How To Adjust Air Compressor Pressure Regulator? [Quick & Easy Steps]

Despite having such versatile uses, I found out that most people are confused about how to adjust air compressor pressure regulator. To put an end to everyone’s question, I dug a little deeper and designed a simple and easy structure.

To adjust air compressor pressure regulator, fill your compressor’s tank with air and check your tool’s psi compatibility. Unlock the knob by pushing if necessary, turn it clockwise to increase and anti-clockwise to decrease the pressure, and then lock the knob by pushing to secure.

Because adjusting air compressor pressure regulator is a tricky task, people often get confused about it. Read through the detailed steps to get a clear idea. I’ve tried to include all the questions you may have about air compressor pressure regulators. Or at least I’ve answered the questions I had. 

What Is A Pressure Regulator?

Before moving on to how to adjust air compressor regulator, it’s important to learn what a pressure regulator is and what it does. If it isn’t obvious by the name, a pressure regulator regulates and controls your compressor’s air pressure.

It controls how much airflow should increase or decrease as per necessity. There’s an indicator to show you the air pressure.

Some air compressors, especially the large ones, will come with multiple regulators. They can be adjusted according to individual purposes using different regulators. 

The pressure regulator has three parts –regulator body, pressure gauge, and a regulator knob. The knob can be either simple or T-shaped. When you activate the pressure regulator, the valve inside the regulator’s body comes into action. This mechanism either increases or decreases the airflow to the air tool.

How To Adjust Air Compressor Pressure Regulator?

Before you move on to adjusting the pressure regulator, make sure you’ve installed your air compressor with proper settings. It’s always better to follow the instruction manuals. Every air compressor model is different and will require different installation methods.

Once you’re certain that everything is properly in place, move on to the adjusting pressure regulator part. Follow these 9 steps below to do it without any hassle.

1. Turn on your air compressor

Before moving further, connect your compressor. Then, turn it on. How you turn your air compressor on may vary from model to mode. 

Most of the time, the basics are pretty similar. Make sure the pressure power switch is indicated

Before moving further, connect your compressor. Then, turn it on. How you turn your air compressor on may vary from model to mode. 

Most of the time, the basics are pretty similar. Make sure the pressure power switch is indicated to ‘off’ before you plug the compressor in. Connect the cord and then turn the switch on. 

2. Let the tank fill

Wait till the tank completely fills with compressed air once you’ve turned it on. You can ensure your tank is filled when you hear a certain noise. It usually doesn’t take much time to fill an air compressor tank.

To fill 125 to 135 psi, it will take around 5 minutes. The higher level it reaches, the longer it will take to fill the rest of the tank.

3. Make certain the tools are compatible

When compatibility comes into question, it indicates psi compatibility. Your tools must be compatible with your air compressor. If your air tool has a psi higher than your compressor, you will have to find an air compressor with a higher psi capacity.

However, if your air tools have a lower psi than your compressor, there’s no reason you can’t proceed with the same compressor.

Using an air compressor that can’t match your air tool psi level can result in damaging both the tools and the air compressor.

4. Connect the tool you need and hose

Now that your air tool’s PSI is compatible with the air compressor, you need to connect the air hose with the air tool. Then, connect the air hose to the air compressor.

You’ll spot a port for connecting the air hose with the air tool. However, if you cannot locate the port, read the instruction manual and find out where the port is.

Connecting the tool and hose can differ from model to model so it’s always better to check out for manufacturer’s instruction.

5. Adjust the pressure regulator

Once you’ve completed the steps I mentioned above, you can start adjusting the pressure regulator on your air compressor. You need to locate the knob first.

Most of the time, the knob is located on the right side of your regulator. But, it can differ from model to model. Generally, the knob features a locking mechanism.

You have to pull out the knob when you want to unlock it. Pushing the lock will lock the knob again.

Pull out the knob if your compressor has this feature. If you want to raise the pressure, turn the knob clockwise. You will notice the pressure increasing. Find your desired amount of pressure and push the knob to lock.

Likewise, if you want to decrease the pressure, you need to turn the knob anti-clockwise. You will see the pressure decreasing and when you’ve reached your desired place, push in the knob to lock it in place.

How Does A Pressure Regulator Work?

When the lid opens by the springs located inside the compressors’ body, the pressure gets transferred inside the chamber through the valve’s small tube. An air compressor stores energy as air in its tank by extracting power from diesel, gasoline, or electric motors.

A monitor displays the pressure in its tank. This monitor comes in handy when you want to adjust the pressure with the actuator. When the controller’s pressure changes, it sets the diaphragm into motion.

When there’s a lack of circulation pressure, the air compressor can only circulate hot gas through it.

Reading A Pressure Regulator

Only monitoring the arrow sign on your air compressor’s pressure regulator is enough for reading. The arrow starts moving when you turn on the compressor indicating the pressure is increasing.

Once you’ve set the compressor, you must inspect the psi requirements on the air tools you wish to use with this air compressor. The air tool’s psi and the compressor’s pressure should correspond with each other.

This is extremely crucial to safeguard your air tool from damage and ensure optimal air compressor performance.

Air Compressor Pressure Regulator

Why Is Pressure Adjustment Essential?

When there’s not enough pressure inside the air compressor regulator, there will only be a hot air movement through the air compressor. If the regulator’s pressure is beyond its upper limit, it will damage the air compressor’s vital components.

Hence, to prevent the air compressor and air tools from any damage, the flow of air through the hose must receive proper attention. Besides, it’s also crucial to make pressure adjustments along the way as you continue to work with your air tools.

Adjusting the pressure is also essential because it will prolong your air tools’ durability when you operate your air tools as per the instructions. Pressure adjustment reduces air usage lowering the energy cost.

And finally, adjusting the pressure helps reduce your air compressor’s cycle frequency, which increases the compressor’s life.

Importance Of PSI Compatibility

PSI or pounds per square inch is an air tool requirement to operate efficiently. Your air compressor psi must correspond to the air tool’s specification. Without the balance between these two, you’ll end up damaging your air tools.

For a practical example, let’s assume you’re using a staple gun that requires 90 psi to run efficiently. But, you are using a supply of 70 psi from your air compressor. As a result, you won’t get the depth you desire using that staple gun.

However, if you use more than 90 psi with the same staple gun, it’ll cause your tool to get damaged.

When you are using a compressor featuring multiple pressure regulators, make sure that each regulator matches the specification of the tool you’re using. Failure to do so will result in damaging your sir tool.

Some users believe that using air tools with a lower psi doesn’t matter. But, experts always suggest you follow the air tool’s manual instruction if you want the most efficient performance. Moreover, it increases the durability of your tools.

That being said, I can’t emphasize the importance of psi compatibility enough. If you want durability and efficiency, you’ll make sure your tools are compatible with your air compressor. It’s that simple.

Pressure Switch And Pressure Regulator

Let’s get the difference between a pressure switch and a pressure regulator straight. People often get them confused.

The pressure switch is for safeguarding the compressor from any unwanted over or under pressure. It saves your compressor from potential damage to the components.

The pressure switch has two functions. In case the air compressor’s pressure reaches the maximum or upper limit, the switch automatically shuts the compressor off to avoid over-air accumulation.

Similarly, in case the air compressor’s pressure drops to its minimum or lower point, the switch automatically starts the compressor that starts generating air. The pressure switch operates these functions with preset settings.

So, you can distinguish how the pressure switch differs from the pressure regulator in functionality.

Maintaining Pressure Regulator

Maintaining the pressure regulator is just as important as keeping your air compressor in a proper condition. Many times, pressure regulators fail to do what they are supposed to do due to the lack of maintenance.

One of the most common issues many users face is crack development in the regulator. Crack can develop because of constant downstream pressure moving through the regulator. Cracks result in leaking air out of the air compressor.

Air leaking not only reduces your compressor potentiality but also affects your air tool performance.

If you don’t use your air compressor very frequently, there’s a risk of your regulator drying out. Even if you don’t need to use your compressor, occasional runtime can help your compressor’s pressure regulator last a long time.

However, in case you fail to protect your pressure regulator, you can always replace it. It’s relieving that you won’t have to spend much money to change the regulator.

Misconceptions About Pressure Regulator

Most people believe that the compressor’s pressure regulator can increase and decrease the pressure beyond its capabilities. However, it’s a common misconception. A pressure regulator cannot increase the pressure above the set point.

You have to set the controlling knob below the tank capacity if you want a steady airflow. When the compressor is large enough to produce more pressure than the air tool needs, you can set the actuator to the tool’s minimum operating pressure.

Doing this will let you use the tool most efficiently. Different air tools require different pressures depending on their functions and operating system. Proper adjustment is compulsory if you don’t want to damage your tools and compressor.

Say, for example, you are using a piece of equipment that requires 60 psi to run efficiently. Using a supply of 80 psi will damage the tool as it’s not created to handle that much pressure. Again, if you adjust the actuator lower than 60 psi, the equipment won’t operate properly.

Some people have second thoughts about multiple pressure regulators. They’re not sure whether it’s a good idea or not. However, if you wish to use your air compressor for diverse purposes, multiple regulators can be more convenient.

Risks And Benefits of Pressure Adjustment

Most air compressor comes with the facility to calibrate pressure according to your necessity. Moreover, you can improve your efficiency by properly utilizing this feature.

Many times you’ll come through situations where you will need lower air pressure than your air compressor is capable of. Being able to cut down the pressure here is a must-have feature. When you decrease the pressure to an optimal level, the maintenance cost reduces over time.

The risks induce when it comes to increasing the power. Crossing the safety limit of your air compressor only to get your work done quickly involves potential risks.

Power increase risks are not limited to damaging your air compressor and air tools. It can be fatal. There’s a probability of your compressor to get explode if you increase the power above the safety level.

Even though the compressor’s tank is structured to withstand high pressure, when you’ve used your compressor for some time, it’s always risky. As time goes by and your air compressor tank ages, it becomes more vulnerable to dangerous pressure limits.

Can A Safety Valve Keep The Air Pressure In Check?

Sometimes the pressure inside the compressor tank exceeds its maximum level. It can result in an unwanted and dangerous situation. A safety relief valve in the unit can avoid such situations.

A safety valve will get into action in case the air pressure touches a dangerous level. A little spring in the system will get overwhelmed by the pressure and jolt the spring into releasing the excess air. Air pressure then comes back to the safety level.

The safety valve will get involved around 140 to 150 psi. Most of the time, air tools require a lot less pressure range so it’s hardly a concern. Usually, the air tools operate between 70 to 90 psi.

Are Pressure Regulators Available In All Air Compressors?

Most air compressors come with a pressure regulator on them. However, some may not have it. The absence of a pressure regulator does not indicate that the air compressor is weaker than the ones with pressure regulators.

It simply indicates that the machine is structured in a way to perform efficiently without a pressure regulator. Besides, these types of air compressors can also come with some other kind of regulating system other than a pressure regulator.

What Are Others Saying?

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Do I need multiple pressure regulators for an air compressor?

If you intend to use multiple tools simultaneously, it’s better to have different regulators for each tool. If you are using only one tool at once, you can use the same pressure regulator.

Q. Does the pressure switch control the pressure regulator?

No, it doesn’t. A pressure switch is your safeguard tool. It prevents your air compressor from reaching a potential danger level. There’s no need to adjust your pressure switch.
A pressure regulator, on the other hand, needs adjusting according to tool specs.

Q. How much air pressure do I need to operate air tools?

Most air tools function between 70 to 90 psi. Check your air compressor psi compatibility before you use the air tools.

Q. How does an air compressor work?

Air compressors force air into a container and pressurize it. The air is then forced into the tank where pressure builds up. The compressed air is then used as energy when released.

More interesting information:

Final Verdict

Each air compressor comes with different and versatile features. Almost all of them feature pressure regulators. After all, this is what controls the airflow. But, you must ensure that you adjust the air compressor pressure regulator properly to make sure the air tool psi is compatible.

That was everything you should know about how to adjust air compressor pressure regulator. Remember that your safety comes first, then everything else.

Before you buy your machine, make sure the compressor you are buying is perfect for the job. Also, don’t forget to check the psi your manufacturer recommended.

Leave a Comment