How to Adjust an Air Compressor Regulator

Air compressor regulator
(Last Updated On: August 31, 2020)

An air compressor is an incredibly useful device that you should invest in if you want to pump high-pressure to fill gas cylinders, power pneumatic tools or HVAC control systems. You can also use them for your household applications, such as car tires, your balls, or bike tiers. Today, more people are currently buying these tools today than ever. Unfortunately, some individuals who do not understand how to adjust their air compressor regulators, which are also known as air control valves, are not able to get the most out of it. They struggle to match the flow of air to the demand of their air tools. For you to be able to reduce or increase the input pressure of air to reach the desired level, have all the best materials, tools, and devices at hand, take the right precautions, and follow the approved procedures.

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Things You Need

Air compressor

It may appear a no-brainer to state that you need an air compressor. But the truth is that some people do not know that they cannot do anything if they do not have the best compressors.

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There are different sizes of air compressors. They are also suited for different uses. As such, before you buy one, consider the space where you will station or store it, the size of the tank, the source of power, and the projects you will be working on to avoid last-minute troubles.

Air Hose

You will also need a quality air hose to be able to conduct air under pressure.

You connect it to your air pump before you start the process of adjusting your air pressure regulator. The best one can make a significant difference in how quickly you complete your tasks.


Air Tools

Discover the air tools that you need for your next project. They are popular due to their lightweight, ease-of-use, and portability.

These tools are powered by the compressed air that the compressor supplies. As you use them to speed up your work, you will be able to make out when you need to adjust the air regulator to be able to achieve the desired result.

Remember, once you hit the pressure that the manufacturer recommends, it may be necessary that you adjust to your own settings for the most favorable level of efficiency and safety.

Important Precautions

Before you start adjusting your air compressor regulator, be sure you a have taken the right precautions to ensure optimal use. In particular, make the adjustments in small increments and ¼-inch turns. This way, you will prevent the drastic fluctuation of air pressure from hurting your compressor system and tools.

Moreover, use well-maintained air compressors to be on the safest side. In many cases, we see accidents occur when people use malfunctioned air compressors. If possible, use new ones. Older compressors often draw a lot of pressure on their initial start-up.

If you have hooked it up to a ground fault circuit interrupt, the risks become more severe than you ever imagined. At the same time, if the compressor requires oil as per the specifications of the manufacturer and you fail to act accordingly; you may have a similar bad experience as well. While the best way out is to solve all the possible causes of problems, making the adjustments in small increment can also help to mitigate them.

As such, buy high-quality air compressors, maintain them, and follow the right procedure before you start the adjustment process to diminish the problems.

Easy Steps to Adjust Your Regulator

Once you are satisfied that you have all the right tools and you have sufficiently mitigated the risk of accidents as we have seen above, embark on the actual process of adjusting your compressor regulator.

Plug Compressor into Electrical Socket

Since air compressors use electricity, choose the appropriate electrical socket and plug it into it. For you to make this decision, consider that electrical cord that your machine came with. Many of them are equipped with a 3-prong electrical cord.

Plug Compressor into Electrical Socket

A few others come with a 4-prong electrical cord. You should use the former with a standard 110 outlet. This means a 3-prong electrical cord is best for home projects. If your air compressor is equipped with a 4-prong electrical cord, use it for 220 outlets. You will likely find these nowhere other than in garages and workshops. In this regard, you need to know beforehand that the type of work that you want to do should determine your choice of air compressor and the electrical sockets.

Prepare and Power On Safely

Before you power on your air compressor, do the necessary preparations. The nature of groundwork will depend on the type of air compressor that you have.

If you have an electric compressor, use the power button to power it on. Many are dependent on oil. If yours is one of them, ensure the amount of oil in the machine is enough to make your air compressor to work correctly. Without this, your device will not have a tight seal and will be prone to getting very hot. If you have the type that runs on gas, be sure you have some gasoline on hand and then turn on the power button.

Wait for the Compressor to Fill

You will see the larger pressure gauge on the side of the tank. Watch it and wait for the needle to stop moving. At this point, the air inside has hit the maximum limit. Depending on the unit capacity, your proper air pressure (PSI) will range from between 100 and over 200 per square inches. Use the second small one that is near the hose to know the exact amount of pressure, or the airflow (CFM), that is in the hose. The display will be static at this point, which is okay.

Ascertain the Suitability of Your Tools

Consider the air tools you are planning to use with this unit as soon as it reaches full pressure. For you to make the best decision, check the manufacturer guide. It will give you essential information on the types of air tools that you should use with the unit and how to ensure optimum output.

If you do not have the manufacturer guide, carefully check the air tools. These essential pieces of information are usually on these tools. Look for letters or stickers on their underside, especially near the handle. If you cannot find it there, you must look for your owner’s manual or contact the manufacturer.

The rationale for doing all these is to be sure you know the exact amount of pressure your tool requires. For example, if you learn that it functions with a maximum of 90 PSA, ensure the hose pressure remains at between 75 and 85 PSI. This is done for nothing but safety reasons.

Since every tool has a different rating, do not assume that this one rate will apply across the board. Be sure you adjust the pressure accordingly every time you switch tools. Do not ignore any slight differences.

If you are using a spray gun, 6CFM will be enough. A Die Grinder will require not less than 8 CFM. Even though these two tools are close in CFM levels, you must avoid making the common but dangerous decision. Use the right pressure. This most likely perfectly illustrates to you the degree of seriousness of the need to switch the levels of air pressure every time you change the air tool that you ate using.

Connect Tool, Air Hose, and the Compressor

Once you have filled your tank with the desired amount of air, connect your air tool to the air hose. Move on and connect the air hose to your air compressor as well.

You are also free to insert any of your special attachments on the tip of your hose at this particular juncture. As you do all these, however, be sure you securely fasten them. There may be no better way to ensure nothing is damaged other than this.

Adjust the Regulator

This is the time when you need to adjust your air pressure regulator. You have to follow all the above processes to be able to reach here. Check if you regulator has a circular knob to adjust the pressure. Most of them have this feature.

Additionally, they have a system that locks them. If this is what you have to deal with, start by pulling this lock feature out to unlock. Once you are done, push it in to lock.

air compressor regulator
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For you to raise the air pressure that is flowing to the air hose, unlock the knob and turn it clockwise. Keep your eye of the gauge, and you will see the pressure increase. You can do the reverse as well. Turn the knob counterclockwise, and if you pay special attention to the smaller pressure gauge on the hose, you will again see the pressure decline. Continue doing this until you are confident that it shows that the pressure had reached the level that you desire.

Remember, you will act depending on the needs you have at hand. All your focus will have to be on adjusting your pressure regulator to match the PSI of the tool that you are using. Another important thing that you will need to do when you have finished all these is push the knob in to lock in the right place securely.

Since the reason for regulating your air compressor regulator is to be able to operate your power tool efficiently and safely, you are now free to do precisely that. Begin working with it while air is still in the tank. As you use it, the pressure in the tank will keep dropping and also begin to refill automatically. This means, in most cases, you will not need to adjust your air compressor regulator again until you switch to a different air tool just as we have shortly.

However, that is not to say you should never keep checking your pressure gauge. This is particularly true if your tool suddenly appears to stop operating. In case you are using a small tank that cannot refill fast enough to accommodate your large tools, you should pay more particular attention than ever. In this case, what you need to do is waiting for a moment for the pressure to rebuild and carry on with whatever you were doing.

How to Shut Off Securely

For you to be able to adjust your air compressor regulator and complete the entire process without any problems, you need to know how to turn it off safely too.

Open the air-tank-drain valve on the underside once you are done. After that, twist the valve counterclockwise. Consequently, you should twist it clockwise until there is no sound of airflow. Use pliers if you cannot do so with your bare hand. This way, you will allow the pressurized air to blow out the collected moisture and entirely drain the condensation.

At the same time, drain the pressure by turning off the compressor. To do this, twist the pressure regulator knob to shut off the air supply of the hose and wait for the pressure to leave the system after turning off the compressor. Speed up the draining process by pulling the pressure relief valve. Once you have done this, you have successfully adjusted your air compressor regulator, used it as you deem fit, and turned it off safely for future use.

Final Thoughts

An air compressor is a worthwhile investment because you can use it for a wide range of projects and tools. However, it may seem to be a complicated machine to use. But once you learn how to adjust its regulator, that stops to be the case to you. The critical point is that you must know the amount of pressure that each of your air tools use and adjust your machine’s pressure to match their PSI. Whenever you are looking to do all this, be sure to follow the steps above quick steps for a safe and accurate job.
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