The importance of air compressor preventive maintenance

To preserve the condition of your air compressor, preventive maintenance is crucial. A consistent maintenance program can spare you from the expense, inconvenience, and downtime that can come along with air compression damage or failure.

The right vendor should make it easy to get maintenance, with a schedule ready for your facility based on its environment, run time, and more. 

What is preventative air compressor maintenance?

south carolina team

Standard air compressor maintenance involves updating the hardware, changing out the lubricant, and other related tasks. Although standard maintenance is essential to your air compressor’s function, it doesn’t necessarily prevent future damage. 

Preventive maintenance, on the other hand, focuses on identifying problems before they start to impact the entire system. During a preventive maintenance appointment, your technician will inspect all of the main system components to pinpoint any concerns. See what’s included in preventive maintenance.

What are the benefits of preventive air compressor maintenance


Emergency repairs are generally more expensive than preventive maintenance. By the time emergency repairs are needed, you may need to shut down your facility (meaning costly downtime) as well as hire an experienced technician. The repairs themselves may be more costly, too, such as parts that may be difficult to acquire.

By identifying potential problems before they require an emergency repair appointment, you can avoid a major, unexpected expense. 


Preventive air compressor maintenance can help extend the life expectancy of your air compressor. Given that replacing an entire air compressor system is often expensive and disruptive to daily operations, a longer lifespan translates to long-term savings. 

Avoid downtime

Preventive maintenance can help you avoid production coming to an abrupt halt and workers who are unproductive. Although a maintenance appointment may seem like downtime, unforeseen downtime is far more costly.

A sudden failure of your air compressor system could completely halt your day-to-day operations. Unlike a preventative maintenance appointment, which you can schedule at your convenience, you won’t have time to prepare for this downtime. For many businesses, the cost of a complete air compressor breakdown is unmanageable. 

Energy efficiency

Over time, air compressors may start to run at a lower capacity than usual or require more energy to reach the required output. Preventive air compressor maintenance will help keep you aware of any issues that are compromising the system’s energy efficiency. You can then amend these issues to improve the system’s efficiency (and save on energy bills). 

Schedule your maintenance today!

All of the above may seem far-fetched, but the Elevated Industrial Solutions team has seen this happen. One customer didn’t keep up with their maintenance plan and called us when it was an emergency. (Read the case study.)

Elevated Industrial Solutions has preventive maintenance plans for your business in Northern Kentucky, Southern Ohio, Northern Ohio, Eastern Indiana, Michigan, and South Carolina. Let us help you find the plan that works for your facility and team.

How to increase your industrial air compressor’s life expectancy

An industrial air compressor is a sizable investment in your business. So, you undoubtedly want it to last as long as possible and avoid spending extra cash on a premature replacement. Plus, you don’t want your compressed air system to fail suddenly, shutting down your production and business for hours while it’s repaired (assuming it can be).  

Luckily, there are several ways you can increase the life expectancy of your industrial air compressor. Our best tips, from our experienced service technicians, include the following.

Regularly change the filters

Air compressors draw in dust, dirt, and debris with every use. And the dirtier your environment, such as a concrete plant, the more debris there is in every use! As a result, air filters can become clogged quite quickly. When the air filter is clogged, your system will have to work harder to operate normally. This results in increased wear and tear, as well as higher energy bills. 

Generally, you should change an industrial air compressor’s filter once per week to prevent wear and tear. 

Ensure proper ventilation

common compressed air maintenance mistakes

Industrial air compressors generate a great deal of heat during operation. Overheating is a common problem, increasing the risk of damage and diminishing your compressed air system’s life expectancy. 

To help prevent overheating, ensure that the room housing the compressor is properly ventilated. Ventilation also reduces the dust and other particles in the air, causing the filters to clog less quickly. 

Check oil levels

Unless you have oil-free compressors or equipment, industrial air compressors must be properly oiled to operate correctly. If the system doesn’t have enough oil, it could incur damage. Make sure to check the system’s oil level before you use it. If it’s below halfway up, top up the oil before running the compressor. 

Schedule maintenance and don’t put off repairs

No matter how minor a repair or maintenance task may be, it could make a big difference in your system’s overall life expectancy. So, don’t delay scheduling maintenance or repairs for your air compressor system. Promptly completing these repairs and maintenance activities will save you money in the long run. 

Get a service technician you trust

Some technicians are available 24 x 7, 365 days a year. They’re there when you need them to quickly get your compressor up and running. Good technicians are also available for maintenance, covering the items on this list, to ensure everything is running at peak efficiency as per your specs. Great companies even provide a warranty with maintenance built into the plan. That warranty is peace of mind that your resources don’t have to spend time worrying about the basics because our technicians will do that for you.

Elevated Industrial Solutions provides maintenance and emergency repair services to help you keep your industrial air compressor in top condition. We have maintenance plans and warranty options to ensure your facility is always up and running. If you’re in South Carolina, Michigan, southern Ohio, or northern Ohio, contact us so we can help you get the maximum return on investment (ROI) for your compressed air system.

This is why you don’t use PVC

PVC is lightweight, inexpensive, and easy to purchase at any local building supply store, making it all the more attractive when it comes to selecting piping materials for a compressed air system.

Using PVC, however, has its risks and in certain areas, it may not be code compliant. It also carries a static charge which can lead to spontaneous combustion in certain dust-filled environments, it’s subject to bursting (yes bursting), and the adhesives used in installation are not compatible with all types of compressor oils. Despite the safety issues, many small shops and even some larger plants continue to use it.

A couple of years back we were installing a compressor at a medical device manufacturer in Colorado, and we noted the plant’s wide use of PVC piping. I asked the shop manager (who was three weeks from retiring) whether they’d had any issues with PVC cracking or bursting under pressure. He said yes, many times. “Pieces fly across the room.” He would just replace them. “No one’s been hurt so far…”

In a room with 4 huge, expensive injection molding machines and many employees, he saw no need to change. Different strokes, I guess.

Here are two more examples:

1. The remains from a 2” PVC pipe burst at a manufacturing plant in Texas. Thankfully no injuries, but some unscheduled changing of underwear.

2. In a small customer paint shop in Texas, a large section of PVC pipe burst during normal operation. Again, there were no injuries.

If you have PVC pipe in your shop or factory, make sure it’s pressure rated and regularly check it for signs of cracking.

For those of you considering using PVC pipe, I urge you not to—it’s really not worth the risk.

7 deadly sins of compressed air

When putting together a compressed air system, temptation is all around you. You want the best system, but having the best doesn’t mean grabbing whatever looks good. Build a system that meets your needs, not your wants. Focusing on your system’s needs and avoiding these seven deadly sins will keep you from needing to confess when your utility bill arrives.

1. Lust

Don’t lust after a variable-frequency drive compressor. Many utilities offer rebates for a VFD, but they are not always the best solution. Sellers often make blanket claims of huge savings, but if your compressor will run fully loaded more than 75% of the time, savings are very limited. Keep in mind that they are more expensive and have drive losses which need to be considered. If you have an application where the load varies between 40-80% of compressor capacity, then a VFD makes sense. Do the math before you buy one to make sure your system will benefit from using this technology.

2. Gluttony

Don’t be a glutton with your air treatment. Dry air sounds great, but there is such a thing as overkill. And overkill is expensive. This is especially true for larger, industrial compressed air systems supplying multiple processes. Take a hard look at your system and determine what level of filtration and dew point each segment needs. If you need a desiccant dryer for only part of your process, then size it for that part only. You’ll not only save by buying smaller capacity equipment, but also on pressure drop, air loss, and energy.

3. Greed

Don’t be greedy for air by oversizing your system. Bigger is not always better. Oversizing means you are paying for more energy than you need to. In some cases, if the compressor is too large for the demand, it may not come up to temperature, causing excess condensation. The machine will cycle on and off, which puts unnecessary wear and tear on the motor, valves, and seals. Figure out the amount of air you need for your system and select a compressor that will meet it. And, if you determine your load varies widely, consider using a VFD.

4. Sloth

Don’t be lazy attending to leaks. Leaks occur and reoccur and need to be continually monitored and repaired. The US Department of Energy estimates that as much as half of all compressed air is wasted, with an average of 25% lost to leaks. I’ve seen annual leak losses range from $3,000 for smaller systems and up to $600,000 for larger ones. Check for leaks and repair them once you find them. You’ll be putting money back on your bottom line every time you do.

5. Wrath

Beware the wrath of poorly controlled compressors. If you notice pressure spikes, disruptions in your air supply, or compressors cycling on and off, that means the compressors need to be controlled with a master system controller. A master controller monitors system demand and selects the right combination of units to meet it in the most efficient way possible. Don’t leave them to their own devices. Keep them under control.

6. Envy

Don’t be envious of other plants with the newest technology simply because it is new. Choose what is best for your application. Some installations are using the latest in remote monitoring and taking advantage of cloud-based solutions. Good for them. Don’t let the latest and greatest distract you from your system’s needs. Stay focused on what is right for your installation.

7. Pride

Don’t be so proud of your system that you fail to monitor its changing needs. You’ve worked hard to put together an efficient system and in the process, you’ve saved a lot of money in energy costs. Don’t rest on your laurels. A good way to stay on top of your system is by doing an annual compressed air audit. This will help you see trends and react to any changes that might be happening in your demand profile.

When putting together a compressed air system, temptation is all around you. You want the best system, but having the best doesn’t mean grabbing whatever looks good. Build a system that meets your needs, not your wants. Focusing on your system’s needs and avoiding these seven deadly sins will keep you from needing to confess when your utility bill arrives.

Embrace humility regarding your compressed air system

At Elevated Industrial Solutions, we have the expertise to help your air compressors or compressed air system reach peak efficiency. With air audits, maintenance, and a host of other tools, we can evaluate how to improve your system or whether it needs improvement.