So you’ve got a problem, the compressor tank is full, the regulator is set for say 120 PSI, yet no air comes out of your air line. You had connected the air line to the air tool, pulled the trigger on the air tool, and almost immediately, the air tool died from air starvation.
One of our readers just had this problem. I reviewed for them the typical flow of air from the compressor tank to the air tool. Compressed air from the tank typically flows from a hard nipple on the tank. It wasn’t likely that that flow was obstructed there.
Air will not flow from the hose. Air would then flow to a small air regulator on the line from the tank to the coupler where the air line connector was inserted. I suggested that they pull the regulator out of the circuit for a time, just to see if something in the regulator had failed, and was blocking air flow. To do that, they would have to add a Tee before the regulator onto which they would install a coupler, or simply remove the regulator and thread a coupler onto the pipe where the regulator had been installed.
I also wondered if they were using mating couplers and connectors? If they had recently acquired new connectors for their air tools, perhaps there was a mismatch between the connector and the couplers? Some connectors will seem to lock into another brand of air coupler, yet the internal check in the coupler may not be off-seated sufficiently to allow full air flow.
If the air tool was not getting air then there had to be an impediment in the flow of air from the compressor tank… somewhere.
It turns out it was an impediment blocking air flow in the circuit, but for me, an unusual one.
They tested all components in the air circuit, and found that when they used a certain air hose, that’s when the problem of air tool starvation occurred. Turns out that the internals of the air hose had deteriorated to the point where, under air pressure, parts of the lining inside of the air hose itself would bend and block clear passage of the compressed air. They carved the line apart to figure that out.
There are only a few components, normally, in an air circuit from the tank to the air tool. Typically they maybe an air filter, then a regulator, the discharge coupling from the air line manifold on the tank, the air hose and the air tool. If you have air in the tank and it’s not getting to your air tool, one of these is compromised.
Here are other things you could check
1. Tank Guage
You need to check if the tank gauge shows the pressure of the compressed air within the compressor tank. On most compressors, the air flow from the compressor tank to the air regulator is unchecked and might move through a manifold that clutches the pressure switch.
Take a good look at the regulator gauge.
The solution to why compressed air won’t come out of the air hose might be as simple as turning the regulator knob to increase the pressure setting so that the compressed air can flow via the regulator to the discharge coupler.
Next on your to-do list will be to check if the regulator gauge has a pressure setting?
If it does not, dial it up to around 20 PSI, far below the usual cut out pressure of your air compressor. Your problem should be solved now. If it isn’t, let’s move on.
2. Air and Pressure
Let’s say the regulator gauge has a pressure reading that is reading the downstream region of the regulator, which means that the air is moving through the regulator towards the discharge coupler found on the compressor.
If the air hose has no air, then the issue may be your air compressor’s discharge coupler.
If you have a regular, small air compressor, discharge coupler, do this. At the end of the discharge coupler, there will be a flap or ball that is obstructing the compressed air within the compressor tank and moving it out to the coupler.
The discharge coupler’s “checked,” which means, it has an in-built check system that’ll not allow compressed air to move through it unless the inner check valve is unlocked. Customarily, you’re supposed to open the check valve within a discharge coupler by injecting the mating connector.
But before you do that, I need you to try this.
3. Inner Check Valve
If possible, you should wear a work glove, and get a small, non-metallic object like a pencil and hold the object firmly, I would like you to gradually insert the object or pencil into the discharge coupler pending when it gets to the center or back of the coupler. If you want to look inside the coupler with a torch to position yourself, that would be nice too.
If the object you’ve inserted is small to the extent that it can touch the inner check valve and ensure that no breakable entity is affecting the discharge coupler, quietly push on the ball check.
Can you hear or feel an air flow? If the pressure regulator’s gauge reveals a pressure reading, air should be moving to the discharge coupler, and there should be air bleeding out of the discharge coupler if you press the ball check at the inner back end of the coupler.
If air isn’t flowing, either you’re not pushing for the ball check, or there is no compressed air at the discharge coupler.
If you’re convinced that after opening the ball check within the coupler, and no compressed air is moving out of it and around the object, it strongly advocates that your air regulator is obstructing air flow.
If the regulator’s pressure gauge shows the 80-120 PSI you may have set it for, then it is safe to say that the pressure gauge is broken. However, this is improbable if the gauge needle moves whenever you rotate the regulator knob or one way or another the regulator is obstructing flow. It might mean it’s time for a brand new regulator.
Here are some air tools you could consider.
1 Flexzilla Pro Air Hose, 3/8 in. x 50 ft, Heavy Duty, Lightweight, Hybrid, ZillaGreen – HFZP3850YW2
Flexzilla is a revolutionary hose featuring a Flexible Hybrid Polymer material that redefines flexibility. These engineered polymer-blend material permits use in environments where general purpose PVC and rubber hose may become too stiff. Flexzilla hose characteristics offer zero memory allowing it to lay flat. It won’t work against you during operation and coils easily after use. Flexzilla offers extreme all-weather flexibility, even in subzero conditions, and is ideal in both hot and cold environments where tight radius bends are needed.
The Flexilla air tool has various sizes namely:
- 1/2″ (inches) x 25′ (feet) with 3/8″ Ends
- 1/2″ (inches) x 50′ (feet) with 1/2″ Ends
- 1/2″ (inches) x 50′ (feet) with 3/8″ Ends
- 1/2″ (inches) x 100′ (feet) with 1/2″ Ends
- 1/2″ (inches) x 100′ (feet) with 3/8″ Ends
- 1/4″ (inches) x 25′ (feet)
- 1/4″ (inches) x 50′ (feet)
- 1/4″ (inches) x 100′ (feet)
- 3/8″ (inches) x 25′ (feet)
- 3/8″ (inches) x 35′ (feet)
- 3/8″ (inches) x 50′ (feet)
- 3/8″ (inches) x 100′ (feet)
2. Plews & Edelmann Amflo 12-25E Polyurethane Air Hose – Non-marring, Smooth Finish, Easy to carry, Lightweight, Cold Weather Flexible, Great Indoors or Out, 1/4″ X 25′, Blue, 25 ft
Here are the various sizes:
- 25 ft.
- Fоur Расk
- Fіvе Расk
- Тhrее Расk
- Тwо Расk
- Smooth, non-marring finish is ideal for indoor trim work where scratching surfaces could cause damage to painted surfaces, wood flooring and trim, and laminates
- Lightweight Polyurethane is a superior solution for applications where dragging a heavy hose is an issue, like roofing projects.
- Due to very good cold weather flexibility, polyurethane hose is perfect for year round use in temperatures as low as -30 degrees F.
- Braided nylon reinforcement and oil and chemical resistance make this hose a great choice for harsh environments like automotive repair shops and industrial facilities
- Features: 1/4 inch NPT swivel fittings to reduce twisting, rugged PVC bend restrictors prevent damage to hose ends, 300 PSI working/1200 PSI burst pressure, -30 to +150 temperature range
Set up a compressed air system with the 1/2-Inch Maxline Master Kit with 3 air outlet locations. The Maxline tubing has an aluminum core sandwiched between an inner and outer layer of polyethylene. Tubing can be mounted on wall surfaces, in wall, or buried underground or concrete. Tubing holds any hand bent shape. Reduce shop clutter with this industrial compressed air piping system. No glue, soldering or crimping needed. Simply cut the tubing to length, insert in the fitting and tighten. Easy to expand with more air outlet locations or modify later.
- Kit includes: 100 ft; of 1/2-inch tubing, (3) air outlet kits, compressor manifold kit, (5) elbow fittings, deburr and cutter tool
- 175 psi maximum working pressure, 1/2-Inch inside diameter x 5/8-Inch outside diameter
- Compression style nickel plated brass fittings
- Recommended usage 75 ft.; maximum from the air compressor, up to 2000 sq.; ft.; buildings, up to 5-HP air compressor
- Use only with Maxline 1/2-Inch system
Got a question or a comment about why no air comes out of my air line? You can add it below.