When operating an air compressor for your business, it’s critical that you understand when and how to fix compressed air leaks.
These compressed air leaks can be a significant drain on the system. When the leaks go unattended for a long period of time, they can often take up as much as 20 percent of the compressed air production capacity, which can be a big concern.
A proactive approach to finding and repairing these leaks can slow down the energy waste and keep your facility running more efficiently. There may be other financial incentives to keeping compressed air usage at the most efficient levels, as well.
Running a compressed air system is a significant utility expense, and when you can reduce leaks to less than 10 percent of the compressed air capacity, it can help you to maintain a more efficient operation.
What We’re Talking About When We’re Talking About Fixing Leaks
Compressed air leaks are both planned and unplanned. The planned ones are built into the system and are used for various purposes within the production process. These are standard and not worth worrying about.
Unplanned leaks present as a maintenance issue and can form within any part of the compressed air system. Early detection and a speedy repair can save trouble in the long run. Below are some of the places we commonly find leaks:
- Missed welds within a pipe joint or flanges
- Improperly applied thread sealant
- Couplings, hoses, and tubes
- Cylinder rod packaging
In a 100,000 square-foot facility, it’s important to understand that if 30 percent of the air used went to waste, it could cost upwards of $35,000 annually, depending on the amount of energy used. This is why it is crucial to find and detect these leaks before the problem becomes out of hand.
Find And Detect Compressed Air Leaks Before They Become An Overwhelming Problem
There are a few ways that these compressed air leaks can be detected to correct them before the problem becomes too much.
Listen – Sometimes simple attentiveness to the problem can help you to locate a leak. An audible hissing sound coming from the compressed air line is a certain sign that something is wrong.
If your facility is generally loud from all the surrounding production activities, this may be difficult to do. It may also be that the piping is along a far wall, or the ceiling, or otherwise out of earshot. Listening for an air leak may be easier when the facility is not in full operation for this reason.
Ultrasonic Acoustic Detector – This is the far more reliable method for detecting compressed air leaks within your facility. The detector is designed to pick up the high frequency noises stemming from an air leak. It is technology that includes directional microphones, amplifiers, audio filters, or sometimes a visual indicator that work together to detect any leaks within the system.
How An Ultrasonic Acoustic Detector Works
In a pressure or a vacuum compressed air leak, air moves from a high-pressure laminar flow to low pressure turbulence. A white noise results from this air movement, and the sounds may or may not be audible to a human ear.
The sensor can detect any ultrasonic elements to that noise, despite any potential background noise within your facility. The result for you is that you obtain the ability to detect air leaks in even the noisiest potential environments.
Detecting an air leak becomes easy, fast, and incredibly accurate. They don’t require high levels of training to operate well, either.
Fixing And Preventing Compressed Air Leaks
Fixing a compressed air leak is sometimes as simple as tightening the associated connections, or replacing outdated couplings, fittings, hoses, or piping. Ensuring that all these parts are high quality and fit tightly can greatly reduce the likelihood of leaks. Making sure that thread sealant is applied properly will also help.
It also helps to reduce air flow if it is operating at a higher than necessary level, to lower the level of leaked air. Having a professional come in to perform a compressed air audit can help you to determine the strength of your system.
If you have any questions or would like a professional to examine your compressed air system, contact Compressor Services today!