Why is My Air Compressor Not Building Pressure

If your air compressor is not building pressure, don’t panic! Below, we will talk about the different reasons why this could be happening. 

Air compressors are fantastic tools. You can use them in construction, manufacturing, agriculture, and home use. They can fill tires, power supply to an air tool, and much more.

A key component of air compressors is building pressure to force out air. Sometimes, air compressor pumps struggle to build pressure or can’t build pressure at all.

An air compressor not building pressure is a problem that makes the air compressor useless. Therefore, it would be best if you fixed an air compressor not building pressure as fast as possible to resume your work.

Here at Air Power Equipment Co, we’ve identified some reasons why an air compressor runs but doesn’t build pressure and how to fix an air compressor not building pressure safely.




Air Compressor not building pressure schulz 3025 2Broken Intake Valve

With a broken compressor intake valve, your air compressor will still draw air in, but most of it will blow back out from where it came. Your tank will reach a fraction of its capacity when this happens.

How to Fix a Broken Intake Valve

Take out the air intake port filter and feel if any air is blowing back out. If it is, then your intake valve plates are likely broken. 

Your best bet is to visit the compressor repair shop for a remedy. But, first, the compressor must be pieced apart to identify the issue.

Failure in the Pressure Pump Valve 

When the pressure pump valve fails, air will enter the tank on the compression stroke, immediately flowing out of the compressor as it tries to fill with more air. Air flows where there is the least resistance.

Cheaper air compressors have cheaper valves more prone to failure after usage. You can tell your compressor is having pump valve issues when it caps out at a specific pressure lower than it should, despite how long you run it.

How to Fix a Pressure Pump

Like a broken intake valve, the best solution may be to take it into a compressor repair shop. But, first, you must remove the compressor to identify the issue and diagnose a solution correctly.

Broken Compressor Gasket

Gaskets separate the flow of pressurized air and intake air. They break down over time. A broken gasket leads to your compressor not reaching max pressure. 

How to Fix It a Broken Compressor Gasket

The issues caused by a broken compressor gasket are similar to those caused by broken intake valves and failing pressure compressor pump valves. 

Therefore, you may be experiencing a combination of these failures when experiencing air compressor issues. If you have to take apart your compressor to locate the source of the problem, it’s worth replacing all of these parts at the same time if possible.

Failure of the Compressor Piston Seal

A piston seal contains a filter that prevents dust parcels from entering the air compressor. It also has rings that are seals that stop oil from the oil fill tube from dripping into the compressor. 

Old rings can leak air pressure, preventing your compressor from reaching max pressure. 

How to Fix Compressor Piston Seal

Regular maintenance is the best way to prevent this from happening. However, if it goes too long without fixing, metal can grind against metal, and oil can leak into your compressor tank. 

Swap out old rings with new ones at a compressor repair shop, and you’ll be ready to go. Since this repair doesn’t require a complete disassembling of the compressor (that is, if the oil hasn’t leaked into the tank or if the metal hasn’t come in contact with other metal), you should be able to do this repair yourself if you have enough experience. 

However, Air Power Equipment Co recommends visiting a compressor repair shop to get the best results.

Broken Check Valve

A check valve stops compressed air from flowing back into the pump. If your tank reaches high pressure with a broken check valve, it might automatically shut off. 

The valve pressure switch should cut out pressure when max pressure is reached while running. However, it should not be releasing air if max pressure is not reached.

How to Fix a Broken Check Valve

If air leaks out of the unloader valve when the compressor is turned off, you have a faulty check valve. With an hour of labor and an ordered part, you can repair this type of issue by yourself if you have experience.

Air compressor pressure pumpsWays to Regularly Maintain your Compressor to Prevent these Issues

  1. Check Your Filters

    Keep your filters clean. Inspect for debris and dust buildup. Replace filters as recommended or as you see necessary.

  2. Do A Pump Test

    This will show you how long your compressor takes to reach maximum pressure. First, empty your tank and measure how long it takes to reach the needed PSI. Different compressors have different maximum pressures, so refer to your owner’s manual to know what yours is.

  3. Examine Belts

    Some compressors have a belt drive, much like a car. An old belt could be the reason why you have low pressure. However, an old or damaged belt could also make noise, adding to the already loud sounds produced by an air compressor.

In conclusion

As we laid out, there are many ways that your air compressor can break or fail, leading to low air pressure. 

The good thing is many of these issues are related or happen concurrently. This means a single visit to a repair shop can solve the problem and reduce the likelihood of it happening again in the immediate future.

And you can solve some issues at home with the right tools and expertise.

If you need an air compressor repair or need advice on fixing it yourself, call Air Power Equipment Co today. We have a team of experienced professionals who will be happy to help you.


Air Power Equipment Company in Oklahoma City (OKC), is the leading source for new air compressor sales and used air compressor sales throughout the country. We specialize in rotary screw air compressor sales and reciprocal air compressor sales. Air Power Equipment Company is also the best source for air compressor service and air compressor parts in Oklahoma.  If you are looking for new air compressors, used air compressors, air compressor parts, or air compressor service call Air Power Equipment Company OKC. We are experts with all brands of air compressor equipment and we are a stocking distributor of air compressor brands like FS Curtis Air Compressors, Champion Air Compressors, Campbell Hausfeld Air Compressors, Kellogg Air Compressors, American Air Compressors, Quincy Compressor and many more. Call us at (405) 445-1216 – we have what you need, and at the best price you will find.