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How Many Hours Will a Compressor Last?

Whether you’re looking to purchase an air compressor or you already have one, you’re probably wondering just how long it’ll run and last. To answer these questions, the following are the three basic types of air compressors, their duty cycles, and their individual life expectancy when properly maintained.

Reciprocating Air Compressors

reciprocating air compressor is expected to last up to 10,000 hours, which is about a decade or longer. During this time, typical reciprocating compressors have a 70% duty cycle, but they operate best at a 50% duty cycle. An oil-free reciprocating air compressor has a 50% duty cycle but operates most efficiently at a 30% duty cycle.

Rotary Screw Air Compressors

A rotary screw air compressor should last between 60,000 and 80,000 hours, which translates to anywhere between 20 and 30 years. The good news is that these compressors can be used at a 100% duty cycle. However, it provides the greatest results at a 70% duty cycle.

Centrifugal Air Compressors

Centrifugal air compressors offer the highest life expectancy at 350,000 hours. And they can be used at a 100% duty cycle. While these advantages do come with a higher price tag, the power and long life expectancy make the cost a worthwhile investment for heavy-duty needs.

Steps to Maintaining Your Air Compressor

Again, the operation cycles and life expectancy of each type depend specifically on how well you maintain your air compressor. In order to ensure maximum life and optimal power, be sure to follow these maintenance steps.

Read the Manual

First and foremost, read the manual that came with your compressor. It will give you specific instructions on how to care for your equipment.

Check Nuts, Bolts, and Hoses

Regularly make sure that your bolts and nuts are tightened as they easily loosen when your machine’s in use. Also, replace hoses as you notice them becoming worn down.

Drain It

Moisture that is left in the tank can actually damage the metal and weaken it. This can eventually lead to air leaks and – in extreme cases – explosions. Check your user manual for instructions on how often your tank needs to be drained.

Check Intake Vents and Air Filters

Dusty and clogged intake vents and air filters can lead to a whole host of performance issues. Cleaning the vents and changing the filters can ensure everything stays operating as it should.

Call In the Pros

Keeping an eye on things yourself is important, but having a professional service for your machine is a wise move. Do this at least once a year and any time you notice issues with the performance of your unit.

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