The efficiency of your compressed air system may go beyond your actual air compressor. The secret to efficiency may be found in the piping, the layout of your building, and what you plan to use your compressed air system for.
A compressed air system can be a significant investment for your business. Your energy costs will exceed what you paid for your compressed air system several times over. An efficient system helps ensure that you are only paying for the compressed air that you use. Below are five tips for designing a piping system that will help you to get the most out of your compressed air.
5 Tips for a More Efficient Compressed Air System
Plan Your Layout
It’s important to thoughtfully consider the layout of your business, the intended use of compressed air, and what components can help make success a reality for your business. Your system design should be optimized for the desired pressure at the point of use. Steps like adjusting the pipe diameter or shortening the distance from the compressor to the point of use, can impact the desired pressure.
Shortening the distance that air flows or increasing pipe size will result in a pressure drop.
Consider the Materials
You may be tempted to go with dated piping, or use what is currently in place. But the material that your piping is made out of can have a significant impact on the efficiency of your system. For example, aluminum pipes have a smooth interior wall. Consequently, there is less pressure loss with this type of piping than with the traditional black steel.
PVC piping is commonly used but can crack or become increasingly brittle over time. Copper is great for clean air usages, but can be complex to install. Aluminum is highly recommended. With aluminum, you’ll have the added benefits of no rust or scale, keeping your pneumatic systems clean.
Don’t Use More Pressure than You Need
Excess air flow won’t make your work any more efficient. A mere 2 psig reduction in pressure can cut your energy consumption by 1 percent. Turning up the pressure to compensate for leaks won’t work as a long-term strategy. A centralized control system can help you to easily monitor the air pressure that you are using for your compressed air and make the changes that you need accordingly.
Recover Your Generated Heat
Compressed air systems routinely generate heat. You can take advantage of that heat by recovering it and using it for other operations. You can use it to direct warm air into a cold warehouse, or to heat bathroom water. When you save energy by not relying as heavily on your furnace or hot water heater, the savings will multiply.
Address Leak Issues
Just a tiny air leak can cost thousands of dollars over the course of a year. That money is better spent elsewhere. A small leak may not be audible, so it helps to have help with detection. It also helps to dry and clean your compressed air to help prevent future leaks.
Regular Maintenance Protects Your Investment
In addition to the steps above, regular maintenance to the compressed air system can help prevent future problems. Simple steps like shutting your compressed air off for nights and weekends, and regularly checking the drains can help prevent long-term wear and tear. Changing the filters on a regular basis helps to ensure optimal performance.
Maximizing your energy efficiency can extend the lifespan of your air compressor and help ensure that you protect your investment for many years to come. Contact an air professional today to start savings.