It sometimes isn’t more than a year or two after you purchase a low cost, DIY air compressor that, if there were any spare parts to be had in the first place, the supply of spare parts dries up. That leaves you high and dry for spare parts if your compressor pump has valve problems since typically that means that they will have to be replaced.
How do you identify if your air compressor is having valve issues?
There are typically two valves on a single cylinder air compressor, though they can be configured in many ways.
Some compressors have two valve fingers, attached separately to the innards of the pump. One is for the intake of air into the cylinder and the other controls the air flow from the cylinder to the tank. To replace these valves you remove the bolt and replace the individual valve.
Other smaller compressors have a valve plate, which can have two or more fingers cut from a single plate. To replace these valves you replace the whole valve plate.
Regardless of the setup on your air compressor, you cannot see the valves from the outside. You can, however, identify some compressor valve problems from the outside of the pump.
Identify Compressor Pump Valve Problems
You will know if your compressor is developing problems when it starts to take longer and longer to get to the cut out point where the compressor stops with a full tank.
You’ll even recognize problems are developing with the pump even sooner if your compressor runs and runs, but does not ever get the tank pressure up high enough to shut the compressor down when the tank is full.
Either of these indicate a problem with generating air in the compressor tank, and that points to valves, gaskets or cylinder rings as being the culprit.
Check the intake port
One of the first things to check if the air compressor is taking too long to fill is the intake port.
The intake port is where the air compressor pulls air in. It’s typically on the side at the top of the compressor pump. It’s easiest to check if you remove the air filter housing that contains the filter that cleans the air entering the compressor pump.
With the filter housing removed, and the compressor running, carefully place a hand near, but not over, the intake hole. What you are checking for is air coming back out of the hole. The should be a one-way air path, with air being pulled into the hole by the cycling of the compressor pump.
If you feel air wafting or blowing out of the intake hole while the compressor is running, that’s a good indicator that the intake valve is compromised and it will mean it is time to disassemble the pump to replace whatever valve configuration that particular pump has.
Can’t find replacement compressor valve?
Unfortunately, many of the lower cost air compressors on the market have no supply chain for spare parts. Some do, however, so start you search by googling valve for xxxx compressor pump, where the xxxx is the make AND model of your air compressor.
It is not unusual for one compressor manufacturer to build compressors for many different brand outlets. When looking for a compressor valve or valve plate, also google other, similar in tank and motor HP, brands of compressors. You may find that the valve plate for your compressor is identical to that of another brand, and will work well in your compressor.
If you cannot find a valve plate, you may, if you choose to repair the compressor rather than replace it, make your own. Here is a page on this site about crafting your own compressor valve plate.
Compressor pump valve problems? Leave a question as a comment and be sure to identify the make and model of your compressor. You’ll likely get some help from other compressor users.