What are common preventative maintenance schedules and checklists for air compressors?

Common preventive maintenance for air compressors revolve around detecting and fixing leaks and maintaining proper pressure to minimize energy usage. Additionally, although air compressors are a capital investment for businesses, the larger ongoing costs are energy bills.

What is an air compressor?

Air compressors play a huge role in commercial and industrial facilities. They run machines and tools, exchange clean air for contaminated air, and power material handling equipment. In fact, just about every industry in the country uses air compressors in some application.

They are either centrifugal or positive displacement. In a centrifugal compressor, gas enters the center and accelerates outward. The two main kinds of positive displacement compressors are reciprocating and rotary screw, both of which incorporate rotors, pistons or cylinders.


Most preventive maintenance tasks associated with air compressors have to do with conserving energy. In some cases, the lifetime energy costs of running an air compressor can be 20 times the initial purchase price. Being diligent about checking for leaks, pressure and temperature variances, and debris means you could reduce energy bills by one-third. In addition, finding ways to reuse waste heat can further reduce energy bills.

Tip: By relying on a CMMS, you can schedule regular checks for leakage and performance to save energy and money.

Preventive Maintenance Checklist

Maintenance technicians should spend some time each day checking for leaks and verifying temperatures and pressures are within proper ranges. Also, drain condensate daily.

On a weekly basis, inspect pressure relief valves, belt tension, and belt alignment. Then, check air-intake components for leakage, which typically occurs through worn hoses, broken air valves or cylinder packing.

Next, check, test, and change oil according to equipment specifications on a monthly basis. When changing the oil, it’s a good time to lubricate all moving components as well.

Finally, inspect, repair, or replace couplings, seals, airline filters, and mountings annually.

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