So ... you got a new compressor for Christmas! Congratulations!!

But, before you get too far into playing with the new toy, let's make sure you set it up right.

First off, read your manual (yeah right ... most guys won't until something breaks but I had to say it anyway). Now, do a visual inspection to see if everything looks right ... no lines coming apart, no bent tubing, no obvious defects or damage, etc. If it is an electric motor driven machine, either install the proper plug or have it wired into a box (depends on which motor you have). If you have a fuel driven engine, check the engine oil and fill up with the proper fuel.

Now grab your little adjustable wrench and your bottle of leak detector as well as a rag or paper towel to wipe the oil from the dip stick. Check the compressor oil level and inspect the filter cartridge to make sure it is installed and in good condition. Start the motor/engine for a few seconds to make sure the compressor is turning in the right direction. Once you are sure of the direction, open the fill valve and drain valves and start her up. Air will be flowing out the drain valves and the hose so close the drain valves and the fill valve. Watch as the pressure rises and note where either your pressure switch shuts down or the relief valve lifts and mark it on your log (should be a sample in your manual) ... oh, and shut it down.

Now you are ready to fill so hook up your properly inspected tank, start her up again and watch as it fills. If you have auto drains, note the time between operations. If you have manual drains, crack them open every five to ten minutes for a few seconds until all the moisture is gone. When pressure builds up a bit, spray the connections with your leak detector and make sure everything is tight. If you find a leaker, DO NOT TIGHTEN UNDER PRESSURE ... you could damage the fitting. Mark the offending fitting, shut it down and bleed the system. Then snug up as needed.

Of course, there is a lot more to learn, but this is just a starting primer so you can have fun with your new Christmas toy! Enjoy and take care of her.