When To Change the Oil in Your Rotary Screw Air Compressor

Regular oil changes promote the service life of a rotary screw air compressor. Fresh oil with good lubricating properties helps reduce friction and resistance, allowing the compressor to operate efficiently. Here are instances when changing the oil in the compressor is a practical option:

Altered Oil Color and Consistency

The color and consistency of the oil in your rotary screw air compressor can provide valuable insights into its condition and indicate whether an oil change is required. Fresh oil in the compressor can be amber or clear, depending on the oil you’re using. As the oil ages and accumulates pollutants, it darkens to a brown or black tone.

Fresh oil features a smooth and fluid consistency, signifying proper viscosity. As the oil ages and breaks down, it can become thicker or develop a sludgy texture. The changes in consistency can emanate from oxidation, contaminants, or varnish formation.

A qualified service technician can check the oil’s color and consistency in your compressor and change it to restore optimal functioning.

Unusual Noises

When the compressor needs an oil change, it can produce different noises to indicate the need for fresh oil. If the oil in the compressor has degraded, it can increase friction and strain on the moving parts, causing humming sounds.

You can also hear tapping or clicking noises due to old oil that has failed to lubricate the moving components.

If the oil in the compressor has become thick or contaminated with debris, it hinders the proper flow of oil through the system. This issue can contribute to slapping or slugging sounds as the oil strains to move through the compressor.

Vibrations can accompany the noises, but a technician can change the oil to minimize the disruptive sounds. 

Increased Operating Temperature

Contaminants such as dirt, dust, metal particles, or moisture can enter the compressor and mix with the oil. These contaminants act as insulators, interfering with proper heat dissipation. They can also cause wear and tear on components, leading to increased friction and enhanced temperatures.

Degraded oil could also develop deposits inhibiting heat transfer and contributing to elevated operating temperatures.

Monitor the operating temperature of the compressor to determine if it remains within the manufacturer’s recommended range. If you observe a consistent increase in operating temperature, hire a technician to change the oil.

Decreased Performance

When the oil in the compressor is degraded or aged, it can increase internal friction, leading to higher energy consumption. Inefficient lubrication puts additional pressure on the compressor’s motor, causing it to work harder and consume more energy to maintain the desired air output.

Insufficient lubrication due to contaminated oil could also lead to friction, impeding the operation of the compressor’s rotors and decreasing efficiency. This problem could also lead to lower compressed air production.

Changing the oil ensures that the compressor has an adequately lubricated environment, which can help restore optimal air output. New oil can allow the compressor to function optimally, reducing energy consumption and operating expenses.

Moving components of the compressor, such as the rotors, bearings, and gears, can also operate effectively and efficiently.

Unpleasant Odor

Contaminants such as moisture ingress can cause your oil to have a musty or moldy smell. Some air compressor oils contain additives that can break down and emit unpleasant odors. When the oil in the compressor degrades due to prolonged use, it can produce a burnt or rancid scent.

If the odor persists, hire a service technician to drain the existing oil and replace it with fresh, high-quality compressor oil. The expert can also check the oil filter and separator for signs of contamination. Cleaning or replacing such components can control the odors and restore regular operation. 

Quality Oil Change for Your Rotary Screw Air Compressor

Hire an experienced service technician to change the oil in your rotary screw air compressor. The professional can perform an oil analysis to identify signs of contamination, degradation, or excessive wear. After that, the technician can change the oil to maintain the compressor’s performance and reliability.

This expert considers factors such as the compressor’s design, operating conditions, and the type of oil recommended for longevity. The technician records the oil change in the compressor’s maintenance log, noting the date, oil type, and quantity. Keep the records to aid future maintenance scheduling.