Can air compressors overheat? Let us dig in! An air compressor is a device designed to convert power into potential energy stored in pressurized air. It forces more and more air into a storage tank, increasing pressure. However, one commonly known cause of failing air compressor is overheating. Well, an overheated air compressor could be due to both internal and external factors.
Ideally, there comes a time in the system cycle where the air becomes hot due to the processes involved, but it swiftly cools before reaching the endpoint. If the air becomes too hot for the compressor to handle, it could be that something is indeed wrong with the device.
So if you notice that your air compressor is getting hot and bothered hindering its performance, it could be overheating. This brings us to the question, why do air compressors overheat? In a reciprocating air compressor, for instance, air temperatures often drop from 50 degrees Fahrenheit to 75 degrees Fahrenheit across the roughly six inches of travel between the discharge port and discharge line.
The refrigerant oil and adjacent mechanisms will suffer if the discharge port temperature exceeds 300 degrees Fahrenheit. To avoid this, always ensure that the temperature at the discharge line never exceeds 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
Here are the common causes of air compressor overheating
Excess Discharge Pressure
This can be caused by an undersized condenser, dirty condensing coils, and blockage of condenser air, leading to an inconsistent condenser fan, and an overcharging refrigerant. To avoid overheating and other related problems, always ensure you regularly assess the condensing parts, even if the air compressor has a built-in discharge monitor.
Level and Condition of Oil
Another potential cause of air compressor overheating is the level and condition of oil. Well, oil plays a significant role in maintaining a proficient working temperature of an air compressor. In fact, temperatures can significantly increase if the oil level is too low. However, if you notice a burnt oil smell in the air, make it a priority to check your oil level.
Low Suction Pressure
Low suction pressure causes a high compression ratio, which leads to an overheating air compressor. Maintaining a high suction pressure requires regular look-out for different signs like loosely fitted components, a drop in pressure, loss of refrigerant, and defective metering devices.
Overheating Thermal Valve
A thermal valve plays a crucial role in causing your air compressor to overheat. Always ensure you have a new thermal valve at hand just in case it’s the leading cause of overheating. In fact, you can as well compare your new thermal valve to the existing one to know if it’s the actual cause of the overheating.
If you frequently use your air compressor, it’s bound to experience wear and tear over time. An air compressor tends to work harder as internal components get older. This, in a way, results in an increased temperature and overheating. By regularly checking your air compressor performance, you can certainly keep the right eye to its efficacy.
How do you know your air compressor is overheating?
- Circuit Breaker Tripping
A circuit breaker regulates current flow in an air compressor. It stops the flow when needed as a protective measure for the performance and quality of the machine. If it starts acting irregularly and trips at ostensibly random moments, it could be a larger sign that there’s a problem inside the air compressor.
- Compressor Fails to Turn On
If your air compressor fails to start up as expected, it could be that there’s something wrong with it and could result in a heating problem. If it stalls during startup and ultimately takes longer durations to operate, it could be due to heat-degraded internal mechanisms.
- Accelerated Wear
A more serious matter at hand is when your air compressor starts to wear down at an accelerated pace. If your machine exhibits performance issues as soon as it was serviced, it could be that it wasn’t appropriately elevated.
Things to do to prevent your air compressor from overheating
Preventing your air compressor from overheating is an essential aspect. For the health of your air compressor, here are the best ways to achieve this:
- Focus on improving internal and external ventilation
Focusing on improving your ventilation is the first step towards solving overheating problems. This can be done by ensuring that each vent is inspected and that they are satisfactory for your air compressor’s demands.
You can always inquire from your maintenance expert the proper ventilation dimensions for your system’s size and the operations at hand. With this, you’ll be a step higher towards preventing your air compressor from overheating.
Further, you can also consider the external factors of your device. If your device is in a hot area, consider arranging space in a more suitable location. Make it a priority to ensure your vents are not only clean but have enough room for air circulation.
- Regularly monitor oil and lubrication levels.
You can keep your air compressor healthy through regular checks on oil and lubrication levels. Regular monitoring ensures your air compressor has enough oil to handle the demands of your operations. You can as well check the viscosity for surety purposes. With this, you’ll know if the oil is rendered too watery or thin, which would be a sign of excess heat within the system.
- Keep the Compressor Parts Up-To-Date
Ideally, wants change, and the demands of your operations also evolve. An air compressor that you purchased one year ago might not necessarily be in its initial state. Keeping the compressor parts up-to-date is an excellent way of preventing your compressor from overheating.
Things to do with an air compressor that needs repair
Upon realizing that your air compressor is overheating, it would be essential to consider ways to help your air compressor stay in shape. The longer you wait, the costlier the consequences. It can even explode. You may consider:
- Finding a reliable service provider
Finding a reliable service provider is an excellent way of maximizing the performance of your air compressor. Your device can be adequately evaluated to determine the main issue, either internally or externally, by a licensed service specialist. The specialist may also examine the system layout to determine if the setup or connections need to be changed. Through this, you can expect reliable performance from your compressor year in or out.
- Attempt to repair it yourself
If you run many operations in a firm, many details may demand your attention. As such, it becomes difficult to notice the finer details that involve your air compressor’s functions and features. Since you own the device, it could be quite tempting to handle the maintenance yourself.
Air compressors are complex machines that rely on multiple and exact features. Even if you follow instructions well, your operations could be slightly off. It’s only appropriate to have a licensed service specialist, with years of experience inspect your compressor and perform the needed maintenance. With the right air compressor service specialist, you can rely on increased productivity.
There are vast factors that can contribute to your air compressor overheating. Undertaking regular maintenance and inspecting potential issues is crucial. Once you notice your air compressor is overheating, contact your service provider. Don’t wait for costly and time-consuming consequences. Maintain your air compressor and expect cleaner air to your air tools!