When is the last time you thought about the gaskets inside of your compressor? For most people, the answer is not recently. However, if your compressor springs a leak, you will definitely be looking at your gaskets to figure out why they failed. Gaskets play an important role in keeping your compressor tightly sealed, but they also help reduce noise when your compressor is operating. Here’s what you need to know about the gaskets inside your compressor today:
What is a Gasket?
A gasket is basically a seal that fits between two surfaces of your compressor. Gaskets can be made of many different materials, but rubber, cork, and Teflon are common materials. There are also some gaskets made of compressed natural fibers. A gasket is used where the two halves of your compressor come together. Since even machined surfaces are not perfectly formed, placing two metal parts together would leave you with a bad seal. By filling that space with a slightly pliable gasket, the two metal halves can sink into the gasket material and form a perfect seal as you tighten the bolts. Some gaskets are even made with a flange to help both sides mate up properly.
Why are Gaskets Important?
For the purposes of compression, gaskets are extremely important. First and foremost, they keep the pressurized air inside the compressor from leaking out. A leaking compressor would be inefficient at best, and at worst it would be unable to keep up with the demands of the system it is serving. Thus, it is important to make sure that the compressor is not losing any air along its path. Gaskets also offer welcome protection to the parts within your compressor, keeping them from grinding against one another or becoming damaged due to the vibrations of the unit as this would only cause a further loss in efficiency.
In addition, gaskets provide a small amount of cushion between adjacent parts which helps reduce noise during operation. Compressors can be quite noisy as the motor kicks on and the unit begins to hum or vibrate with the forces inside. By adding gaskets, you can avoid even more noise caused by metal parts bouncing and rubbing together.
Caring for Gaskets
In order to keep your compressor working at peak efficiency, it is important that you are caring for your gaskets properly. Depending on the type of gaskets used in your compressor, there is usually a process for cleaning, inspecting, and lubricating gaskets during routine maintenance. Due to the heat and vibrations caused by the compressor itself, you will find that gaskets begin to wear down over time, and they can even dry out and become brittle. As this happens, you will notice that the compressor becomes noisy and there may be audible leaks from the location of the seal where the air is escaping. Cleaning and lubricating gaskets keep them from getting brittle and helps identify any cracks or breaks. When a gasket has failed, it should be replaced completely, which includes scraping both mating surfaces clean and applying the recommended adhesive to reseat the gasket.
Gaskets are vital to the health and function of your compressors. They are often overlooked as simple seals that fit between the moving parts, but in truth, they are the barrier that keeps your compressor running smoothly. If you have been ignoring your gaskets all this time, you should contact your technician and ask about pressure testing and inspections to make sure your compressors are still properly sealed. If you discover that you have bad gaskets in place, visit Compressors Unlimited today and ask one of our experts about the right parts to fit your unit.