Compressed air systems are the backbone of many industrial applications. They provide consistent responsive power to end-use applications.

It’s one thing being dependent on compressed air, but the fear of replacement costs drive many companies and individuals to invest on repairs that may prove costlier in the long run.

Here’s our guide on when to either repair or replace an air compressor system!

Table of Contents

Fix or Replace an Air Compressor

With so many variables at play within compressed air systems, it is very easy for them to become damaged and need fixing or replacing. Due to this complex nature, assessing the problems may be a confusing process.

The best way to gauge whether your problem requires the air compressor system to be replaced or repaired is expressing it as a mathematical problem, at what point does the money saved from a new air compressor system offset the cost of purchasing it?

If you were to have an air compressor for 10 years, it’s predicted that the initial cost of purchasing the air compressor only accounts for 10-15% of the overall costs in that time frame. It’s thereafter predicted that a whopping 75% of your costs of owning a compressed air system comes in the form of electricity bills.

When assessing the value of your air compressor, and whether you should fix or replace it. You must keep the total cost of ownership in mind, not just the initial cost, I’m talking about every kWh that’s being paid for in order to power your system.

Though the cost of repairing air compressor may be less than buying a replacement, you must ponder whether you’re keeping a system working that will actually cost you MORE in the long run as it’ll operate far less efficiently.

As compressors age, the cost of repairs simultaneously increases. You should heavily consider any repair costs that cost over 50% of the cost of a comparable replacement.

Consider the operational inefficiencies and thereafter costs of older air compressors, you may be wasting as much money on energy inefficiency costs as you would on buying a replacement air compressor.

Air Compressor Troubleshooting

While there are many good reasons to forego a costly repair and instead opt for a replacement, it’s important to start with troubleshooting. This can help you avoid the costs of repairing or replacing your air compressor.

Some general instructions on fixing will follow, please visit our Air Compressor Troubleshooting page to navigate all our existing problems, causes and possible solutions readily available on our site!

General Instructions on Fixing

There tend to be, more often than not, three main DIY repairs that you should be able to repair yourself. These three repairs are based around the three core functions of an air compressor:

  • They need power
  • They must maintain air pressure
  • Control the flow of compressed air

If your repairs seem to complex, please leave it to a professional. You do not want to risk putting your equipment or yourself in danger.

Electrical Issues

If you’re having a problem with power, start with the most obvious check – is the compressor fully plugged in and the switch is turned on? If the air compressor still is not turning on, there should be a black or red reset button on the side of the motor that you can switch to reset the circuit breaker.

If this still does not restore power, check the power cord for any potential damage and ensure it is in good condition. If it checks out, try plugging in the compressor into a different socket. Ensure to check if the circuit breaker is tripped for the plug that you’re currently using, flip it off and then back on again.

If it still persists to not work, test the power outlet by plugging in another device and seeing if that works. If the plug works for that item, remove any extension cords that you’re using between the compressor and the plug (though, you should not be doing this!)

If none of these checks work, you should seek professional help! Please visit our Electrical Troubleshooting Compressors page for further troubleshooting aid.

Leaking Problems

If you’re certain you have a leak within your air compressor system, begin by unplugging all of your air tools and hoses connected to the system and then start the compressor.

Create a solution of soapy water and pour or spray it onto and around each and every fitting on the air compressor system. Look out for bubbles forming, if you have any then this is an indication of where your leak is.

To repair this, turn the compressor off and release it of all its air pressure in the tank. Remove the fittings where the bubbles are forming and apply teflon tape or dope on the threads of the fittings.

Now, put the fittings back on and tighten them securely. Turn the compressor on and allow it to charge and build up air pressure. Use the soapy water to test the fitting again to check for any bubbles. If bubbles are still prevalent, discharge the air compressor and apply more Teflon tape or dope.

No Pressure Problems

There are a host of reasons as to why your air compressor won’t be building pressure. It could be down to any of the following reasons:

  • Compressor intake valve failing
  • Compressor pump pressure valve failing
  • Compressor gasket failure
  • Compressor piston seal failure
  • Tank check valve is compromised

For further information on why your air compressor is not building pressure and how to check if it is any of the above reasons please visit our troubleshooting page – Why An Air Compressor Won’t Build Pressure & How To Fix A Compressor Not Building Pressure

If you’re trying to increase your air pressure, so that the air compressor kicks on sooner before the pressure drops too low. You can adjust the lower adjustment screw on the pressure switch by following these 4 simplified steps:

  1. Remove the plastic cover over the pressure limiter switch
  2. Locate the two limiter switch . Tun the upper limit adjustment screw to raise the limit
  3. Turn the compressor on and adjust the screw until you reach your desired pressure on the gauge. To maintain this pressure- turn the lower limiter adjustment screw clockwise to raise it so that the compressor kicks on sooner.
  4. Connect your tool and charge the compressor, test the limits you have set and make adjustments if necessary.

It is important to ensure you consult the manual provided by the manufacturer or contact them directly to find out what your upper pressure limits are so that you do not exceed its safety limits.

Who Fixes Air Compressors

If you cannot troubleshoot and repair the air compressor yourself, then you should seek professional help! There are multiple air compressor repair shops located around the U.S. and Canada and these are (but are not limited to):

These are just but a few repair shops dotted around, all it takes is a quick internet search to find your nearest air compressor repair store!

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Can an air compressor be repaired?

Yes, and more often than not they tend to be rather simple. Depending on the damage/fault on the air compressor you should seek troubleshooting advice available on our site.

If this doesn’t solve your problem, pop into an air compressor repair store and seek professional advice!

How much does it cost to fix an air compressor?

An air compressor repair can cost anything from $0 up to thousands! This completely depends on what needs repairing and how much labor time must be spent on the repair to fix it.

You must heavily consider any repair costs that cost over 50% of the cost of a comparable replacement.

Consider the operational inefficiencies and thereafter costs of older air compressors, you may be wasting as much money on energy inefficiency costs as you would on buying a replacement air compressor.

How do you troubleshoot an air compressor?

It’s actually not that difficult to repair air compressors. They have few moving parts and are very reliable. Parts are readily available for most compressors, and with some basic air compressor motor troubleshooting, you should be able to nail down what’s wrong on your own.

Please visit our Air Compressor Troubleshooting, Solutions, Common Problems & Causes page for your specific issues!

How do I fix my electric air compressor?

If you’re having a problem with power – is the compressor fully plugged in and the switch is turned on?
If this still does not restore power, check the power cord for any potential damage and ensure it is in good operating condition.

Try plugging in the compressor into a different socket. If it still persists to not work, test the power outlet by plugging in another device and seeing if that works.

Please visit our Electrical Troubleshooting Compressors page for further information on how to fix your electric air compressor!