motor pumps air into the storage tank under pressure maintaining it to power the hand-tools being used.

Compressors are used for air brushing, sanders, nailers, framing, trimming, finishing, pressure washing, hardwood flooring, roofing guns, grinding equipment, paint guns, inflating tires, balls, kids’ floatables, staplers, air mattresses, lug nuts, and much more.

Benefits operating pneumatic tools with an air compressor is that it isn’t necessary to have tools with its own motor. You gain by powering up an assortment of tools with the single air compressor’s motor. Compressors provide more power to your tools than single handheld tools alone.

Some of the best manufacturers are PORTER-CABLE®, DeWALT®, Makita®, and a great professional model, Industrial Air Contractor®.

Many compressors are the piston auto-style using oil for larger tools, and the diaphragm-style compressor that does not use oil for home users for nailers, spray painting, and other small tools.

Check out the fundamental ways to use air compressors typical for all models.

  • Read your User’s Manual right off the bat. How to use an air compressor is easy.
  • Plug in the compressor on a flat surface with the power switch off. If yours has a 3-prong grounded plug end, insert it into an electrical outlet that has the ground round hole on the receptacle. Do not override it using an adapter, since it will not be grounded using the compressor. If yours is 2-prong, plug into a regular polarized 2-slot receptacle.
  • If yours is the piston-type using oil, add oil that sometimes comes with the compressor into the crankcase. Be sure to use the correct oil stated in the User’s Manual. Check the oil level looking into the sight gauge adding oil to the full mark on the gauge. Always check the oil after using the compressor each time.
  • Be sure the drain valDrain valveve is closed or tighten it in a clockwise direction. Turn the switch on and let the compressor run for a few minutes. Depending on your compressor type, make sure the pressure gets to 100 to 115 PSI then shuts off automatically.
  • Drain the moisture after each use from the air tank by removing the drain valve on the tank’s bottom. After all water is drained, replace the drain valve and tighten.
  • The tool you are using must match the air control valve max air pressure allowed. Turn the air control valve until the pressure gauge is the same as for the tool.
  • Attach the air hose being sure it will reach your work space. Some brands will have a quick-connect hose fitting to attach to the tank. If not, wrap the threaded end of the hose with 2 layers of Teflon® tape threading the hose onto the fitting near the air pressure gauge and tighten clockwise with the correct wrench size.
  • Using the quick-connect fitting, attach your hand tool to the opposite end of the air hose. Push it onto the air intake firmly on the tool first pulling back on the spring-loaded hose collar. Disconnect the hand tool by pulling back on the collar to pull the tool off the air hose.

This will keep your air compressor up and running for decades when properly maintained and used properly.

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