Operating tips—compressed air systems

Follow these best practices for even more energy savings.

How you run a compressed air system affects energy efficiency as much or more than the energy efficiency of the system’s component parts. Consider the following tips for getting the most out of your system.

Find and fix leaks.
A 3/8-inch leak can cost tens of thousands of dollars in wasted energy annually (for a system delivering 100 cubic feet per minute (cfm) at 125 psi over a year.) Invest in leak detection equipment, tag leaks and fix them quickly.

Consider the operating mode.
A compressor’s operating mode significantly affects its energy consumption. Choose the mode that delivers enough power for the job at hand.

Lower the operating pressure.
A decrease in operating pressure by as little as two psi reduces energy use by one percent. Make sure you and your colleagues know the exact pressure requirements for each job and operate compressors accordingly.

Keep the heat.
Four-fifths of the energy consumed by a compressor is converted into heat. Look into heat recovery technologies that can capture that heat for applications such as process heat, space heat or even hot water.

Examine the air dryer.
A compressor’s air dryer consumes as much as one fifth of the unit’s total power. Check your unit’s air dryer for efficient, correctly sized dryers.

Check condensate drains.
Save money by replacing older condensate drains with more energy-efficient units.