Compressed air — the “fourth utility” — is a vital part of most industrial operations. Since compressed air powers so many machines and processes, any downtime due to equipment malfunction can be devastating to productivity, reputation, reliability — and the bottom line.

While it is, of course, best to avoid downtime as much as possible, it is also a fact that downtime is inevitable. When it occurs, the instinct may be to repair the air compressor. In some cases, this is the right choice, but in others, replacement may be the most efficient, cost-effective option, especially when considering the life cycle of the compressor.

Warning signs of failure for an air compressor include air leaks, inconsistent pressure, blown fuses or breakers, difficulty starting or stopping the compressor, and standard maintenance red flags such as abnormal noise. Throughout this article, we will answer the repair vs. replacement question in cases when equipment breakdowns occur.


Repair vs. Replacement: Replacing an Air Compressor

There are many cases when replacing an air compressor is preferable to repair, especially in terms of cost, time and overall efficiency. Replacement is advantageous in the following scenarios:

  • The same equipment has failed multiple times: If a piece of machinery is the cause of several downtime incidents, it may be nearing the end of its rated service life or it may be faulty. In either case, replacement would cost less than continuing the constant cycle of repairs.
  • The equipment is outdated and not up to current energy efficiency standards: Many newer air compressors offer vastly superior energy efficiency compared to older models. If a stale piece of equipment fails frequently enough, the operational cost savings of replacing it with a more efficient compressor will nearly always outweigh the short-term cost benefits of repair.
  • Replacement parts for the equipment are difficult to source: After a certain period, OEMs begin to deprecate part availability for older equipment, as it is no longer cost-effective for them to produce and stock these components. If you are finding it more difficult — and time-consuming — to source replacement parts, it may be time to consider investing in a new compressor.
  • The equipment is breaking down due to overwork: If your operations have scaled up but you are still using a smaller compressor, the equipment may be failing due to overwork. Consider it an opportunity to invest in future growth by replacing the compressor with a higher-capacity unit.

If you do replace a compressor, keep in mind that it’s a good idea to keep the older equipment on hand as an emergency backup or supplemental unit, if feasible.


Repair vs. Replacement: Repairing an Air Compressor

In other situations, repairing an air compressor could be the more beneficial choice. You may want to repair in the following scenarios:

  • The repair is relatively simple and surface-level: In spite of regular maintenance and equipment updates, failure can still occur for a number of reasons. If an issue is relatively easy to identify and remedy, and does not appear indicative of a deeper issue, it is usually more cost-effective to proceed with the repair.
  • It is a first-time failure for relatively new equipment: Far from a sign of a “lemon,” downtime with new equipment is moderately common and can present a useful opportunity to recalibrate or fine-tune the compressor to operate in your infrastructure. If equipment is fairly new and has not broken down before, it is usually advantageous to repair it.
  • The repair can occur with spare parts on hand, or those which are easy to source: If you have the spares on hand or can easily acquire them without an extensive search or premium payment, then a repair is often the right choice. 

Air Compressors From Kaishan

When you decide to replace an air compressor, choose the quality equipment at Kaishan. We work hard to provide you with the best terms in the market. In fact, our new compressors are priced at what it would cost to overhaul an existing piece of equipment! Our replacement compressors come with an industry-leading warranty, giving you a fresh start and peace of mind should future downtime occur. View our product line, or, for more information, contact us today.

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