AC Compressor as Air Compressor: Your Ultimate 411 Guide

Have you ever considered repurposing an AC compressor as air compressor? A brilliant idea, right? And entirely feasible! Here’s a comprehensive guide that will walk you through the entire process, while exploring the benefits and potential hitches you might encounter along the way. Strap in for this enlightening DIY journey!

AC Compressor as an Air Compressor
Image by TruckPR on Flickr

How an AC Compressor Can Be Used as an Air Compressor

If you’re reading this, you’re likely intrigued by how an AC compressor can be repurposed as an air compressor. It’s quite a fascinating process that leans heavily on the functional and operational similarities between these two devices. We’re going to delve into these similarities and then walk you through a step-by-step conversion guide.

Similarities Between AC Compressors and Air Compressors

Despite their differing uses, AC compressors and air compressors have significant similarities. Both machines are designed to compress gas and transport it through a system. They achieve this by reducing the volume of the gas (refrigerant in AC compressors and air in air compressors) and increasing its pressure. The mechanical design and operation of both machines also bear resemblance, giving us a sound basis for our conversion process.

Conversion Process: AC Compressor to Air Compressor

Transitioning an AC compressor into an air compressor involves several detailed steps. Remember, this process should be handled with utmost care to ensure safety. Below, we provide a comprehensive guide, covering each step in detail:

Step 1: Purging the AC Compressor

Firstly, you need to ensure that the AC compressor is completely purged of any residual refrigerant. This is a crucial step as the refrigerant can be hazardous if released into the atmosphere. A certified technician should do this to ensure that it is done safely and in compliance with environmental regulations. Never attempt to release refrigerant on your own as it could lead to serious health risks and legal repercussions.

Step 2: Removing the AC Compressor

Once the refrigerant has been safely removed, the next step is to detach the compressor from the AC unit. This process may require specific tools such as a wrench or a screwdriver. Make sure the AC unit is completely disconnected from the power source before beginning this step. Remember, safety first!

Step 3: Preparing the Compressor for Conversion

After successfully detaching the compressor, you will need to clean it thoroughly. This involves removing any remaining refrigerant oil and replacing it with standard air compressor oil. Using a solvent like acetone can help in cleaning the compressor. Make sure to dispose of the used oil and solvent responsibly.

Step 4: Setting up a Suitable Power Source

The next step involves setting up a power source for the converted compressor. This requires careful wiring and might need expert help if you are not familiar with electrical systems. The voltage and current requirements of the compressor should match with the power source. Consider using a power switch between the power source and the compressor for easy operation.

Step 5: Modifying Air Intake and Outlet

Now, you need to modify the compressor to take in and release air. You can achieve this by fitting an air filter at the intake port and an outlet check valve at the discharge port. These fittings should be properly sealed to avoid any air leakage. Remember to also install a pressure relief valve for safety purposes.

Step 6: Testing

Once you have made all the necessary modifications, it’s time to test your newly converted air compressor. Ensure you have a pressure gauge installed to monitor the air pressure output. Gradually increase the pressure and check for any leaks or malfunctions. If everything is working as expected, congratulations, you now have a functional air compressor!

Remember, if at any point during the conversion process you feel unsure or unsafe, seek assistance from a professional. Safety should always be your first priority.

Advantages of Using an AC Compressor as Air Compressor

Why would you want to convert your AC compressor into an air compressor? Well, there are a few compelling reasons, ranging from cost savings to environmental sustainability. Let’s explore these in detail.


Repurposing an old or unused AC compressor into an air compressor can result in considerable cost savings. Purchasing a new air compressor can be quite expensive, particularly if you require a heavy-duty model. By converting an AC compressor you already have, you can acquire a functioning air compressor without substantial expenditure, making this project a cost-effective solution.


In addition to saving money, you’re also making a positive environmental impact by repurposing an AC compressor. Every year, tons of old appliances end up in landfills, contributing to environmental pollution. By converting your AC compressor, you’re not only reducing waste but also extending the useful life of an appliance, which is a win for sustainability.

Check out these other related articles…

What Causes AC Compressor Clutch Failure? [Revealed]

Convert AC Compressor to Air Compressor: Your In-depth Guide

AC Compressor Buzzing: Unmasking That Pesky Noise

AC Compressor Freezing Up: Your Comprehensive Guide

AC Compressor Not Cycling: Here’s What You Need to Know

AC Compressor Vacuum Pump: Unraveling the Mystery

AC Compressor Working But Not Cooling: A Comprehensive Guide

Potential Challenges and Solutions

Converting an AC compressor to an air compressor is not without its challenges. However, with a proper understanding of what to expect and how to navigate these potential obstacles, the process becomes manageable and rewarding.

Challenges with the Conversion Process

While the conversion process can be rewarding, it isn’t without its challenges. Here, we’ll delve into these potential obstacles and provide practical solutions to overcome them:

Challenge 1: Proper Refrigerant Removal

One of the main challenges with the conversion process is the proper and safe removal of refrigerants from the AC compressor. Refrigerants are hazardous substances and their improper handling can cause harm to the environment and your health.


The best way to overcome this challenge is to hire a certified professional to purge the refrigerant. Do not attempt to do this yourself as it requires specialized tools and knowledge. Hiring a professional ensures that the refrigerant is safely and legally removed.

Challenge 2: Adapting to the Power Supply

Another hurdle that can be faced during the conversion is the adaptation of the compressor to a suitable power supply. AC compressors are usually designed to work with the specific power supply of the AC unit they are part of, and adapting them to a different power supply can be tricky.


For this issue, if you’re not experienced in electrical work, it’s advisable to consult with an electrician or a professional. They can help you understand the power requirements of the compressor and how to safely connect it to a power supply.

Challenge 3: Ensuring an Air-Tight System

Creating a system that is airtight is another common challenge. Any leaks can lead to reduced performance of the air compressor and even damage the compressor in the long run.


This challenge can be addressed by using suitable sealing methods like plumber’s tape and appropriate quality fittings for the intake and discharge ports. Always check for leaks after assembly and regularly during use. You can do this by applying soapy water to connections and looking for bubbles, which would indicate a leak.

Challenge 4: Ensuring Safety During Operation

Ensuring safety during the operation of the converted air compressor is paramount. As a compressor works under high pressure, any malfunction can lead to serious damage and injury.


Always install a pressure relief valve in your setup and regularly inspect it for proper operation. This valve is designed to release pressure in case it exceeds a certain limit, thus avoiding any potential disasters. Additionally, do not exceed the original pressure rating of the AC compressor when using it as an air compressor.

Remember, while these solutions help in overcoming the challenges, always prioritize safety. If you are unsure at any step, seek professional help.

Ensuring Safety During the Conversion

Safety is a paramount concern when undertaking any DIY project, particularly when it involves potentially dangerous equipment or substances. Here are some crucial safety measures, precautions, and best practices to follow during the conversion process:

Safety Measure 1: Appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Always use proper personal protective equipment when working on your conversion project. This includes safety glasses to protect your eyes from flying debris, gloves to protect your hands, and sturdy shoes to protect your feet. You should also consider wearing a dust mask if you’ll be producing a lot of dust or debris during the process.

Safety Measure 2: Correct Tool Usage

Make sure you’re using the right tool for each task, and that you’re using it correctly. Incorrect tool usage can lead to accidents and injuries. If you’re not sure how to use a tool, seek advice or look for resources online.

Safety Measure 3: Working in a Well-Ventilated Area

Always work in a well-ventilated area. This is especially important when purging refrigerant or when using solvents to clean the compressor.

Safety Measure 4: Handling of Hazardous Substances

Always handle hazardous substances with care. This includes the refrigerant in the AC compressor and any solvents you might use during the cleaning process. Make sure to store these substances properly and dispose of them responsibly after use.

Safety Measure 5: Electrical Safety

When working with electricity, always ensure the power supply is turned off before you start working. Use insulated tools and wear rubber gloves for additional protection. If you’re not experienced with electrical work, consider getting help from a professional.

Safety Measure 6: Pressure Safety

Compressed air can be dangerous if not handled correctly. Always ensure that the pressure relief valve is functioning correctly and never exceed the pressure limits of the compressor. Regularly check for leaks and resolve them immediately to prevent pressure buildup.

Remember, safety first. If at any point you’re unsure about something, seek professional advice. The benefits of successfully converting an AC compressor to an air compressor can only be enjoyed if the process is done safely.

Leave a Comment