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A vital part of many commercial, manufacturing, industrial, and automotive applications is an air compressor. Air compressors are versatile mechanical tools that use one or numerous pistons to pump compressed air into a defined space.



There are three basic types of air compressors: reciprocating, rotary, and centrifugal. These general types of air compressors can be further categorized into single or multi stage, packaged or non-packaged, air cooled or water cooled, and lubricated or non-lubricated.



There are two types of piston-like air compressors: single-stage, and two-stage. These piston-like air compressors will keep the storage tank at a predetermined PSI (Pounds per Square Inch). The air compressorís motor will turn off and turn on as needed to insure the proper PSI. Single-stage air compressors have one or more cylinders that pump air directly into the storage tank. Two-stage air compressors use two or more cylinders to pump air into another cylinder before pumping the air into the storage tank. Most single-stage air compressors are sufficient for normal use. Two-stage air compressors are used primarily by industries that have applications that require high-pressure.



Compact air compressors are popular for easy around-the-home projects. These small air compressors do not have a storage tank; therefore they must always be running to supply the air needed for a project. Many glue guns, caulking guns, and painting guns use compact air compressors.



Air compressors require the proper size hoses for optimal performance. Purchasing the right size and length of hose will keep PSI loss to a minimal. Check the hose for cracks, sun damage, or cuts often. If any of these are found, replace your hose immediately. Any leaks that may be caused by a faulty hose will add to an air compressors operating cost. Air compressors should be approached with caution. Secure the hose to guarantee minimal damage should your hose break free from the air compressor.



Aftercoolers are heat exchangers that cool the heated compressed air. Once the compressed air has been condensed, the removal of the excess moisture can follow. Keeping the compressed air free from moisture is essential to most applications requiring air compressors. Air compressors will last much longer, and be more efficient, if they remain free from moisture.



Air compressors range in horse power, performance, price, operating cost, and ease of use. Always check hoses, values, bearings, and the electrical outlet of all air compressors. This will not only add to the longevity of the air compressor, but keep the operator safe.

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