An air compressor is a useful pneumatic device that you can find at almost any workshop out there. Its versatility also makes it valuable for other industries — you’ll find air compressors on gas stations, workshops, manufacturing plants, and even agriculture! It can do a wide range of functions as well.
An air compressor can do as little as inflating your wheels or as much as powering the entire workshop. That’s why whether you have it for your garage or an industrial setting, a workman should learn how to use an air compressor.
Using air compressors properly requires some familiarization or training. If you’re unfamiliar with the tool, keep reading to see our guide on how to use them!
The first thing that you need to learn is how to prepare the air compressor for use. Here are the steps:
1. Check oil levels.
Many models of compressors, mostly older ones, use oil to run properly, unlike newer models that are both silent and oil-free. To check if there’s enough, look for the dipstick and check if the oil reaches up to about ⅔ of the stick. If it doesn’t, fill it up with oil before using the compressor.
2. Connect the hose to regulator valve
Find the regulator valve — it is usually located near a pressure gauge — and connect the hose to it. The pointy end of the hose is what you push into the valve to properly connect them.
3. Attach the tool to the hose
If you’re using the compressor to power a tool, you should attach it to the hose at this time. You can connect them by twisting each end together until it locks. If you’re using the compressor to pump a tire, simply attach the coupler to the tire’s valve.
4. Plug the compressor into an outlet
A grounded three-pronged outlet would be best for safety reasons. As much as possible, plug the compressor into an outlet directly instead of using an extension cord. Also, double-check if the power button is turned off before plugging the compressor.
5. Put on the proper PPE
As with any other power tool, the air compressor can cause injury if handled poorly. It is always advisable to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) like polycarbonate goggles, gloves, and closed-toe boots to keep yourself safe. If your air compressor is noisy, you can also consider wearing earmuffs.
When everything is ready, you can start using the air compressor. Here’s how:
1. Test the safety valve
The safety valve, usually a brown plug, should be located near the hose line. Try pulling on the safety valve and see if any air escapes. If you hear the hissing of escaping air, that means it’s working. But if you successfully pull it out and secure it back into place, it should be fine even if no air escapes.
2. Flip the switch and let the tank pressurize
If the safety valve is working, you can turn the air compressor on. The tank will immediately start pressurizing. Keep an eye on the larger pressure gauge to see when the tank has reached its maximum pressure. When the needle stops moving, you’re good to go. Note that the smaller pressure gauge reads the pressure that goes into the hose, so it shouldn’t be moving for now.
3. Match the pressure needed to use the tool
If you’re using the compressor for a tool, find out the required pressure needed to use it. There is usually a sticker or engraving on the tool’s underside that indicates its pressure specifications. If the pressure’s maximum pressure is 90 PSI, then the safe setting is at 75 – 85 PSI.
For a vehicle’s tires, the pressure is often found on a sticker on the driver’s door or the owner’s manual. The average tire pressure for most passenger cars is 32 – 35 PSI.
You can adjust the pressure by turning the regulator knob slowly counterclockwise.
4. Use the tool as long as there is air in the tank
You can now operate the tool, or whatever you’re using the compressor for, as long as there is air in the tank. Expect the pressure in the tank to drop every time you use the tool, but it should refill automatically. Also, remember that you only need to make adjustments if you change your tool as each tool has different pressure requirements.
If you have an air compressor in your workshop, it’s best to put it to use. Just make sure that you read this guide and learn how to use an air compressor to avoid any injuries or damage.
Another way to ensure that you get the most out of your air compressor is by getting the best quality ones in the first place. At Tolsen, we provide only the best power tools in the Philippines, air compressors included! Check out our products through this link, or contact us for any inquiries!