Winter is coming, and with it comes the risk of freezing for your outdoor compressed air system. You might think your trusty machine is tougher than a winter storm, but trust us, it’s not.

While we recommend indoor installation for almost all air compressors, we understand that some layouts simply don’t have the space for an indoor system. Outdoor weather conditions can wreak havoc on compressors that aren’t winterized. Indoor systems without access to temperature controlled storage can also be subjected to below freezing temperatures.

Don’t leave your compressor out in the cold! Follow our tips below to help ensure optimal compressor performance during the winter months.

1. Provide Protection

First things first, you need to protect your air compressor from harsh weather conditions. Snow, hail, and rain can all damage your compressor, causing rust, corrosion and even electrical failure.

As the weather gets colder, your compressor will have to work harder to maintain optimal pressure and flow rates. The added stress can be hard on your equipment, especially if it’s located outside or in an unheated area.

Compressor blankets, weather-resistant covers, and/or tarps can be securely placed around your compressed air system to act as a barrier against ice or snow. Consider insulating the components using blankets, foam, or any other suitable materials. You can also build a shelter, lean-to, or enclosure to provide protection against outdoor weather conditions.

2. Drain the Tank

Moisture can accumulate inside the tank throughout the year. If it freezes, it can damage your compressor beyond repair. Open the drain valve and let the tank drain completely. Repeat this process until no more water comes out.

Water can cause rust, corrosion, and freezing damage internally and externally. Check for any leaks, remove any excess moisture in tanks or hoses, and store the compressor in a dry place when not in use. Be sure to check that the water vapor has been emptied from the catch tank. Investing in a dryer system can also protect your compressor from water damage.

3. Keep it Lubricated

Cold weather can cause your compressor oil to thicken and ultimately lead to poor motor function. Dirty or low oil can cause problems with your compressor’s performance and, in extreme cases, lead to permanent damage.

To help combat this, make sure that your compressor’s oil level is adequate and clean. Use the correct type of oil for winter use and check your oil levels regularly. You can also invest in an oil preheater to keep your oil at the correct viscosity, even in cold temperatures.

Check the owner’s manual for specific instructions on how often to do this, but it’s a good idea to change the oil before the winter and during the season to ensure your compressor runs smoothly.

4. Check your Belts and Hoses

Cold temperatures can cause rubber parts to expand and crack. Check and replace any frayed belts or hoses as soon as you spot them to prevent unexpected air compressor downtime and save costs.

5. Clean your Air Intake Filters and Compressor Components

Dirt, dust, and debris are more likely to accumulate in winter and lead to overheating. Check and replace your air filters frequently, clean any venting parts, and ensure your compressor is free from any unknown contaminants.

6. Store it Properly

If you need to shut down your air compressor for a period, store it in a secured, warm, and dry place to prevent water damage, freezing, and rust. Ensure that air tanks and hoses are disconnected and drained. Secure any loose parts.

7. Schedule Preventative Maintenance Services

The best way to protect your compressed air system from the colder weather is by scheduling preventative maintenance services throughout the year.

At Air Mac, our experienced technicians will inspect your compressed air system thoroughly and identify any potential issues before they turn into costly repairs or extended downtime. By being proactive and scheduling regular maintenance services, your compressed air system will be ready to handle whatever the winter weather may bring.


We’ve seen what winter can do to compressors that haven’t been properly prepared for harsh weather conditions or below freezing temperatures (and it isn’t pretty).

Air Mac offers preventative maintenance services to keep your compressed air systems running smoothly during any season, and scheduling an appointment is easy! You can reach out to us online for more information or call 866-424-7622 for immediate assistance. Don’t let winter get the best of your air compressor this year!