Why Is My Air Compressor Over Heating?

This is a common question asked by customers in the compressed air industry. To answer this, we need to understand where the heat is being generated.

When air is being compressed the heat value becomes greater than the volume can contain. This is called the heat of compression. Because of this compressed air must be cooled, or the heat must be moved to another location.

We will limit ourselves to a fluid injected rotary screw compressor for this discussion. This is the most common type of compressor used today.

During the compressor cycle, lubricant is injected into the compression chamber. One of the functions of the lubricant is to remove the heat of compression. Compressed air mixed with the lubricant is discharged to a fluid separator. The recovered fluid flows through a heat exchanger where the heat of compression is removed. The fluid is then filtered and injected into the compression chamber.


What issues cause overheating?

Fouled Heat Exchanger

A common cause of air compressor overheating is a fouled heat exchanger. Most compressor packages use air to air exchangers. A fan will be used to move air through a heat exchanger and remove the heat from the lubricant. If the heat exchanger is fouled with air borne contaminates, the cooling capacity will be reduced. Cleaning the surface of the exchanger may be all that’s needed.

Fluid Shortage

Confirm the fluid level is correct. A shortage of fluid will reduce the amount of heat removed from the compression chamber. Most air compressors utilize a sight glass to indicate the fluid level. Check the service manual for the correct fluid level.

Worn/Contaminated Lubricant

The lubricant in your air compressor can be a critical factor. Only use lubricant that meets the manufacturers specification. Lubricants have a limited nominal life expectancy which is affected by the operating environment. Worn and contaminated lubricant has a reduced heat carrying capacity. Note that lubricants must be tested periodically to prevent damage to the compressor package components.  

High Ambient Temperature

High ambient temperature will cause over heating issues. Air compressors are typically designed to operate in a 100F ambient temperature. Heat rejection rates will be less at temperatures greater than 100F. Heat transfer rates are affected by the temperature difference.


Many compressor packages utilize ducting to direct air to other areas. This ducting may also contain louvers to compensate for seasonal temperatures. These require inspection and maintenance to function properly. 

Worn Components

Worn components in the package can cause overheating. These are more complicated to determine and should be referred to an experienced repair facility.


What can the customer do to minimize overheating issues and their cost?

Having a daily inspection program is an economical way to prevent air compressor shutdowns. Metropolitan Air Compressor can assist you in developing a program to achieve this. A maintenance agreement with Metropolitan Air Compressor Is also a great way to prevent air compressor shutdowns.






Solving the Moisture Levels in Your Compressed Air

When we talk about moisture being in our compressed air… we become mortified, right? The compressed air system can become damaged from corrosion, rust, and scale build-up. Negatively affecting the products and processes that require dry air.

Can Compressors Make Snow?

Winter sports are very popular here in Michigan and in other states that receive snowfall. The only thing about snowfall is that there never seems to be enough! At least here in Michigan, it can be tough to rely on just the snowfall to meet the minimum requirements for the resort to be open. Resort owners had to get creative and think outside the natural realm. This is where air compressors have come into play. Air compressors can create artificial snow, thankfully allowing ski resorts to be open and allowing our winter hobbies to continue no matter the weather.

Carbon Dioxide vs Nitrogen in the Food and Beverage Industry

Our atmosphere is made up of 78% Nitrogen. Nitrogen is not only used throughout the food and beverage industry, but surprisingly it is a huge part of it. Starbucks uses nitrogen to infuse cold brew coffee for a creamier smoother taste and feel. The fruit and vegetable industry uses nitrogen as well by storing it in non-oxidizing coolers to keep the fruit from perishing faster. Making your own nitrogen is efficient and sustainable. It reduces CO2 use and consumption by 70% when nitrogen is used as a replacement specifically in breweries, switching out all taps for nitrogen use. In high-traffic companies, for instance, Breweries. Healthier environments bring in happier and healthier customers.

Air Compressors Providing Us With Wine!

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about wine is most definitely not compressed air. In fact, it’s probably not second or third either. When wine comes to mind, we often think of social gatherings, dinner parties, gifts etc. However, I bet you didn’t realize that compressed air plays a critical role in the creation and processing of wine! Only certain systems can make this process happen, oil free compressors, nitrogen generators and blowers play critical roles in this.

Detecting Air Leaks

Air leaks may seem like a small inconvenience, but they can be costly over time and affect production. Leaks can be caused by a multitude of things like loose or cracked pipes. It’s important to stay on top of issues like this to save money and have timely production.

Farming Thanks to Compressed Air

The best time for fresh fruits and vegetables is during the summer! With farmers markets, gardens and warm summer air I think it’s safe to say summer is in full swing.

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