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Scroll compressors are incredible machines in the right application.  Oil-free, quiet, efficient, and easy to maintain, scroll compressors are found in many different industrial applications for good reason.

The scroll design has a minimal number of moving parts, which helps ensure a long operating life, but because of their quiet low profile, and light maintenance needs, service can often get neglected on these units. 

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Scroll Air Compressor Maintenance Tips

A scroll compressor (also known as a spiral compressor, scroll vacuum pump or scroll pump) is a medical air compressor that is used for compressing air or for refrigeration. Visit our Scroll Air Compressors Explained for more information about them!

When it comes to their maintenance, you should prioritise the following key maintenance tasks:

  • Belts get changed– Tension belts in a scroll compressor should be changed just in case they are worn out. This ensures high performance during regular use.
  • Belt tension checked – Belts should be tightened regularly.  This ensures that the components are in place and thus the general output is enhanced.
  • Tip seals should be changed after every 10,000 hours – you should ensure that the seals receive regular and proper flow of liquid for lubrication purposes through internal pump passages.  
  • Bearings should be greased – During assembly, bearings should be greased with quality grease type “EP 3.” In order for the pump to be in good working condition, the bearings should be lubricated regularly to avoid overheating.
  • Replacement of tip seals – Tip seals should be regularly replaced, since their faces and the elastic parts suffer damages that may go beyond repair.
  • Replacement of O-rings, seals and exhaust value.
  • Regular pump monitoring and maintenance, which is vital since it prevents pump failure and unexpected tool downtime.

Scroll Air Compressor Maintenance Checklist Example

I have picked out this example of maintenance guidelines, or a checklist, provided by Quincy in their scroll air compressor manual!

Scheduled preventative maintenance and inspection are essential for continuous optimum system performance of an air compressor, and a greater life span. The following are a general requirement and schedule checklist for routine maintenance on a scroll air compressor.

Daily Maintenance

  1. Check readings on compressor display
  2. Compressors with integrated air receivers or integrated refrigerant dryers should be checked for condensate and drained
  3. drain the condensate out of receiver mounted compressors daily
  4. Check the dew point of the integrated dryer

Quarterly or Every 500 Hours Maintenance

  1. Inspect the air filters
  2. Inspect the prefilter mats on the cooling air intake openings (if fitted)
  3. Checked for cleanness and damage. Clean if dirty, replace if damaged.
  4. Clean the compressor and check the air cooler. If necessary, clean by air jet.

Every 6 Months Maintenance

  1. Manually operate the safety valve.
  2. Check for any damaged wiring or loose connections.
  3. Check for air leaks.
  4. Compressors with integrated dryers, if dirty, brush or blow off the finned surface of the dryer’s condenser. Inspect and clean the electronic drain. Clean the drain filter by opening the manual drain.

Yearly or Every 2500 Hours Maintenance

  1. Replace the air inlet filters and the prefilter mats on the cooling air intake openings.
  2. Test the safety valve.
  3. Have temperature protection and motor overload testing.
  4. Check tension and condition of the V-belts

Every 2 Years or 5000 Hours Maintenance

  1. Replace the V-belts
  2. Replace check valve

The maintenance must be done according to the number of running hours or according to the running period, whichever comes first. It must be done more frequently in a dusty environment.

Greasing of the bearings of the compressor element must be done with special grease, a special grease gun, and according to a specific procedure. In high ambient conditions, the bearings must be greased more frequently: for every 9 °F increase above 86 °F, the maintenance interval should be reduced by 30 %.

In extremely dry conditions, where the relative humidity is below 15 %, the tip seals and dust seals need to be replaced more frequently.

The Importance of Proper Preventative Maintenance Checks

Carrying out regular preventive maintenance can help your scroll air compressor and all the inline equipment to run at their optimum performance and efficiency. If you were to let your rotary vane air compressor wear down, and eventually shut down, then so would your projects.

Regular preventative maintenance can also help you to discover any issues before they’re able to propagate into more serious long-term damage. Each compressor manufacturer will provide specific maintenance schedules and maintenance kits that are recommended for your model’s proper service; like in the checklist example provided above.

Following a regular maintenance schedule will not only reduce service calls but will also ensure that you have an efficient rotary vane air compressor performance, along with extending the life of your scroll air compressor. Read our article on Air Compressor Maintenance – How to Guide – Preventative & Ongoing here to learn more!

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Do scroll compressors use oil?

Scroll compressors use absolutely no oil, offering the capability that they can provide high quality and clean air to your applications. This is why they are often referred to as medical compressors, because they can commonly be found in medical applications where clean air is a must.

Are scroll compressors reliable?

Yes, scroll compressors are often seen as more reliable and efficient alternatives to reciprocaitng air compressors. This has led to their increased use within HVAC systems and medical applications.


If you have any questions about scroll air compressor maintenance, please leave a comment below, with a photo if applicable, so that someone can help you!