Air Compressor Installation

Basic machine handling and placement will not be discussed here. The location of each unit will require techniques, tools, and machinery or fixtures unique to each instance.

Basic installation method applies to all types of compressors. This discussion will focus on installations on concrete floors or pads. Installation on asphalt, dirt or wooden floors or decks as well as steel decks or marine installations require special techniques and materials not covered here.

Installation of a compressor on a shipping pallet is unsafe and against all building and safety codes as well as violating good standards and practices.

Level Surface Area

In any installation, unit leveling is paramount. An out-of-level unit will have ineffective lubrication. In addition, excessive mechanical strain on bearings and bearing surfaces will occur.

Vibration resulting from an out-of-level installation will affect shaft alignment. Metal fatigue with associated cracks in welds attaching tank legs or floor skirts may result as well.
Sheet metal enclosures will appear warped and allow cooling air to escape the plenum formed by the cabinet. Reduction of sound lowering quality will result due to the warping of access doors.

Ideal Surface

Ideal installation will be on a housekeeping pad. This is just a concrete pad usually 4” higher than the common elevation of the surrounding floor. Some facilities require at least 6”.

This allows for cleaning of the area around the compressor. A concrete pad allows for the installation of a drain valve and associated piping. Machinery mounted on a housekeeping pad is above minor flooding or spills.

Proper Anchoring

Compressor anchoring can be accomplished by using “J” bolts installed during the initial concrete pour. A common alternative method is the use of wedge bolts. Another common method is the use of drop-in anchors. The preceding links will take you to videos demonstrating correct methods for installing either of the two anchor systems.

Location of Air Compressor

The compressor location will determine ease of service and trouble-free operation. Space around the unit is important. Too close to a wall and there will be no room to perform required scheduled maintenance.

Lack of space will also inhibit cooling airflow. Restricted airflow will result in elevated operating temperatures. High operating temperatures will result in dramatically reduced lubricant service life. For instance, a synthetic lubricant operated at 195°F will reduce an 8000 rated lubricant to a functional effectiveness of 2000 hours. The same 8000-hour lubricant operated at 225°F will have an effective life of only 1000 hours.

Vibration Isolation

Laminated isolators are the least expensive yet very effective. Some installations will require spring isolators. There are numerous types, styles and weight ratings available.

Clean Up

Upon completion, care must be taken to remove all debris. This includes construction debris, packing materials, waste and dust. The area must be left in pristine condition. Any damage, malfunction or overheating condition caused by left-behind contaminates is the responsibility of the installing contractor. Warranty may be voided if damage is traced to shoddy installation procedures.