What Is Air Compressor Pressure Drop?

It’s easy to depend on air compressors and trust them, but that doesn’t mean they always work well. Consistent pressure is everything when it comes to an air compressor, so it can be quite frustrating when the pressure drops and fluctuates. So, what does it mean and what should you do when your air compressor loses pressure quickly?

Check the oil level and filter if your air compressor loses pressure quickly. Dirty filters and sludgy oil make it hard for air to pass, and that can reduce the pressure within your air compressor. Clogged pipes and valves can also restrict your air compressor’s pressure. Drain the condensate tank as often as possible to maintain strong airflow so your compressor’s pressure doesn’t drop.

The air tools you attach to your air compressor can also explain why it loses pressure quickly. Clean the nozzle on any tool you plug into your compressor to make sure the airflow is optimal. Follow along as we explore what to do if your air compressor loses pressure quickly and explain why it happens.

What Causes Air Pressure Drop?

An air compressor pressure drop can happen due to old oil, air leaks, poor ventilation, and cold temperatures. This is especially true if you run an oil-injected air compressor in a cold environment. The cold temperature can make the oil in your compressor thicken and turn into sludge.

This will make your air compressor lose pressure quickly and even stop working altogether. Leaks in the valves and hoses can also explain why your air compressor loses pressure. Pressure drops are a big problem if you are a business owner who relies on an air compressor.

This can slow down your output and even make you spend a small fortune on repairs. You must inspect your air compressor each day for clogs, condensation, and sludgy oil. This will ensure that your compressor doesn’t lose pressure and that you don’t have to slow down your workload.

Air Compressor Loses Pressure Quickly

You must inspect the unit if your air compressor loses pressure quickly. This often points to major problems within your air compressor, such as corrosion and excessive moisture. Let’s look at the most common reasons why your air compressor loses pressure quickly and see what you can do to fix it.

Bad Oil

Whether the oil level is low or you used the wrong kind, bad oil can explain why your air compressor loses pressure quickly. Most people change the oil in their air compressor once every few months, or at least every 200 hours of operation. It’s a great idea to keep a log of how long you use your air compressor each time you run it.

You should always check your compressor’s oil level each day even if you don’t use it much. It’s bad if the oil level gets too low, but it’s just as bad if the oil becomes contaminated. This can happen because of everything from dust and water to pollutants in the air.

Keep track of what the oil looks like on a good day so you know how to spot it when it’s bad. Make sure to drain the oil chamber each time you change the oil so none of the contaminated oil is left behind.

Dirty Air Tools

The compressor may not be the problem if the system loses pressure quickly. It may simply be that the tools you use are dirty or incompatible with your air compressor. Clean the nozzles of any air tool you attach to your compressor to remove debris and maintain consistent airflow.

Excessive Moisture

Air compressors and moisture go hand in hand. Condensation is unavoidable with any air compressor, but it can be a problem when the moisture is too much. Air compressors have condensate tanks that collect the runoff moisture.

The moisture can be even worse if you keep your air compressor in a hot and humid environment. Drain the condensate tank right away if your air compressor loses pressure quickly. Ideally, you should drain the condensate tank each day so it doesn’t become too full.

Worn Gaskets

Air compressors feature gaskets that help keep the components airtight. You will maintain a strong and consistent airflow when the gaskets are tight. However, you must check the gaskets right away if your air compressor loses pressure quickly.

Gaskets can break down over time as you use your air compressor. This happens much faster if you use your air compressor in a humid space. Check the gaskets frequently to make sure they aren’t loose or corroded and replace them as needed if your air compressor loses pressure quickly.

Dirty Filter

Air compressors are like air conditioners in that they only run well if the filter is clean. The filter in an air compressor encounters plenty of debris, and that’s especially true if you use it frequently in an industrial setting. Ideally, you should clean your air compressor’s filter at least once per month.

That said, it ultimately depends on how much you use your air compressor. It’s just as important to replace the filter frequently. You must replace the filter after 2,000 hours of use or as needed if it becomes too dirty and clogged. Filters typically cost under $12, and they are easy to replace.


Your air compressor cannot maintain pressure if there are clogs in the system. The pipes and valves within your air compressor are susceptible to clogs. Air struggles to move past debris and sludge within the pipes and valves, and this can explain why your compressor loses pressure quickly.

The only way to tell that the pipes and valves are clogged is to inspect them. It’s a great idea to check the valves and pipes each day to make sure there is no clog. You can remove clogs in the pipes with a plumbing snake in most cases.

However, it may simply be time to replace the valves if the clog is due to corrosion. Air compressors are made of metal in most cases and they can become rusty and clogged. Air cannot pass by the rust and sludge, so you must either clear it or replace the parts.

How Do You know If Your Air Compressor Pump is Bad?

You can tell that your air compressor pump is bad if air leaks are common. Loud operation is another sign that your air compressor is bad. That is especially true if you recently changed the oil in your air compressor and it still runs loud.

Air compressors don’t typically sound loud after an oil change unless the pump is bad. Excessive moisture is another sign that the pump is bad. You can avoid that if you regularly drain the condensate tank in most cases, but it may simply be because of a faulty pump.

So, Why is My Air Compressor Losing Pressure?

Sludgy oil and a dirty filter can explain why your air compressor loses pressure quickly. Excessive moisture in the condensate tank can also cause problems and limit your air compressor’s power. Replace the filter after every 2,000 hours of usage so you don’t disrupt the airflow and lose pressure. Inspect the pipes and valves for clogs and replace them as needed if your air compressor can’t maintain pressure.  

Small Business Quest. Most Rights Reserved. 2019- 2024