An air compressor is a powerful piece of equipment. With an air compressor and the right tools, you can perform all kinds of high-power mechanical tasks that you would not be able to carry out otherwise . So, it’s no surprise that one of the most powerful tools in your workspace is also one of the loudest.
While there are many steps you can take to quiet an oil less air compressor, some of the most common and most effective things are the use of an intake muffler, adding a sound blanket, isolating the machine, and performing regular maintenance.
Air compressors can be as loud as 90 decibels. For a little perspective, the average conversation volume level is about 60 decibels. While that doesn’t sound like much of a difference, you have to keep in mind the decibels are a logarithmic scale, not a linear one. This means every point higher is twice as much. So, 61 decibels is twice as loud as 60 decibels.
Why Is My Air Compressor So Loud?
There are several factors that come into play when considering the noise level of a given air compressor and where that noise comes from. The most common elements of an oil-less air compressor that generate noise are air intake and exhaust, as well as the compressor stages themselves. Ultimately, friction is the source of the noise.
The loudest type of air compressor would definitely have to be the older, reciprocating piston variety. There is, however, a particular type of compressor that is a lot quieter. They are called rotary screw compressors.
These compressors feature a sound-resistant design because their rotors only move in only one direction rather than violently shaking back and forth. Oil-less air compressors are a sub-type of rotary screw compressors, but because they don’t have any kind of lubrication, they can be a bit loud.
There is great news, however. As it turns out, there are a few simple tricks that you can do that will quiet your equipment significantly.
In this article, we are going to cover 5 things that you can do to quiet an oil-less air compressor. The tips provided in this article are all things that you can do to reduce the volume of your compressor while maintaining its production capacity.
1.Use An Intake Muffler to Quiet An Oil-less Air Compressor
Your car is able to run quietly because it uses a muffle on its exhaust. In a car, the intake is not the loudest part of the system, so a muffler is not needed on the intake, but oil-less air compressors obviously work far differently than an automobile.
That’s because most of the sound does not come from the outlet of these machines. In fact, most of the sound is produced at the intake of these machines and in the compressor stages themselves.
So, simply attach some sort of muffling apparatus to your oil-less compressor intake to decrease noise levels by about 2 decibels. Intake mufflers also generally include some form of additional silencing components and an air filter.
2.Simple Accessories To Reduce Compressor Noise
There are few simple, low-cost modifications that you can perform that will go a long way in reducing your oil-less air compressor’s noise. One of the easiest things you can do is cover them in a sound blanket. A sound blanket is a simple, innovative way to control unwanted noises directly at their source.
These are high-quality, temperature resistant blankets that are made to allow air flow in and out of the blanket while blocking most of the sounds.
Due to its inherent lack of lubrication, an oil-less air compressor’s piston-cylinder area is known to get quite loud. So, covering this area with a sound blanket will effectively absorb much of the sound and thus reduce the noise level of your oil-less air compressor to an acceptable level.
Another thing you can do is install some rubber grommets. This will help prevent vibrations which will result in a quite significant drop in noise from your oil-less air compressor.
Rubber has always been used as an extremely effective sound absorption material. So, if you add some rubber grommets to your machine, it will bring down the volume a few decibels.
3.Isolate Your Oil-less Air Compressor
This may seem like a no-brainer, but isolating your compressor is an effective workaround to an oil-less air compressor that is too noisy. If the sound blanket is not enough, a great way to isolate your machine is to create a soundproof enclosure around it.
If you do that, make sure to design it with cutouts for your intake, exhaust and power outlets in mind. Doing this will drastically reduce the sound coming from your oil-less air compressor significantly.
So, if your work area permits and you are able to locate your compressor a decent distance from your workspace, then that is obviously the cheapest and easiest solution.
If a loud oil-less air compressor is in a completely different room than the one you are working in, chances are it will seem very quiet. In fact, just moving the compressor around a corner can reduce decibel levels by as much as 25%.
4.Clean And Maintain Your Oil-less Air Compressor To Keep It Quiet
This is another simple thing you can do. If you regularly clean and perform regular maintenance on your oil-less air compressor, that will ensure that it doesn’t get any louder than it already is.
Even though oil-less air compressors do not require oil in the traditional sense, they still have moving parts that need to be lubricated. So, make sure that all metal parts of the compressor are regularly oiled and lubricated and free from any sort of visible debris or clogging agents.
Also, there are other benefits to doing these types of regular maintenance. If you change your oil-less air compressor’s gaskets, vales, and belts when they are recommended to be changed by the manufacturer will not only keep your machine a lot quieter, but it will also ensure that it has a long life.
5.If All Else Fails, Ask An Expert
The internet has really changed the world of DIY. These days, the average oil-less air compressor owner can perform routine maintenance, quick fixes, and even a great deal of troubleshooting by using free, internet resources.
If your air compressor is a lot louder than it used to be and none of the tips here have been able to reduce its volume, then you may need to have a professional take a look at it.
A professional will be able to analyze your machine and find out exactly why your oil-less air compressor is so loud.
Regardless of what your issue may be, professional air compressor repairmen have seen it all when it comes to noisy oil-less air compressors, so you can rest-assured that they will be able to get to the bottom of it.
So, How Do Oil-Less Air Compressors Work?
Step 1. Air Intake
Oil-less air compressors begin just like any other compressor by taking in outside air through an unloader valve. That air is then passed through an air intake filter where it then moves to the rest of the system.
Step 2. First Compressor Stage
The average compressor element functions at around 2.5 bar (37 PSI). Compressing the air to even this low level will increase the air’s temperature by up to 180 degrees. So, the air produced by an oil-less air compressor is around twice the temperature of air produced by their oil-lubricated counterparts.
Step 3. Intercooler Stage
After the air is compressed, pistons then push the compressed, hot air to an intercooler. Here, the air is cooled down so that it can be further compressed in the second stage.
Intercoolers are essential components of oil-less air compressors. Their first job is to cool down air, but they also allow air to be compressed at much farther PSI’s in two-stage pumps. Also, the cooling stage of an oil-less air compressor helps put less strain on the compressor’s second stage.
Step 4. Second Compressor Stage
At this point, the air is sent back into a second air compressor chamber. Here, it is further compressed by a high-pressure element. The maximum pressure that is achieved in this phase is generally from 116 to 145 PSI.
Step 5. Prep and Aftercooler
An aftercooler is exactly what it sounds like. It cools the air once more after its final phase of compression. As the air flows out of the second stage and into the aftercooler, it will pass through a check valve that prevents air from flowing backwards.
At this point the process is complete and the cooled, compressed air is either stored in a tank or sent directly to attached pneumatic equipment.
Air compressors are among the most powerful pieces of equipment that you will find in a shop. So, it kind of makes sense for these machines to be loud. With a little research and work, however, you can find ways to quiet an oil less air compressor.
Something as simple as regular maintenance will help keep your oil less air compressor quiet. In addition to keeping your machine in good shape to reduce noise, you could always add an intake muffler or even a sound blanket. If none of those things are good enough for you, you may want to consider isolating the machine.
Remember, air compressors can get as loud as 90 decibels, which could damage your ears under prolonged exposure.
Also, loud noises make it hard to communicate in the workplace and that may pose its own set of risks and hazards. We hope this article helped you learn how you can bring down the noise level of your air compressor. Thanks for reading!