We all know that Mother Nature can be unpredictable and on a construction site, it is one of the few variables that we have zero control over. Spring and fall are peak times for running air compressors compared to the extreme temperatures that come with the heat of summer and bitter cold of winter. Currently, we are in the prime time for construction work, and although equipment like air compressors run hotter during the summertime, they can still operate at peak performance as long as you take a few extra preventative measures.

Portable air compressors are the lifeline of any pneumatic tool utilized on the job – and the more effectively the air compressor runs, the more airflow that will go into the pneumatic tool, bringing the optimal amount of power the tool would need to perform, and perform well.


Maintenance is important, but even more so in extreme temperatures. It is vital to the lifespan of a portable air compressor for the operator to perform routine maintenance on it daily, weekly, monthly and annually. During the summer, depending on how high the heat index is on a day-to-day basis, the compressor may even need to be checked multiple times throughout the day, especially if its been running for hours at a time. The last thing a contractor wants is for the heart of the jobsite to stop pumping.

For your portable air compressor to perform at its peak during the summer follow these general guidelines to maximize uptime on the job site – even in extreme heat.

Fluid Levels

In hot weather it is critical that fluid levels be maintained properly on compressor oil, engine oil, and coolant. Extended life engine coolant should be checked every year and replaced every five years. This is true for all of Chicago Pneumatic’s portable diesel powered equipment. During summer months, fluids need to be checked and refilled more often.

No matter the season, jobsites typically are dusty and dirty. That debris gets kicked up into the air and sucked into the inner components of the compressor. It’s always important to regularly clean out any foreign particles, but during the summer months, extra attention needs to be focused on radiators, oil coolers, and fuel coolers. It is vital to make sure each of these is cleaned even more frequently, otherwise it will likely lead to overheating – and that doesn’t just go for compressors, but generators and light towers as well. An overheated unit will cause a lot of down time and frustration on a job site.

Use the Correct Fuel and Check Often

For the engines to operate properly, ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel and low-ash oils are required in the EPA iT4 and Tier 4 Final engines we use. It is also important to check fuel tanks and the oil level in the compressor often throughout the day to make sure both are at adequate levels. With the amount of heat during the summer, the compressor naturally works harder and therefore engines may use more oil in the higher temps of summer.


The Heat is Tough on HosesIMG_9905

Heat tends to take a particularly tough toll on hoses. All hoses should be checked regularly to make sure they have a good, secure connection. High heat temperatures can cause old hoses to rupture and automatically shut down the compressor. Although it is important to check hoses regularly during the summer months, hoses should also be checked biannually and replaced as required.

Cheap Oil Filters Can be Costly in the Long Run

As is with a lot of things, cheap rarely means better. This is certainly true for equipment and with something like a compressor that is the heartbeat of an operation, it is better to pay a little more than have the compressor shut down and lose hours of work on the jobsite. Make sure to use the proper oil filters for your compressor and engine. Several companies use cheaper aftermarket filters, which do not meet OEM specifications.

CP-1290_IMG_0030_edited-1Chicago Pneumatic provides service kits with one part number to be ordered and all maintenance filters are included in one box. Separate part numbers do not need to be sourced, saving time and money – we do everything in our power to provide convenience to you out on a jobsite. Chicago Pneumatic offers an extended compressor warranty that the customers can register for when the compressors are purchased. The program allows for a five year extended warranty on the rotary screw with the use of these service kits and following the CP recommended service intervals. This adds an additional value to the use of these service kits.


The heat can have a negative impact on equipment, but only if you let it. Taking the right preventative measures, especially during the summer months, will go a long way for the health of your compressor. Don’t lose downtime because of machine failure, instead take care of your equipment and maximize uptime, it will be much better for your bottom line and ROI.