If you are unfamiliar with the various components of a compressed air system, it’s good to know some of the more critical ones to ensure that your system continues to operate safely and reliably at peak performance. One of those key components is the air compressor check valve.
A check valve is a fitting that allows compressed air to flow through it, but only one way. If the air tries to flow back up through the check valve, the valve flapper or similar device shuts, and air cannot escape. Compressed air flows into the compressor tank from the pump through the air compressor check valve fitting. As the tank pressure grows air will try to flow back up out of the tank, but cannot, as the check valve keeps it in the tank.
If you suspect your system’s air compressor check valve might not be functioning properly and air is escaping from it, take the following steps:
- Shut down the compressor
- Dump the air out of it
- Check the valve for proper fit
- Clean and reinstall the check valve
How do you know air is escaping from the compressor tank? You may hear it, see the pressure dropping on the tank gauge, or you might feel a leak of air from the unloader valve when the compressor has shut off. That is the key indicator that the air compressor check valve is not working.
Often check valve problems occur because of water that builds up in the system. Compressing air generates a lot of water which can accumulate as a liquid or vapor in the compressor tank. That water can rust the tank check valve, preventing it from shutting properly. If that happens, air escapes.
Fortunately, compressor check valves are not expensive, so if cleaning one is a problem, simply replace it – at ACG Air Compressor we carry an air compressor check valve for just about every major make and model compressor.