How to Look After Your Compressor Valve
Compressors are great tools which can be used for a variety of tasks around the home or at work. But making sure a compressor valve is in perfect working order can be a challenge. Through regular maintenance, compressors can work for years without any frustrating breakdowns. Knowing how to look after a compressor valve and where to find compressor replacement parts is key in making sure your unit stays operational. In this article, we provide some basic information about different compressors, some common issues that can occur, and how to maintain a working compressor valve.
What is a Compressor Valve?
You might have one but that doesn’t mean you know exactly how it works, so what is a compressor valve? Simply put, a compressor is a mechanical system which is used for various applications.
Difference Between a Pump and a Compressor
There are two ways to move fluid or air through a system and that is via a pump or compressor valve. They have different operating methods which make them better for different tasks. Compressors are generally used for moving gases while pumps can move both liquid and gas. Most compressors work by using a system of positive displacement. This is where air is forced into the central chamber and the volume of that area is decreased, and thus compresses the air inside which is sealed in. Pumps use force to push the air or liquid through the unit itself and are generally powered by an external motor.
Types of Compressors and How They Work
There are many different varieties of compressor but the basic mechanics remain the same.
Rotary compressor – This compressor is usually used in home refrigerators and freezers. They have one vane in the body which is sealed against a rotor.
Centrifugal compressor – This compressor revolves at high speed and the compression is achieved by the application of this centrifugal force. You can use multi-stage compressors to increase the amount of output pressure.
Reciprocating compressor – This compressor has pistons which move in cylinders. There are a couple of types of these units, open and hermetic.
How to Regularly Maintain Your Compressor Valve
It is really important to carry out regular maintenance on your compressor to stop it breaking down. There are some great step by step guides online and you should make sure to follow these to ensure that you don’t cause damage or do anything unsafe. A good rule of thumb is to check over your compressor valve once a month if you are using it a lot. Just have a good visual inspection, give it a clean and ensure it has everything it needs (oil, for example). Check for dents or rust along the body of the unit itself and look along the entire length of the power cable for any damage.
Common Problems with Compressors
There are a lot of different types of compressors, as we mentioned above, but a lot of the problems can be grouped into categories and the most common issues can crop up on any model. If your compressor valve does become faulty or stop working, it can be very time consuming. So the best way to ensure you remain productive is to keep track of your compressor and look after it. You might notice your compressor making a noise, it could be difficult to switch on or frequently cut out. If any of these things happen it usually means you have an issue. Before you take it apart or call in an engineer, just have a look through some basic things that could have gone wrong. Make sure your compressor:
- Is connected to a power supply (you’d be surprised how often this catches people out)
- Reset the controls
- Check over the fan visually to check for blockages
- Clear any debris or dirt out from the air filter
If you’ve checked these things and your compressor unit is still not working, then it could be caused by one of these issues.
- Pressure problems
If your compressor isn’t staying at a stable pressure or isn’t able to get to the right pressure it could reduce power, or in extreme cases, stop it working altogether. Check the pressure gauges and see if they are at the correct level.
- Burned out motor
If there is any damage to the motor component you might find the compressor stops working. There can be damage to wiring which will cause a short circuit. Check all along the length of the electric cable for damage.
- Not turning on at all
Check the fuse in your plug. It is a simple error but a blown fuse will mean no power is getting into your compressor and it won’t switch on.
What Compressor Parts may Need Replacing?
As described above, the most important thing is to discover and understand the problem first. Once you have found the issue you may need to buy replacement compressor valve parts. This could be a filter, electric cabling, rotor, pistons, bearings or valves.
These things will affect your compressor’s performance:
- Speed of rotation
- Pressure at suction
- Pressure at discharge and
- Type of refrigerant being used
Lifespan of a Compressor Valve
Compressors, if looked after well, can last for decades. The lifespan isn’t set in stone and it depends on many factors like how it is used, where it is used and how often it is maintained. There are no guidelines or any advice which says you should stop using a compressor providing all the parts are in good working order. Make sure you store it in a cool, dry place and keep it away from a lot of dirt and debris as this can clog up the delicate working parts. Put in new valves, filters and any other parts as they wear down but overall these units are built to last.
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