How to Use a Pancake Compressor

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Air compressors come in all shapes and sizes, and each has a task for which it is well suited. Pancake compressors are compact and portable, making them useful to the average homeowner who needs an air compressor that's easy to move from project to project. Pancake air compressors provide enough air to power the most common air tools that would be found in an average homeowner's arsenal. Proper use of these compressors is essential for your safety as well as their longevity.

Things You'll Need

  • Safety glasses
  • 115 volt electrical circuit
  • Air compressor hose
  • Air compressor tools
  • Plumber's tape
  • Adjustable wrench

Locate the regulator knob on the air compressor. Usually it is black and found near the air outlet. Turn it counterclockwise all the way to close it.

Connect your air hose to the air compressor. Depending on your setup, either snap it in to the quick-connect fitting or thread it onto the threaded outlet port. Quick-connect fittings make for fast change-outs.

Turn the on/off switch on your air compressor to the "Off" position. Off is usually when the switch is pointing upward.

Plug your pancake air compressor into a circuit that is suitable for the current draw of the compressor. Generally the circuit needs to be a dedicated 15 amp circuit.

Turn your on/off switch to the "Auto" position. This will allow your air compressor to fill the tank. It will automatically shut off when the pressure reaches the limit of the pressure switch.

Attach your desired tool to the other end of the air compressor hose. Depending on your setup, either snap it into the quick-connect fitting or thread it onto the end of the hose.

Grasp the pressure regulator knob and turn it clockwise until the pressure gauge reads the rated pressure for the air tool you are using.

Use your tools for their intended purpose. When finished using your air compressor, turn the on/off switch to the "Off" position.

When you're finished using the compressor, open the drain valve on the bottom of the tank to let the air out. It opens by turning a thumbscrew counterclockwise.

Unplug your air compressor and store for future use.

Tips & Warnings

  • Follow all instructions and guidelines that came with your air compressor.
  • If connecting your air hose and tools without quick connects, you will need to wrap the threads of the hose with plumber's tape and tighten with an adjustable wrench to make an airtight seal.
  • Wear safety glasses when operating your air compressor. Compressed air is dangerous and it can send flying debris into your eye that can cause permanent damage.

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