Troubleshooting Compressed Air Systems

ProblemProbable CauseRemedial Action  
Low pressure at point of useLeaks in distribution pipingCheck lines, connections and valves for leaks
Clogged filter elementsClean or replace filter elements
Fouled dryer heat exchangerClean heat exchanger
Low pressure at compressor dischargeSee below
Low pressure at compressor dischargeFor systems with modulating load controls, improper adjustment of air capacity systemFollow manufacturer's recommendation for adjustment of air capacity system
Worn or broken valvesCheck valves and repair or replace as required
Improper air pressure switch settingFollow manufacturer's recommendations for setting air pressure switch
Water in linesFailed condensate trapsClean, repair, or replace the trap
Failed or undersized compressed air dryerRepair or replace dryer
Liquid oil in air linesFaulty air/oil separationCheck air/oil separation system; change separator element
Compressor oil level too highFollow manufacturer's recommendation for proper oil level
Dirt, rust or scale in air linesIn the absence of liquid water, normal aging of the air linesInstall filters at point of use
Excessive service to load/hour ratioSystem idling too muchFor multiple compressor system: consider sequencing controls to minimize compressor idle time
Adjust idle time according to manufacturer's recommendations
Improper pressure switch settingReadjust according to manufacturer's recommendations
Elevated compressor temperatureRestricted air flowClean cooler exterior and check inlet filter mats
Restricted water flowCheck water flow, pressure, and quality; clean heat exchanger as needed
Low oil levelCheck compressor oil level, add oil as required
Restricted oil flowRemove restriction, replace parts as required
Excessive ambient temperatureImproper ventilation to compressor; check with manufacturer to determine maximum operating temperature