Every air compressor has at least one air intake port. This is where air from around the air compressor is sucked in when the compressor is working and that port needs a compressor air intake filter.
The intake port allows free air to be taken into the compressor compression chamber, to be compressed into the compressor tank or the plant air mains.
Is the air that surrounds your air compressor pristine – squeaky clean?
Or is it like the air around most air compressors, full of crud like air-borne dirt, saw dust, metal swarf, moisture, maybe mold… how many impurities in the air can you think of?
None of these will do your air compressor any good when they are sucked into the compressor along with the free air. Further, much of this crud could end up in the air stream and from there into your air lines as it contaminates the air in the compressor tank or air lines.
In order to keep this crud out of your air compressor, pretty much all but the smallest air compressor’s intake ports are routinely equipped with some sort of compressor air intake filter. It’s purpose is to filter the intake air and t pass only filtered air to the compression area of the compressor.
And, just like the air filter in the automobile or truck, the intake filter will become contaminated over time.
If left unchecked and uncleaned long enough, the contaminates plug up the air paths in the intake air filter, forcing the compressor to work harder and harder to intake enough air to allow efficient air compression. This will cost dollars in terms of greater energy cost and more frequent compressor maintenance.
If plugged solidly enough, this simple device could cause your compressor to go off on safety thermal cut out. The air compressor may have to run for an extended period to get the tank pressure to the cut out pressure level, and during this lengthy run time the compressor motor could overheat and shut down the compressor. Maybe in the middle of doing an important jog, like spray painting, perhaps?
Does your air compressor come equipped with an air intake filter? If so, next time you need to use compressed air, consider removing this intake filter and check it.
If it appears plugged and it cannot be cleaned, replace it.. You will ease the work load of the compressor, and reduce your energy costs at the same time.
Do you have a question about your air compressor intake filter? Post it below and I, or another visitor to this site, will respond.