How to increase CFM on air compressor

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Depending on your needs, you may want to learn how to increase CFM on air compressor.

For instance, you might want to bump up the CFM (cubic feet per minute) to help the compressor kick on better while spray painting or match up to a bigger pressure washer.

The good news is that you can supercharge your air compressor without necessarily breaking the bank.

Increasing CFM on air compressor

And everything should work great, if you complete the procedures I will be explaining in this write-up.

Read on to discover these lifesaver tips.

How to increase CFM on air compressor: step by step guide

Frankly, there aren’t many ways in which you can ramp up the CFM in your compressor away from the 2 common suggestions -changing the pump and/or motor size.

Nonetheless, a couple of proposals work, if you really want to fire up the CFM (sometimes called the SCFM- standard cubic feet per minute).

These are the concepts I want to share with you.

Here comes the first one….

Bring down the pressure to the lowest level

You can experiment by dialing down the machine’s pressure on the regulator to the least pressure level allowable for your tool to run.

Let’s examine the impact of this move:

When you reduce the pressure, the air charge will run longer before your compressor can restart to push the pressure back up.

This causes the compressed air to obtain a higher density leading to an elevation in the CFM, if the unit is running at optimum efficiency.

It may not be a giant boost but it could make a welcome difference when working with continuous demand tools such as air sanders.

Mount your second compressor

If you’re not impressed with the gain you get from the previous method, try this: simply set up a second compressor machine (assuming you own one) and link it to the unit you regularly use.

The operation is fairly straightforward and can bring wonderful results if you get the setup right.

Speaking of setup, you can plumb the two compressors to one main.

The other thing you need to remember is to put check valves in the line from the compressors (each line) to the tee.

This prevents air from one machine from flowing downstream and moving out of the un-loader valve on your second compressor.

You should ensure this as long as both lines are on a common tee and the output port from the tee hooks to the air main.

As I said, this could be a genius way of increasing the CFM. 

But how does it work?

Well, having two air compressors run in parallel (and supply your tools) will expand the available flow and likely produce extra CFM.

This means that even an expensive ‘backup’ compressor may trigger enough CFM to run most of the tools I have previously mentioned.

Best of all, the second only kicks in when the first is ‘overwhelmed’ – with the proper switch settings- thereby reducing unwarranted wearing.

The one downside with this approach is that it may take more time to fill the two tanks with air risking overheating and other maintenance issues.

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Increasing CFM on air compressor: The cost question

You must think of the cost implications before settling on a final solution.

For example, with the second plan, the additional compressor will occupy extra room besides requiring extra wiring not to mention plumbing.

Not only that: there could be potentially a hike in your electrical bills.

Plus, you have to pay for any emerging maintenance problems after modifying the configuration.

That’s why I am insisting that the ideal situation is you trying to play around with the pressure settings on your current unit.

Can adding an extra tank increase CFM in an air compressor?

When debating how to increase CFM on air compressor, some assert that an extra tank would be the best answer.

Well, it can be useful since a larger storage will help it run longer before your compressor turns on and this might yield an extra minute (or two) on your tool at full pressure.

But that’s just about it folks-it won’t heighten the CMF of your unit no matter the number (or size) of the auxiliary tanks.

Another negative is that it will take a little while longer to fill back up.

Subsequently, your best bet remains the fixes we have discussed above.

How to increase CFM on air compressor: what you should know

Even as you test out the above ideas, there are things that you should keep in mind.

I want to point out these issues because you can easily damage the compressor, your tools, or possibly put yourself in grave danger if you overlook them.

Here are the key points:

  • In lowering the pressure, avoid jumping to the lowest settings instantly. That’s because a drastic pressure drop can worsen energy consumption. 

You should, therefore, dial down gradually while observing the outcome at each limit.

  • For the second method, adjust your pressure switch settings occasionally to avoid overworking the same compressor as the other sits idle (I already hinted that this helps balance wearing).
  • Also, it’s never advisable to alter, get rid of, or block a relief valve when making changes to the compressor. These are strategically positioned to help guarantee your safety when using the machine.
  • Still, don’t string hoses across floors/aisles are they can be prone to causing trips or falls- it’s best to suspend them overhead (when possible).
  • Before powering on the machine after modifications, check that you have not pulled any tools at the trigger to avoid tools damage or an accident.

Final thoughts

I hope I have explained how to increase CFM on air compressor sufficiently and that the procedures will be beneficial to you.

If you don’t get a reprieve, do your math and find the most cost-effective way out.

In fact, if you’re using the compressor frequently for demanding jobs, it is better to budget for a compressor with higher CFM.

Having said that, 2 stage compressors outclass their single-stage counterparts so if you’re considering an upgrade, start researching about dependable 2 stage models.

As always, I will be waiting for your comments or questions.

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