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rotary screw air compressor

How to Clean a Rotary Screw Air Compressor

Table of Contents

A rotary screw air compressor is a type of air compressor that uses a rotating helical screw to transfer energy from the power source to the air being compressed. These are an important piece of equipment when it comes to powering pneumatic tools because they provide much higher airflow rates than piston compressors do. Without this, many tools would not be able to function properly. Cleaning your rotary screw air compressor is essential for maintaining its performance, so keep reading to find out how!


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Cleaning the outer case

The first step in maintaining your rotary screw air compressor is to clean the outer case. This can be done by wiping it down with a dry cloth and then spraying the cloth with compressed air to remove any debris on the surface. If there are stubborn stains or dirt, you may need to use some type of cleaners like soap and water or wax and grease remover.

For this particular cleaning method, be sure not to use too much soap, as this could damage the exterior of your equipment. Once you’ve cleaned the outer case, wipe it dry with a clean cloth or paper towel. Make it a point to check for any missing screws that may have become detached during cleaning.


Cleaning the inlet valve

The inlet valve of your rotary screw air compressor is the most important part of the machine. It controls how much air goes into the piston cylinder and regulates its speed. If it becomes clogged, the compressor will not be able to function properly and may even break down altogether. Therefore, it is essential that you clean this valve on a regular basis.

To do so, turn off the power to the compressor and unplug it from its power source before opening up the side panel of the unit. Remove any dirt, debris, or dust from inside the unit with a vacuum cleaner and use compressed air to remove any debris on top of or around the inlet valve. Then remove or replace any washers that are causing leaks.

When reinstalling the inlet valve, make sure that you turn it clockwise until it clicks into place and tightens all screws securely with an adjustable wrench. Turn on the power and check for leaks by spraying water overall connection points until there are no more drips coming out of them. When finished, close up your air compressor with your side panel and make sure all fasteners are tightened securely before you plug it back in!


Cleaning the outlet valve

Sometimes, dirt can build up in the outlet valve of your rotary screw air compressor and block the airflow. The airflow will be restricted and this will make it difficult to power tools.

To clean the outlet valve, you will need to remove the hex-head bolt on the outside of the air tank near the outlet valve. Once you do this, use a rag to wipe out any dirt that has accumulated in there. Be sure not to use an excessive amount of force or else you may damage components inside your air tank that can create leaks and other problems for your equipment.


Cleaning the cylinder head

The cylinder head is the protective cover that covers the air intake ports. It also protects the rotary screw shaft and provides a space for the compression coil spring. The area that should be cleaned is where the cylinder head screws onto the casing.


Cleaning the filter

A rotary screw air compressor’s filter is a critical component because it helps remove contaminants like water and dirt from the air. This prevents these contaminants from getting into the compressor and ruining the equipment.

The cleanliness of the filter directly affects the performance of your compressor, so you’ll want to clean it regularly. To do this, simply disconnect the filter from where it’s connected to the body of your compressor and use compressed air or a vacuum cleaner to remove any debris that has accumulated. You should also check for any cracks in the filter and replace it if necessary.



A clean compressor will run more smoothly and be less likely to break down, which is why it’s important to clean your compressor regularly. As a preventative measure, the exterior of the compressor should be wiped down with a wet cloth on a regular basis. If you use your compressor for a professional tradesperson, the filter should be checked and cleaned monthly, and the cylinder head should be checked and cleaned quarterly. If you notice any leaking or discolouration from your compressor, it needs to be serviced immediately by a qualified mechanic.


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