When it comes to air compressors, the all-important indicator of its functionality is CFM, referring to cubic feet per minute. A higher CFM means the compressor pushes out air at a higher velocity. When looking up the CFM for your air compressor, you might find the terms SCFM or ACFM which refer to the short form of Standard cubic feet per minute and average cubic feet per minute respectively. An important consideration as you own an air compressor for longer is that you need to always have a higher rate of CFM than needed.
How to increase CFM on an air compressor
Combine two compressors
A common solution many choose is to buy another compressor and hook it up to the current tool. While this can lead to potential overheating problems or complete failure of either compressor, this is worth a try if you have a spare compressor.
Step 1: Gather your equipment
- Male to Female connector
- Male to Male connector
- Pressure cable with a male connector on the end
Step 2: Create your compressor connector
Taking the male to female and male to male connectors, connect these together tightly, potentially sealing with some form of sealant if you want to be completely assured against leaks.
Step 3: Connect to the initial compressor
Hooking up your pressure cable to the output of your compressor, connect one end of the connector made in the previous step to the opposing end of the cable.
Step 4: Bridge two compressors
The other end of your connector should now be connected to the input valve of your other compressor.
Step 5: Run compressors in unison
Now that both units are connected you can turn both on and each compressor will work in sync to produce a higher CFM. This should work with a back-up safety of both compressors switching off automatically if the pressure gets too high in either.
Increase time for pressure build
A more economical method involves allowing more time for the compressor to maintain tank pressure. In order to exercise this option, you simply need to examine the regulator on your tool. Lower the regulator to the lowest setting possible for the job required, reassessing this as you use the compressor more. This will significantly boost the lifespan of your compressor, by allowing more time for the air to be repurposed into the compressor during use.
Why do you need higher CFM?
How to get more air pressure from a compressor
A good rule of thumb when you are finding your compressor simply won’t give you enough pressure is to consider the tool you are using with it. Many of the smaller affordable compressors will provide 90 psi but this will be pushing the machine very hard, while your tool may only require 30 psi or 40 psi to function. If you find your compressor struggling during normal operation with a lower psi tool, simply lower the pressure valve to a level that suits your tool. This will ensure more consistent pressure and reduce the detrimental strain on your compressor. For those unsure of where the pressure is changed from, there is usually a knob on top of the regulator gauge.
A common example of this problem is using a smaller compressor for a sandblaster, these usually require 6 CFM if not more, yet smaller compressors can reach 3CFM on a good day. By using the standard settings of the compressor, there will be very little air coming out of the tool until the compressor shuts off. This is because the compressor can’t take air in fast enough to replace the air pumped out at this high pressure. However, halving this pressure will produce a more consistent stream of airflow, ensuring you can use the tool albeit at less strength.
What is the best way to expand my air compressors lifetime of use?
While an air compressor may seem like a pretty simple device, there are a lot of considerations you need to make when operating to ensure you don’t burn the machine out.
As with any device under intense pressure while operating, the temperature of the operating space makes a big impact on how well it will operate and how long it’s lifespan will be. This is especially important for air compressors as the temperature of the air which is being taken in will affect how well the compressor operates. The best practice is to have a fan pointed at the compressor to lower the temperature while operating or to ensure the working space sits around 20 degrees Celsius.
If you are using an air compressor on a stuffy worksite you are likely to encounter a noisier compressor while operating, not to mention one which will likely break down. Dirty pollutants will get stuck in the machinery of an air compressor very quickly and start to build up. Ensure you are operating in a clean space.
It’s pretty simple, water and machinery don’t mix, but with air-powered tools this ethos works a bit differently. Not only is direct exposure to water a problem, but humidity as well. Humidity will likely force your compressor to start rusting as well as reducing the storage capacity of air through building up on the inside of the compressor. Make sure you are in a humidity-free area when working with an air compressor.