Troubleshooting An Air Compressor That Leaks Air

An air compressor that leaks air is a frustrating and potentially expensive problem. Not only does it mean that you may or may not have air when you need it, but it will also drive up the operating costs of your compressor, as it has to turn on more frequently to make up for the leak. If you would like to learn more about addressing this common problem, read on. This article will teach you how to troubleshoot a leaky air compressor.

Identify The Problem

It doesn't exactly take a genius to identify an air compressor that is leaking air. That said, many people find themselves living with this problem—yet still fail to recognize it. The clearest indication that you're dealing with this problem is that the pressure gauge begins to drop soon after you shut down the compressor. If the unit remains plugged in, before long the pressure switch, triggered by the pressure drop, will start up the compressor once more.

Hose Leaks

If you are lucky, you will be able to easily identify the leak either by hearing it or by feeling it with your fingers. In many cases, however, things won't work out quite this easily. Thus it is best to make your next step verifying that the hose is not the source of the problem. This is pretty easy to determine: simply disconnect the air line and wait a while to see if your tank is still losing pressure. If not, you can be relatively sure that you are dealing with a hole or some other problem in your hose.

Fitting Leaks

If your hose checks out, then the next best bet is that the leak is coming from one of the many fittings on your compressor. You can easily determine which one is causing the problem with the help of a simple mixture of dish soap and water. Simply brush a bit of this mixture onto all of the compressor's connection points. The idea is simple: if an air leak is present, it will cause the soapy mixture to form bubbles. Often, tightening a problematic fitting is all it takes to resolve the issue.

Unloader Valve

If your soap test has revealed that the leak point is the unloader valve, then tightening up the fitting may not be enough to resolve the problem. Leaks at this location generally indicate that the internal check valve has failed to close all the way. In order to resolve this issue, it will be necessary to empty the compressor, remove the check valve, and either clean or replace it. For best results, hire a professional from a company like Compressor-Pump & Service, Inc. to help you with this operation.