Home Automobiles Auto Repair How to keep your air compressor from tripping a circuit breaker

How to keep your air compressor from tripping a circuit breaker

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Written by vernon kalugdan   

Intro:  If you run an air compressor for hobby or for a living, they have a tendency to stop running.  A common fault that the operator might see is an air compressor that attempts to start up, maybe stumbles slowly and then trips a circuit breaker it is drawing from.  Many times it is the check valve system that is at fault.  The system can get water or condensation in it and make it harder to operate as needed. There are other reasons for this fault, please seek the correct resolution for your individual situation.

Step 1: Identify that this is your problem.  The symptoms must match. You will have a load upon start which is why the compressor cannot over come the pressure. The amperage draw increases to attempt to over come this. This in turn trips the circuit breaker even if well above the amperage rating of your compressor.

Step 2: Identify your check valve circuit.


The check valve leads from the top of the compressor and directly fits into the compressor. There is a spring loaded one way valve keeping pressure from leaving the top of the compressor. This is the common entry point of air pressure from the actual air pump.

Step 3: Remove the air feed line from the top of the check valve and the pump.  See that the internal valve operates easily.  If it does not, replace as it is usually $10 or less and most likely universal.

Step 4: Follow the fitting that leads away from the check valve. This hose ends at the control panel.  The hose gives a pressure reading to the control panel and releases pressure upon reaching maximum operating pressures.


Step 5: The end of this tubing is held in loosely by a single screw in most compressors. No need to remove fully, just loosen until the fitting can be pulled from the housing. *Careful not to lose any loose and/or spring fitted pieces.


Step 6: Identify the two areas for lubrication



Step 7: Using a very light amount of lubrication, either thin mechanial oil or a more common wd-40 can be used with a light and quick spray in the above areas.

Step 8: Work the lubricated parts in with your fingers. Operate the spring fed internal check valve in this tubing over and over to ensure the lubrication has reached all necessary areas.

Step 9: Replace the tubing fittings and any other necessarily removed items, take all safety precautions, plug the unit back in and test.

Step 10: Continue in safety with all your projects.

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