February 10, 2023

Love, Lubricants, & Longevity

Love is in the air around this time every year- are you showing your compressed air system some love too? Let’s talk about the importance of lubricants and the longevity of your system.

Primary Functions of Lubricants

Wear-And-Tear Prevention

Lubrication affects so many internal aspects of your compressor, including gears, pistons, rotors, bearings, and many other vital organs to your machine. Lubrication is used to reduce the friction between these parts which lessens the wear-and-tear they receive over the years.

Temperature Reduction

Lubrication is also used to control internal temperature. It conducts heat to reduce internal temperatures and avoid overheating which can lead to shutdowns. While lubrication allows parts to move smoothly and decrease high temperatures, it also prevents the formation of varnish.

Varnish is a dark, sticky, thick substance that can accumulate and harden on interior surfaces as the lubricant breaks down, especially with a compressor that is running too hot. Air compressor varnish can increase wear-and-tear, plug ports/valves/filters, cause overheating, and attract other pollutants.

Lower Operating Costs

Finally, lubrication can reduce your operating costs. Because it lessens wear and tear and reduces heat inside your compressor, your compressor can operate more efficiently, also providing energy savings! It also reduces (or potentially eliminates) repair costs.

Longevity Maximization

In general, your compressor’s lifespan depends upon the use of high-quality lubricants.  Since lubrication of your machines provides the immediate benefits of reduced wear-and-tear, internal temperatures, and operating costs it yields the long-term benefit of a lengthened compressed air life! Not only will your compressor live a longer life, but it will continue to operate at a higher efficiency its entire lifespan compared to a compressor that is deprived of lubrication.

Different Kinds of Lubricants

  • Synthetic Hydrocarbons (POAs)
  • Polyol Esters (POEs)
  • Polyglycols (PAGs)
  • Blended
  • Food-Grade

Importance of Oil Sampling

Oil sampling is the process of analyzing your lubricant in your system to help optimize its performance. It is a general maintenance procedure to ensure your compressor stays in good health. Doing this regularly will help detect any issues early on, prevent any possible issues before they start, and extend your machine’s life!  There are multiple aspects you can takeaway from a proper oil sample such as the pH level of your lubricant, its acidity level, the viscosity of your lubricant, and contamination types & levels within your lubricant.  Benefits of oil sampling includes:

  • Reduced downtime and lost production
  • Proactive problem prevention
  • Lower repair costs
  • Indicates any extra wear-and-tear on bearings & internal parts
  • Extended compressor life
  • Maximized efficiency & reliability of your machinery
  • Extended lubricant life

Maintenance Tips

  • Check the oil level 3-4 times each week
  • Do not let oil levels drop too low. Always refill with oil if level starts dropping low
  • Do not overfill the compressor with oil
  • Inspect for leaks or oil pooling around the base of the compressor if oil levels are decreasing significantly and rapidly
  • Call for service immediately if an oil leak is detected
  • Oil degrades over time so change it at least once a year regardless of operating conditions and hours of operation
  • Conduct oil sampling regularly to detect any contaminants
    • If oil becomes contaminated or dirty, replace it immediately
  • Change your oil & flush old oil out of the system if:
    • It is thick or opaque
    • Discolored
    • Has visible grainy particles
    • Smells bad
  • Always have a clean oil filter
  • Invest in an oil/water separator and check it weekly to monthly while changing it quarterly to monthly
  • Always clean and try to prevent varnish buildup

Zorn Compressor’s Offerings

  • OEM Lubricants
  • Zorn Branded Lubricants
  • Aftermarket Lubricants
  • Petroleum Based or Synthetic Compressor Oils
    • Synthetic base stocks include PAO, POE, PAO/Poe blend, and PG
  • Food Grade Lubricants
  • Silicon Lubricant



Zorn is the Midwest leader of custom, engineered compressed air and vacuum solutions. We provide the best customer experience by understanding your applications and needs and offering an unparalleled commitment to customer satisfaction. 

Our comprehensive product and service solutions keep you running 24/7.

  • Reliable equipment
  • Trusted brands
  • Seamless, easy installation
  • Post-sales support
  • Local, 24/7 service

Our compressed air experts look forward to meeting you to discuss your equipment and support needs. Please contact us directly at (262) 695-7000 with any questions or to schedule service for your system moving forward.

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