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Maintaining and Caring for Your Air Compressor

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If you use pneumatic woodworking tools in your wood shop, you need a quality air compressor to power those tools. Because most air compressors need little day-to-day maintenance, they are easy to overlook. However, there are some items you should keep your eye on to make sure your pneumatic woodworking tools have a proper supply of air.
The first, most obvious statement is to read and follow all of the operating and maintenance steps outlined in your air compressor's operating manual. Your compressor's warranty may be voided if you do not follow the steps that the manufacturer outlines.

Most modern air compressors appropriate for all but the largest wood shops are piston-style, oil free air compressors, so you likely won't need to maintain an oil level in your unit. However, you should consult your unit's operating manual to be certain.

Daily Maintenance:

You should drain moisture from your air compressor's tanks on a daily basis. Bleed most of the air pressure from the tanks before opening the drain valves, allowing all moisture to drain from the tanks.

Weekly Maintenance:

Clean the air intake vents, and remove any obstructions. If your air compressor utilizes an air filter, clean the air filter weekly, and replace when necessary.

Monthly Maintenance:

Check the operation of the safety release valve. It should open and relieve air pressure and re-seat properly when closed with no leaks. Also check your electrical cords and hoses for any damage. Do not use your compressor if your electrical cord is damaged.

Bi-Yearly Maintenance:

Check all gauges for correct readings and all fittings for any leaks. Tighten connectors if needed.

Portable Air Compressor Care:

If you have a portable, gas-powered air compressor, check your engine oil level regularly, and change the oil as recommended. Also clean your engine's air filter at least once a week.
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