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How To Clean Reed Valves On Air Compressor?

Cleansing and servicing the reed valves on the air compressor is critical to its durability and efficiency. However, you should not try that unless you are aware of all the steps of cleaning, installing, and overall procedures. Now you might ask: how to clean reed valves on air compressor?

To clean the reed valve, first, you need to take it out of the compressor. Then you will need solvent starter fluid and other basic tools for cleaning. You also might need a degreaser depending on the dirt that is accumulated.

The steps of cleaning are pretty straightforward and follow a sequence. But let’s know all about reed valves first for a better understanding.

What Do The Reed Valves Do?

Reed valves in compressors are thin metal flaps that are attached to the valve plate. When the piston moves up and downwards on the cylinder wall, reed valves enable the refrigerant to flow to and from the cylinder.

When the piston descends into the cylinder, the suction valve opens. Then the suction pressure is generated. It is positioned on that side of the valve reed plates where the cylinder is located and opens there.

Whenever the piston moves up, the outlet valve on the opposite end of the valve plate opens. Since the pressure rises when the vapor compresses, the reed valve will open too. Most compressors suffer from broken or damaged reed valves. As a result, the discharge pressure drops.

How Should I Clean The Reed Valves On My Air Compressor?

If you suspect that a filthy reed valve is causing the problem in your air compressor, or if you notice that your valve has gotten clogged with debris, you need a thorough cleaning of each portion of the reed valve. At first, you need to disassemble all the parts of the reed valve.

Step 1: Take Out The Reed Valve

First, make sure you have the compressor disconnected from any breakers. You can simply turn off the power supply. Then unplug all the hoses that are connected to the air compressor. The air tank of the compressor should be drained.

Even if you have unplugged the compressor, its power should be turned off. Because it will ensure nobody can mistakenly turn it on while you are working on its cleaning. Take out the air filter and the inlet port. Also, ensure that you have removed the supply line of the tank. Take off the cap. After that, pull out the valve plate.

Step 2: Clean The Reed Valve

Now comes the cleaning part. However, don’t do it haphazardly. Follow these steps:

  • To clean all of the parts, use a solvent.
  • I used starter fluid to wipe the plate, intake, and exhaust unit of the valve.
  • To reach inside the little holes, try using a small brush.
  • Using a washcloth, wipe the surface.
  • Assemble the components of the valve, then reconnect it to the air compressor.

Step 3: Further Inspection And Reinstalling

While you are cleaning the reed valve, you should inspect it. If you see any cracks or holes appearing in the reed valve, you should replace the valve. The cleaning should include the plate, head, and the plate of the reed valve.

Thoroughly clean them using a degreaser if the previous cleaning was not enough. Use a clean cloth to apply the degreaser. The plate and head of the reed valve have to be replaced if there are any flaws. To replace and reinstall, you need to use a spray sealant.

Then insert and tighten the head bolts. Reconnect the supply line of the tank. Attach the filter, inlets, hoses, etc. After the whole thing resembles, connect your air compressor to the supply line.

Why Should I Clean The Reed Valves Of My Air Compressor?

The valve is responsible for keeping the circulating air smoothly and effectively between both the air cylinder and the tank. If this reed valve starts to fail, or if dirt or rust accumulates in it, your air compressor can not produce pressure as efficiently.

Continuous use of a compressor with faulty and dirty reed valves can lead to excessive damage to bearings, gears, and other parts. Maintaining the valve’s condition will allow the air compressor to operate at optimal performance, preventing expensive repairs.

How Often Should I Clean My Reed Valves?

Following a good care plan increases your likelihood of having a well-functioning air compressor for many years. Consider keeping a yearly cleaning schedule for the reed valve along with the entire air compressor, or even twice a year if needed.

Cleansing the reed valve of the air compressor regularly is not necessary because regular cleansing is only mandatory for commercial usage, as in those cases, the duty cycle is 60%+.

Tips To Keep In Mind

If you have a compressor that is more than 10-12 years old, it might be better to change it than go through the hassle of cleaning it. However, if you decide to clean the reed valve, keep these in mind.

  • Reed valves are often found beneath the head on most compressors. But a smaller compressor may be able to reach a single reed valve without removing the head. Usually, valves will be used in certain larger, relatively high-pressure systems. So know what kind of compressor you have.
  • Before you begin the process, check the torque requirements and determine what gaskets you will need.
  • Prepare everything you will need in a tidy, clean space in which you can finish this easily and effectively. As you have to disassemble, clean, and reassemble all your compressor parts, you don’t want a messy place. This may result in the loss or damage of any critical components.


Cleaning the reed valve of your air compressor once a year is necessary. But that begs the question: how to clean reed valves on air compressor? Cleaning a reed valve takes a bit of work. But it will save you a lot of hassle and money in the long run.

As long as you follow all of the necessary steps of assembling, cleaning, and reassembling, you should be fine.

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