Air compressor noise


Any insights on the acoustic noise that different brands/models/types of air compressors produce? I inheirited a single stage model, about 3 hp, 25 or 30 gallon tank. The thing make a lot of noise -- I mean a lot. I think it is operating properly, as the person who gave it to me commented that the new one (a two stage) was MUCH quieter.
Thanks, Matthew
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An oil lubricated compressor with belt drive will be a lot quieter than a model with direct drive.
Brian Elfert
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Are those still available? If so, who makes them? [Just filing away for future reference for when, if ever, my sorry Craftsman oil-less decides to quit]
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writes:

Are which still available? Or, yes both are made in large quantities.
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Even Sears still offers oiled compressors.
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Quieter usually comes with parts that are made out of iron and not aluminum and oil lubed.
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How old and how used is the compressor you came across? Cheaper compressors use aluminum heads and they slop more than cast iron, thus are louder - increasingly so over time. Regardless, a compressor is loud - it's all a matter of relatively *how* loud. Little ones are louder than a bigger 5 or 7 HP version mounted on a 60 or 80 gallon tank, simply because of the mass that the bigger compressor has to absorb a lot of the sound.
If you think about it, your compressor is not so different from your car engine. You've got a piston being driven up and down by the motor via the belt. It forces air into the tank. The sources of noise include the air being forced into the tank - you're not going to do anything about that, the noise of the compression process - you maybe can do something about that. Search on line and find the owner's manual for your compressor or some specs on it. Check your compression in the head. Maybe you've got worn rings. If the compressor was ever allowed to run too hot, you could have bearings with excess slop. Either worn bearings or worn rings will make quite a racket. If the noise you hear is a very pronounced rattling noise, then I'd be looking inside the compressor head. Most all of them are rebuildable and if you have any mechanical skills, it's not a big job.
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Actually compressors with aluminum cylinders tend to decelope the slop. Since the piston and or rings never come in contact with the head there is no slop to develope.
Regardless, a compressor is loud - it's all a

Not recesirially true. Most of the noise I hear from compressors comes from the air intake. Remove the air intake filter/muffler and the noise will probably double. My 20 gallon compressor is much quieter than my older 80 gallon compressor.
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Yup - I used the word head in vague reference to the compressor head, not the cylinder head. My bad.

OK, but I was speaking on the assumption of all else being equal - equally new and similarly constructed in terms of things like the airfilter assembly, etc. My 60 gallon compressor is only a fraction of the noise level that my old 30 gallon was. However - remove the intakes off of it and you can't even be in the garage while it's cycling.
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Agreed. Which reminds me of an automobile dealer I worked for in the late 70's. They had 1 massive compressor the powered the mechanical and body shop. The tank was about 12' long and stood about 4' tall. Twin pumps and 2 motors setting on top. It was located up stairs of all places, in the Parts Department. For what I thought was convenience they had a rope coming through the concrete floor to the first floor that was connected to the switch. They would start the compressor by pulling the rope. One morning I was up stairs before the compressor had been turned on and I heard some one yell at me to turn the compressor on. You had to kinda lean towards the compressor to reach the lever on the box. When I flipped the switch the compressor exploded to life and I just about soiled my pants. Unbelievably loud and all so sudden. I learned right then that the rope was not for convenience. When I went back down stairs there was a small crowd waiting to see the expression on my face.
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Don't it suck to be the new guy? Fess up now - how many new guys were you a part of pulling that one on afterwards?
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Well I was not in that location long enough. We had 4 dealerships and I traveled between them occasionally. I was only there for a short period of time.
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yeah, a top post.. *g*
I am SO glad that I read this yesterday.... my old HF compressor is LOUD...
After reading the stuff about intake noise, I remembered the plastic intake thing with the foam filter that the compressor had for about 3 days before the kids broke it off... I threaded a 3/8" pipe elbow into the hole in the cylinder and added a 6" plastic pipe nipple.. roaring got a little better but still loud.. I rolled up a pad of synthetic steel wool and stuffed it down the pipe... looked so cool that I followed it with a 2nd one... Damned compressor is at maybe 1/3 of the noise it was making and at a different, less annoying tone... used it last night for some brad driving and it seemed to perform fine and was much more "user friendly".. THANKS, guys..

Mac https://home.comcast.net/~mac.davis/wood_stuff.htm
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