How to Set up and Use an Air Compressor – Expert Guides

There is no doubt that an air compressor is becoming a must-have tool with its wide applications ranging from cutting, stapling, drilling, grinding, inflating tires and many more.

Although it is generally easy to assemble and operate an air compressor, it is a versatile tool which needs to be handled with much care in order for you to sustain its durability and safety.

It is imperative for you to know how to set it up properly as dealing with compressed air can sometimes be dangerous. Improperly set air compressors tend to overheat leading to explosions and fires and sometimes death.

Following the stipulated procedures in setting up your air compressor and proper maintenance will ensure that the tool will function more effectively and for a long period of time.

This is why we have comprehensively reviewed important tips on how to set up and operate an air compressor and we hope it will prove useful as you plan to acquire this important tool.

Phase 1 – Setting up the Air Compressor

  • Safety Precautions: Make your safety a priority before anything else by putting on the correct safety gears. They include; closed shoes to protect your feet just in case something pops off, a pair of goggles to guard your eyes against any sparks or flying particles and a pair of thick and insulated gloves just in case the compressor explodes. In addition, you should consider protecting your hearing by wearing earplugs or ear mugs as some compressors tends to be pretty loud and repeated use may cause permanent damage to your ears.
  • Connect the compressor (electric compressor) into a power source with appropriate voltage: Different models will have different levels of power consumption and voltage which is why should always check the power needs in the user manual so that you can connect the compressor to an outlet with sufficient power to run it.
  • Check oil level and fill it if necessary: As a standard procedure, check the oil level to ascertain that it is on the recommended fill line.The oil lubricates the engine alongside cooling it keeping it functional and maintained. Should the oil be below the recommended level, simply fill it with the recommended type of oil in the manual. This will help reduce interruptions while the compressor is in operation, to refill oil. In addition, this can help you establish any oil leaks that might reduce the efficiency of the tool.
  • Attach the Air Filter: An air filter simply keeps the air sucked into the compressor clean and free from debris and dirt. This is especially important when you want to use the compressor for spray painting. Having an air filter on the side will guarantee you of a dirt-free and smooth finish in your paint job. Filtering the air also helps to keep the machine from frequent breakdowns and malfunctioning saving on costs and time.
  • Attach the Oil Plug: After checking the oil level and refilling it, the next step is to attach an oil plug. The job of the plug is to create a vacuum in the oil tank creating enough breathing space for the system.

Phase 2 – Using the Air Compressor

  • Plug-in the Air Compressor: After you have assembled all parts, the next step is to plug the air compressor into a power outlet if you are using an electric compressor. For other compressors make sure that the fuel is sufficient enough to run them. Switch the tool on and allow it to warm gradually before you start to fill the air tank with air for compression.
  • Fill the Tank: Once the compressor is on and is sufficiently heated, it will start to fill the air tank immediately. The time taken to fill the tank will depend on the size of the tank. The size of the tank vary from one compressor to the other, depending on whether it is electric powered or powered by other fuels and also depending on whether it is a portable or stationary compressor. The bigger the tank the faster it will work which is appropriate for large-scale continuous usage.
  • Connect the Air Hose: You will need an air hose connected to the compressor for it to be firmly attached to the tool you intend to power. This will ensure that the compressed air does not slip out. Using a tape to wrap the hose tightly will come in handy for even subsequent use.
  • Connect an Air Tool: The next step is to connect the air hose to the item(s) that need to be powered. Adjust the pressure setting depending on the power needs of the items and release the pressurized air to the set amount.
  • Set Regulator: This will solely rely on the pressure setting of the air compressor as prescribed by the manufacturer. Each compressor has different settings and you will need to adjust until desired settings are reached. This is done using a pressure knob found on the air hose and the included pressure gauge will show you when safe operating level is reached.
  • After Use: After all is said and done, the first thing you need to do is turn the pressure regulator in anti-clockwise direction in order to close the valve to cut off air supply to the air tool. As a maintenance procedure, always drain the condensation after using the compressor to keep it functional for a longer lifespan.
  • Switch off the compressor: and let the pressure leave the system and turn off the power. Unplug the air compressor and remove the hose and monitor the compressor to make sure it cools down properly after been subjected to high temperatures while in use.
  • Drain the Tank: The next step is to drain the air tank of its moisture and air. You can do this using a special valve located right at the middle of the air tank. This is in preparation for subsequent use. Also, it is advisable to drain the used oil to keep the compressor fresh and prevent overheating and other damages.
  • Store the Air Compressor: Finally, store the compressor in a temperature-controlled place (not too hot or too cold) and free from any moisture. This will make sure that the pressure regulator is not interfered with and general performance of the tool. Also, don’t store it near oil to avoid accidental fires and explosions.


Following these steps to the dot will ensure that you are using your compressor properly and with ease. Just to remind you, it is important to handle this tool with extra care as they can easily overheat and explode, causing fires. That’s why it is important for you to take your time and go through the user manual provided by the manufacturer for a more exact guide of the specific model.

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