Though it may be hard to believe, summer is upon us and even here in the Northeast US, we can expect many days of high temperatures and humidity. Virtually all compressed air systems are exposed to the effects of summer weather – even installations in air conditioned spaces are often drawing hot and humid air from the outside for the compressor intake or for cooling air.
What can a facility manager do to combat the rise in temperature, humidity and additional water loading when the mercury spikes? The answer is simple: maintenance. Now is the time to act before temperatures really start to climb. The following list can be used as a guide to prevent summer operating conditions from impacting your compressed air equipment.
Five Easy Steps to Prepare Your Compressed Air System for Summer:
- Check Drains. Higher humidity in the summer causes more condensate in the compressed air system which has to be drained. Be sure drains are in perfect working order so they can handle the extra flow. Scales Expert Tip: Remember that the additional water being produced during the summer has to go somewhere. Because the condensate is mixed with compressor oil, the water should not be released directly into the drain, but should be treated first. If you have a condensate treatment unit check the state of its filters and separation tanks to make sure they are still operational and functional. It is also a good idea to have the replacement service kit on hand so that no downtime is required during maintenance. If you don’t have a condensate treat system contact us today as most environmental laws require the condensate be treated before being discharged to drain.
- Clean Coolers – Blocked or clogged coolers can cause an air compressor to overheat on hot summer days. Get a jump on this by making sure coolers are clean and free of debris before the heat hits.
- Clean Air and Oil Filters – A compressor will run cooler and use less energy if the air filters are clean (just like your car or truck). Dirty filters lead to pressure drops, which the compressor system must then accommodate by running at higher pressure levels and wasting energy. Scales Expert Tip: Filters are also affected by additional moisture; the increase in pressure drops seen in coalescing filters leads to higher compressor operating costs. To decrease the pressure drops, replace the filter element with a new one annually or when indicated.
- Check Ventilation – Just like with air filters and oil filters, check and adjust your compressor room so that there is sufficient air flow. Clean vents of debris, make sure fans are in working order and the room has proper air flow. Scales Expert Tip: Proper ventilation is extremely important when designing a compressor room. See Scales Expert Tips on a good compressed air system installation.
- Adjust Water Cooling Systems – On water-cooled compressors, adjust the temperature of water entering the compressor to ensure that it is cool enough for summer conditions.
Don’t let the summer heat affect your compressed air system’s performance and your facility’s production. No time to think about maintenance? Scales has many solutions for whatever combination of in-plant vs. outsourced maintenance you prefer. Click here to request further info.