For a time, you could only find air compressors in the hands of expert engineers and mechanics, people that earned their living from the use of power tools. But then their design changed.
Air compressors became smaller, safer, and more versatile. As a result, they became more commonplace in residential garages and workshops. Today, most people understand the importance of keeping an air compressor on hand.
They make pneumatic tools so much easier to use. Even carpenters and builders have adopted them. With the right compressor, you can drive a nail into a wall or spray paint a room with very little effort.
But the proliferation of air compressors has created a problem. The fact that so many inexperienced workers are using them means that the opportunities for accidents to occur have multiplied.
Pneumatic tools powered by air compressors are dangerous. And if you do not approach the air compression installation process with care and consideration, you could suffer serious harm.
What Are Air Compressors?
These are devices that store compressed air in a steel tank. When triggered, they release this air, using it to operate various tools. They are compatible with everything from air wrenches and sanders to grinding equipment and nailers.
How Do Air Compressors Work?
Air compressors have an electric motor that works in tandem with a compressor unit to pump air into a storage tank under pressure. The compressor unit keeps the pressure high enough to power your tools.
The air reaches your tools using the air hoses to which they are connected. When you activate the compressor, its motor will kick in as the air in the tank drops. Once the tank pressure reaches the limit, the motor will shut off.
Why Do People Use Air Compressors?
Air compressors are advantageous because you can use a single unit to power a wide variety of tools. The right air compressor can give you access to more power than a hand-held electrical tool.
At this point, your air compressor should be ready to go. But if you still have questions, this video should help.
How to Use an Air Compressor?
Once you have your air compressor setup in garage, you can start using it. Fortunately, this process isn’t that difficult:
This should be your very first step. Ensure your safety. Air compressors are dangerous, especially when you attach them to pneumatic tools. Before proceeding, first cover yourself in protective gear.
That includes safety goggles (or an eye guard) to defend against flying debris, a hard hat and boots to protect your head and feet in case your tools malfunction, and some thick gloves that will lessen the blow if the air compressor explodes for any reason.
It would also behoove you to wear some protection for your ears such as earplugs. If you haven’t made the effort to silence them, air compressors can ruin your hearing. If you are exposed to the noise they generate for long periods, you will suffer the consequences in the long term.
Don’t use the compressor without first testing the safety valve. Look for the safety valve. It is found near the hose line. Just keep an eye out for a copper-colored plugaround this area. Pull it towards you to see if the air escapes.
You should hear a hiss, proving that the valve is working. If you don’t hear anything, don’t panic. If the valve can be pulled out and pushed back in, it can still be relied upon to do its job.
3) Activating the Compressor
You can go ahead and flip the switch to turn your unit on. It should produce some sort of buzzing sound to prove that it is working. Don’t do anything just yet. The tank needs to pressurize. You can track its progress by looking at the pressure gauge.
As you might have guessed, it is found on the side of the tank. You will know that the tank has reached the maximum pressure once the needle on the gauge stops moving.
Make sure you are looking at the right gauge. Some people become distracted with the smaller gauge that is concerned with the air pressure in the hose. Ignore this one. Its needle won’t stop moving, not at this point.
4) Investigating the tools
If you did your homework, then you already know the pressure your tools need. If you did not, most tools are labeled. If you can’t find the information on the tool, read the manual. It will tell you the PSI the tool needs to function efficiently.
Once you know the pressure, you can use the pressure regulator knob on the air compressor to manipulate the amount of air flowing into the hose. The goal is to adjust the pressure of the compressor so that it matches the tool’s PSI requirements.
This is where the smaller pressure gauge enters the picture. Watch it while you make the adjustments. Stop moving the knob once the gauge tells you that you have achieved the relevant pressure.
5) Using your Tools
Once you successfully make the adjustments and pressurized air is in the hose, you can start using the tool you attached. Don’t be alarmed if the pressure drops after you start using the tool.
This is supposed to happen. Also, the pressure will automatically refill itself. No further adjustments to the pressure are needed at this stage. You can start performing whatever task the tool was meant to do.
6) Shutting Down
Once you are finished, look for the air tank drain valve. It is typically found on the underside of the tank. By twisting it, you will allow the compressor to expunge all the moisture that collected. You need to do this whenever you use the compressor.
After this, shut the hose’s air supply off. Turn the compressor off. Allow the pressure to drain out of the system by leaving the compressor alone for a moment.
At this point, you can pull the unit’s plug out of the outlet. Don’t forget to remove the hose. Put the air compressor away. Don’t just leave it lying there.
Find a dry place to store it. If the compressor doesn’t get frequent use, try to perform basic maintenance on it all the same. That includes replacing the oil every year (for oil-filled units).
If you still have some lingering questions, this might clarify some things