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Service, Parts & Maintenance

How to Prevent Your Air Compressor from Overheating


July is the hottest month of the year, and it’s not only humans that feel the impact! While overheating is a relatively common issue that affects air compressors, the extreme heat experienced during summer can wreak even greater havoc on your compressed air system – or intensify already-existing issues.

Causes of Overheating in Air Compressors

Getting to the core problem of what is causing your compressor to overheat may not be an easy task. With that said, four common causes for of overheating are:

  • Lack of Maintenance. If your compressor doesn’t undergo regular maintenance, then dirty broken filters, pipe blockage, and blocked interior components could lead to overheating.
  • Age of Compressor. An older compressor, or a compressor that undergoes extreme use, is more likely to experience overheating.
  • Inadequate Ventilation. The compressor system must be able to cool itself down, so if there isn’t proper ventilation available in the compressor room, overheating could be a result.
  • High Ambient Room Temperature. Summer months make ambient conditions hot, hot, hot! The warmer the weather outside, the more likely that your compressor room is warmer. If the compressor room is too hot, so is your air compressor!

Is My Air Compressor Overheating?

When your compressor begins acting unusual, it’s wise to start investigating the concerns early on; quickly identifying the problems will prevent unnecessary downtime or future production loss, given that any necessary maintenance or repairs are completed. But how can you tell if overheating is the problem at hand? Some common signs of compressor overheating include:

  • Compressor Won’t Start. If your compressor stalls during startup – or worse, won’t cut on at all – overheating could be the root cause. Other related signs are the compressor requiring longer rest periods between cycles and the compressor being much slower in reaching peak operation.
  • Compressor Is Creaking. Hearing creaking and crackling noises from your compressor – or smelling burnt oil? That could be a sign that the compressor’s internal components aren’t adequately lubricated. Since lubrication serves as a coolant, little to no lubricant = the potential to overheat.

How Can I Prevent My Air Compressor from Overheating?

Prevention is key! Instead of focusing on ways to cool down an overheated compressor, put your effort into preventing overheating from happening at all! Three key ways to achieve this are:

  • Improve Internal and External Ventilation. Check on your compressor’s vents and ensure that they are not only clean, but are sized appropriately to the demands of the machine. You should also ensure that the compressor room is sufficiently ventilated – if it’s not, look into relocating your compressor into a space that is more suitable. Note: these checks should occur on a regular basis!
  • Inspect Oil and Lubrication Levels. As stated above, lubrication acts as a coolant, so monitor the oil and lubricant levels in your compressor often. Additionally, if the oil is thin or appears watery, the heat level could already be too high.
  • Routine Maintenance. The simplest action to take to prevent overheating is to have routine maintenance performed on your compressor!


We’re always available for compressor service! Reach out to us for any of your compressor needs by visiting www.atlascopco.com/air-usa.

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