Now that you’ve invested in an air compressor, there are certain accessories to consider, especially if you want to do more than simply inflate tires. With the proper air compressor accessories, you can power air tools, paint, clean machinery and undertake other projects. Here’s a look at various uses for your compressor, along with the top four accessories to help you get all these jobs done.
1. Pressure Regulator
A pressure regulator may be the most sensible purchase. With a regulator installed, you can control just how much air flows from the compressor, ensuring the right amount of pressure for the job. The regulator attaches to the outgoing air line and allows you to dial down the air pressure that goes through the hose and to the air tool. With a regulator in place, you’ll be able to run your tools on the lowest possible setting, reducing both your energy costs and wear and tear on the compressor.
2. Air Hose
Your compressor may have come with an air hose, but chances are it isn’t long or strong enough to handle most rigorous jobs. You need an air hose that fits with an adapter to operate certain pneumatic tools, including nail guns, air hammers, blow guns, air ratchets and a pneumatic hammer. Moreover, if you acquired an older air compressor or have owned yours for a long time, your current hose may have become brittle, kinked or damaged. For these reasons, an air hose is an ideal accessory.
Compressed air contains a lot of moisture, a natural byproduct. But the moisture is damaging to equipment, causing pneumatic systems to rust and wearing out moving parts as it eliminates lubrication. Further, moisture can negatively alter color, finish and paint cohesion, clog orifices and freeze control lines. The solution here is a desiccant dryer, which contains a hygroscopic (water-absorbing) substance such as beads. Attach the dryer to the hose, just ahead of the spray gun you use for painting. Replace the dryer when it no longer gets the job done.
4. Air Line Filter
An alternative to a dryer is an air line filter, which traps dirt, water and oil, keeping pneumatic tools from rusting, destroying your paint job or ruining equipment. Thus, with a filter installed, air quality improves and you’ll also extend the life of your air compressor.
With all of these new tools, don’t forget to take care of the compressor itself throughout its lifetime. The best way to maintain your air compressor is to read the instructions in the accompanying owner’s manual. In general, you’ll need to perform routine maintenance such as replacing the air filter, draining water from the tank, changing the air compressor oil (unless it is oilless) and replacing the compressor belt when worn. With the proper maintenance and accessories, you and your compressor can tackle numerous jobs for years to come.
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Matt Keegan has maintained his love for cars ever since his father taught him kicking tires can be one way to uncover a problem with a vehicle’s suspension system. He since moved on to learn a few things about coefficient of drag, G-forces, toe-heel shifting, and how to work the crazy infotainment system in some random weekly driver. Matt is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association and is a contributor to various print and online media sources.