Compressed Air Leaks: Find ‘em and fix ‘em

Over time air compressors, just like the rest of us, begin to wear out. As various air compressor parts become worn or damaged the compressor can begin to leak air. If left unattended air leaks can worsen, causing your air compressor to over-work and ultimately shorten its working life. If your air compressor is beginning to lose pressure or won’t maintain pressure, it’s time to start looking for leaks.

All that’s needed is a trigger-action spray-bottle (the sort of thing kitchen cleaner comes in) filled with soapy water. Spray any areas of your compressor where you suspect air is leaking with soapy water and turn the compressor on – the soapy water should make it easy to spot any escaping air. The main culprits to check for air leaks are hoses, couplings and valves. Often, accumulated dirt in valves can lead to air leaks, so if it’s possible to disassemble a valve, thoroughly clean it and put it back this may well resolve your air leak problem.

The alternative is to replace faulty air compressor fittings or accessories. If the cause of a compressor air leak is rust penetrating from the inside of the air tank and creating one or more ‘pinholes’ the chances are it’s not worth trying to repair and could even be potentially dangerous to do so. If rust holes are visible on one part of the air tank it’s likely that there is more damage that you can’t see inside, but that is weakening the tank overall; your safest bet is to buy a replacement air tank or treat yourself to that shiny new air compressor you’ve always wanted.

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