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All you need to Know about Air Compressor Parts

Air Compressor Dryer Installation Diagram

Air Compressor Dryer Installation Diagram

Air compressors are very important power sources for many businesses globally, and they have different applications. From 24hr daily operation in a factory to start and stop use in an auto repair shop or other industrial settings, the process of pressurizing air is an ordinary business operation, and it needs to be efficient.

Air compressors are designed to work for long and hard depending on your environment, so it’s very important to keep the internal workings of your air supply system well maintained to help maintain your business productivity and profits. Every air compressor part has a specific function. If those parts aren’t appropriately managed, it can affect air supply, energy consumption, and the frequency of service.

Air Compressor Dryer Installation Diagram

Many air compressors parts have a maintenance schedule and have procedures for handling each specific maintenance interval.  Below are some general ideas to keep in mind and follow them when it comes to maintaining an air compressor.

  • Scheduled maintenance allows for baseline measurements to be taken at regular intervals.
  • Filters are often designed specifically for certain pressure ranges.
  • Many units come with specific maintenance plans that must be directly followed, as instructed.
  • Be sure the power is ‘off’ before beginning a maintenance plan.
  • Make sure pressure inside the unit is exhausted and that any source of power to the unit is locked out as well.
  • Maintenance often involves a basic check of the compressor and accessories.
  • Unusual vibrations or noises should be acknowledged during these checks.
  • Drain excessive moisture from the tank drain valve

Failure to use preventive maintenance can lead to product contamination and reduce production quality. A compressor whose pressure output is off by even 4 PSI can cost thousands of dollars in energy costs every year.  Be sure to follow the compressor’s maintenance instructions to the letter meticulously. Not all parts can be found on all types of compressors.

Compressor Air filters

Air Compressor Air Filter

A compressor air filter can be found in two places in your pressurized air system; at the air intake of your air compressor and in the compressed air piping, between your compressor and your consumers

Compressor Air filters can be found in two places in your pressured air system: at the air-intake of your air compressor (filtering incoming air) and in the compressed-air piping, between your compressor and your air consumers (filtering compressed air).

Air intake filters are designed to protect the compressor from any dust and dirt which it might be such in the intake air filter is the most vital filter on your compressor

Dust is the main enemy of your compressor since it will cause wear to the compressor element, valves, and other parts. It will also save your compressor oil, oil separator, oil filters, and all other moving parts

The compressor air filter should be cleaned and/or replaced regularly. Typically replacing the air intake filter is part of the standers service routine. In very dusty or dirty environments, it’s better to clean them once in a while.

Air compressor pressure switch

The pressure switch is one of the most crucial parts of your air compressor. The pressure switch tells your compressor when to stop and when to start. It is also the part that will break down quite often

The air compressor pressure switch on small and older air compressors is an entirely mechanical device.

Buying an air compressor pressure switch

When buying a replacement air pressure switch, it is advisable to purchase one that will fit your air compressor and also Keep in mind the points mentioned above under ‘models and options.’

Air compressor oil filter

Air compressor oil filters are generally found on bigger compressors, like oil-injected screw compressors. Typically, an air compressor oil filter looks like a can with openings on one side. But be aware: not all air compressor oil filters are the same.

All you need to Know about Air Compressor Parts

Air compressor oil

It is important to use the right air compressor oil for your air compressor. This is true for both rotary screw compressors and reciprocating piston compressors.

Compressor oil used for lubrication but also has few essential functions like:

  • It removes heat from the compression (number 1 function)
  • It works as sealing to prevent air leakage (which would lower the efficiency of the compressor)
  • It lubricates all moving parts.
  • It’s used to cool essential parts of the compressor element.

Compressors and the oil can get extremely hot. The average maximum outlet temperature of a rotary screw compressor element is set at 120 degrees Celsius, but when it gets hotter, the compressor will shut down automatically. Hoover, the oil should be able to survive these kinds of temperatures.

Oil failure

If you operate your compressor at a very high temperature for long, the oil will form a thin layer on the entire inside of your compressor. When this happens to your oil-cooler, it won’t be able to cool the oil as effectively as it used to, and this can lead to an automatic shutdown. However, if this happens to your air compressor, the contaminated parts, especially the poor oil-cooler, need to be chemically cleaned or replaced with new ones. However, it is very important to prevent this. Don’t let your air compressor run too hot, and use the right kind of oil. Special compressor oil is designed to resist these high temperatures.

Air compressor unloader valve

The air compressor unloader valve is a small but vital part of the reciprocating piston compressor. It blows off the pressure inside the discharge pipe when the air compressor stops. There is also another type of unloader valve, which can be found at the inlet of the rotary screw compressors, also known as the inlet valve or loading valve.

Unloading valve problems.

A common problem with the unloading valve is that the valve always stays open, or the opposite. If the unloader does not open anymore, you will get startup problems; plus, you will not hear the typical blow-down of compressed air when the compressor stops. However, if the unloader stays open, you will hear a continuous leak of compressed air. It usually sounds like the pressure switch is leaking since the unloader is often located on/near or inside the pressure switch.

Other air compressor parts

1. Air compressor valves

Air compressors have different valves, all with a different purpose. Here are the most important ones:

2. Inlet/outlet valves

Inlet/outlet valves on reciprocating piston compressors regulate the intake and exhaust of the piston chamber. They also make sure that the air can’t flow back. The pressure difference in the system mostly operates them

3. Air Compressor Check Valves

The Air compressor check valve can be found in various locations. There are at least two check valves in screw air compressors. Are also located between your reciprocating compressor and the air receiver. This is to make sure that when the compressor is stopped, no air can flow back into the compressor.

4. Compressor cooler

Every compressor has some sort of cooler to get rid of excess heat. Small air compressors (the reciprocating piston type) have the simplest form of the cooler: fins around the discharge pipe.

The bigger air compressor typically has one cooler. The oil cooler will cool the oil before it is returned to the compressor element. The aftercooler will cool the compressed air before it comes out of the compressor.

5. Air compressor Motors

Electromotors power most stationery and small portable air compressors. Diesel engines usually power bigger portable compressors. However, very big compressors in large plants are sometimes powered by steam turbines. Some motors are connected to the compressor with direct coupling. Others are connected using pulleys and belts.

6. Air compressor pulley

The pulley on the air compressors and motor are usually not of the same diameters. There is a drive ration that allows the compressor to turn slower than electro motor but with great torque. When buying new pulleys, make sure that the outer size and the size of the shaft are the same.

What is the Difference Between Piston and Rotary

Know the Parts of Your Air Compressor

This list of air compressor parts will help you become more familiar with the functions of your air compressor:


The actuators create a rotary or linear movement and are what outputs the compressed air to the tools or processes that pressurized air for power. Any leaks or other shortages in the air movement coming into the actuator will lead to a decrease of the air force coming out. Small particles that find their way into the air will cause blockages in the actuator as well as many other parts of your compressor


Industrial class bearings ensure a long operating life for the most demanding operations. Quality bearings will provide you peace of mind as your air compressor operates at high revolutions with high pressure. Bearing depend highly on the proper lubrication of the right viscosity


Belt tension should always be checked every 40 hours for wear and operation. While working to drive the operation of your compressor, the belts need to be of the highest quality and fit properly to avoid inconveniences.


Valve bumpers surround the valves for added protection from accidental contact. This small shielding part should be replaced when needed to prevent the more expensive replacement of valves.


Bushings create some space between moving parts to avoid friction, that is used in the internal components of the air compressor, your bushings offer better protection from serious breakdowns, minimizing side-to-side play.

Connecting Rods

This device is used to move the piston up and down in the crankcase, and the connecting rods take a heavy workload. They are a highly durable part of your air compressor. You may never need to replace connecting rods unless proper maintenance is not performed regularly on your system.

Gaskets & Seals

For dependable airflow and to maintain intended pressure, your compressor should be airtight with quality seals and gaskets. There are various sections of your air compressor that have gaskets and seals valve plate to head gasket, crankcase gasket, intercooler gasket, oil seal, and the shaft seal, to name a few. These small parts keep contaminates out and the pressurized air inside.


The gauge on your air compressor is mainly used to measures the pressure of the air in your tank. Your gauge is informative in many ways, especially for daily checks to ensure your pressure is at the intended level so that you can attend to any inadequacy as soon as possible.


Typically, your air compressor has an electric motor to run the operation of compressing air. Different compressors require different sizes of motors (horsepower). If you’re replacing a worn-out motor, be sure to have the recommended replacement motor installed.


They are used for a tight seal; O-rings help keep your system running at peak performance.

Piston Rings and Rods

These parts are under high pressure when in motion and require a lubricant-free of contaminants and the highest quality. Fluid analysis of your fluid in a rotary screw compressor is important for the overall function of your air compressor and to detect possible issues early. It’s also especially important to use the best oil to prevent premature wearing of your piston rings that prevent excessive oil carryover.


With proper operation, these rotors have an extremely long life.


Adding supporting spacers in the installation of your air compressor may be necessary. These metal shims will provide you with the needed support for a reliable system.


Many components of your compressor use spring for the mechanics of the system. Determine when to replace springs with regular service checks.


Allowing air in and out, draining water, and regulating airflow, valves are a very important component that requires regular inspection during your interval checks and regular servicing.

Small air compressor oil change


Air compressors have many parts that have to be serviced regularly to avoid damages. When you own an air compressor or consider buying one, it’s handy when you know a little about the different air compressor parts.

Even when you don’t want to do any service or repair on the machine by yourself, knowing just a little bit about the various part can help a lot when buying an air-compressor or when talking to the repair guy.

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  • Shandong Sollant Machinery Manufacturing Co., Ltd.

    12 years of professional export experience. Our twin-screw air compressor is very popular in the international market.

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