How to Install a Portable Air Compressor?

In this contemporary era where speed and performance matter a great deal, portable air compressors have become a requisite for most chores at the workplace and at home. Unlike the other types of compressors, the portable models are designed for ease of maneuverability and transportation.

They are lighter in weight and are integrated into a roll-cage, with some featuring wheels, rather than being fixed permanently onto a wall or surface like the other air compressors.

However, they are less powerful than the stationary models given their smaller sizes. With functions ranging from inflating vehicle tires to powering pneumatic tools, there is a need for everyone to have some basic knowledge on how to install and operate these compressors. This guide explains the necessary procedures in the installation of a portable air compressor.

1. Check the Safety Valve.

The safety valve is intended to automatically release pressure from the air compressor’s cylinder when it builds up to unsafe levels. It is always safer to ensure that the safety valve is working before pumping up the compressor.

This is done by pulling it a little, and if some air is released, then it is in good working condition and you are free to switch it on so that the motor can pump more air into the gas cylinder. Some portable air compressors don’t come with safety valves installed. In this case, you will need to simply screw it onto its correct position on the compressor as indicated in the manual. Knowing how to do this may also come in handy if you need to replace a faulty safety valve.

2. Connect the Pressure Gauge.

Most air compressors come with 2 pressure gauges installed. For those with separate pressure gauges not installed, installation is as easy as simply screwing them into the corresponding connectors as indicated in the product manual. The first pressure gauge indicates the air pressure level of the cylinder.

The second pressure gauge is more adjacent to the hose and it indicates the pressure of the air flowing into the hose and into the tools. It can also be used as a pressure regulator of the air flowing into the hose or tools as per its PSI rating. Most pressure gauges have two plugs that fit perfectly into the coupler outlets of the compressor, making installation a breeze.

3. Connect the Filter.

While some people may look at it as a luxury, it does a really important job at keeping your tools safe. It captures moisture from the air passing through it, thus preventing water from getting into the tools. Just like the pressure gauge, the filter connects to adjacent parts via plug and coupler.

You only need to snap or screw them together. In instances where the fitting is done by screwing, you will need to tighten the connections with a wrench. It is also important to use thread seal tape, commonly referred to as Teflon tape between the connectors to prevent air leakages when using the air compressor. In most cases, you will have to purchase your own filter, as they are not included in most air compressors.

4. Fit the Hose.

After you have installed the filter, you have to connect the hose that will direct the air to the tools you want to use. The pressure rating of the hose should correspond to, or be higher than the PSI rating of the tools you plan on using. It should also be long enough to allow easier maneuverability and reach of areas where you want to use your tools. When you purchase an air compressor hose from the industrial store, it usually comes with two connector plugs or couplers on both ends. With these, you will easily fit the first end into the coupler or plug of the filter, and the other end into the inlet of the pneumatic tools you want to use. If there are any connections that need to be screwed together, you must wrap the Teflon tape around its treads before bolting the connectors together.

5. Refill the Cylinder.

To determine whether the cylinder needs to be refilled, you should check the pressure reading of the first pressure gauge. The safest maximum reading for most portable compressors is 125 PSI. If the reading is 95 PSI and below, then it is definitely time to refill. To do this, you only need to plug in the portable air compressor, turn electricity on and pull or press the compressor’s switch depending on the instructions provided in the user manual. Once the switch has been turned on, the motor will start running and pump air into the cylinder, filling it up to maximum levels. If the air pressure exceeds 125 PSI, it will turn off and some air will be automatically released from the safety valve to safe levels.

6. Hook Up Your Tools.

Most pneumatic tools are designed with air inlets that fit exactly into the end of the hose. You must ensure that that the tool’s air inlet is compatible with the hose connector. For some tools, installation involves snapping its plug inlet into the hose’s coupler or vice versa. For others, it involves screwing the tool’s air inlet into the hose connector.

The most important thing to remember is that if there is screwing involved, then you must use Teflon tape to prevent air leakages when using the tools. Some of the most common pneumatic tools used include wheel inflators, paint sprayers and pneumatic drills among others.

Extra Tips.

Just like any other tools, taking good care of your portable air compressor is the most important way to ensure durability and effective functioning. The first tip for a properly working air compressor is ensuring that all its parts are connected correctly. Since the compressed air tends to have some moisture in it after some use, some water is collected at the bottom of the cylinder.

This means that you should drain it via the drain valve at the bottom from time to time. Even with the filter, some moisture still finds its way into the tools. To prevent moisture damage to your pneumatic tools, professionals and experienced users advise that you inject some oil into the air inlets of the tools. Read more information about other air commpresson on  Mentoolbox.

This oil coats the inside of all areas that will be exposed to the air, thus preventing rusting, corrosion or any other damage caused by water. With these installation and maintenance tips, you will surely enjoy durability and more effective functioning of your portable air compressor and pneumatic tools.


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Written by Parick

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