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Atlas Copco Service Technician
Service, Parts & Maintenance

Air Compressors: When to Repair and When to Replace


If your business relies heavily on compressed air for its day-to-day operations and experiencing downtime would result in significant production losses, then deciding whether to repair or replace a broken compressor becomes a crucial decision. Knowing when to repair and when to replace is important for efficient and cost-effective operations. Let’s explore the factors to consider when making this decision.

Before deciding to replace your existing compressor, it's advisable to thoroughly examine the system to determine if the breakdown can be easily fixed. There could be various reasons for the breakdown, and not all of them indicate irreparable damage or ongoing repair issues. Seeking assistance from a local compressed air service technician can be helpful in assessing the situation.

Factors that favor repairing your compressor include:

  1. It is relatively new and hasn't been in operation for many hours.
  2. It hasn't been outdated by newer technology to a significant extent.
  3. Spare parts for the model are readily available.
  4. It has demonstrated overall reliability, and the repair isn't indicative of major future problems.

On the other hand, replacing your compressor may be the more viable solution in the following circumstances:

  1. If it has broken down once, there's a higher likelihood of it happening again.
  2. Compressors are constantly improving in energy efficiency, so the cost of a new unit could be offset by electricity savings.
  3. Finding parts for an older model may be difficult, time-consuming, and costly.
  4. Your current compressor may be too small to meet your company's current needs and replacing it with a larger unit could be an opportunity to future-proof your business.

New Compressors and Costs

Indeed, new air compressors may appear expensive initially. However, when you consider factors such as energy savings, potential energy credits from your electricity provider, increased reliability, and decreased maintenance costs, the payback time is often shorter than expected. The initial cost also fails to account for the potential devastating costs associated with downtime due to compressor shutdowns in the future.

Calculating the life cycle cost of an air compressor before making a purchase is a wise approach to evaluate the total investment. Additionally, a life cycle cost assessment can serve as a comparison tool when evaluating other products and systems, helping define other important requirements for the installation and assessing potential environmental benefits, energy savings, and improved production quality. It also highlights areas where energy efficiency can be improved.

We understand that choosing between repairing and replacing a compressor can be challenging. That's why our team of compressed air experts is always available to guide you through the pros and cons of repairing or replacing your current compressor system. Feel free to reach out to our experts today!

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