Compressed Air: 5 signs you should upgrade
Air compressors are reliable workhorses that use a lot of energy. With proper maintenance, a unit can last for years. It’s tempting to stick with your old compressor and keep making repairs, but when is the right time to make a change? Consider upgrading an air compressor if you experience these telltale signs of trouble.
- Your system has broken down more than once in the past year. Multiple system failures could be a sign of a serious problem that could be difficult or costly to fix. System breakdowns are also costly in terms of downtime and lost productivity.
- Your compressed air system is more than 20 years old. Older systems have more points of With technology advances, newer systems offer more efficiency and higher levels of performance.
- Your system regularly operates at less than 60% of the rate load. This is a sign that your system is The motors that operate your compressors run less efficiently at lower loads. Upgrade to a properly sized compressed system with motors equipped with variable frequency drives. Your local electric co-op offers Power Moves® rebates for upgrading to an energy efficient air compressor, as well as for VFDs. The upgrades and the rebates can lead to serious long-term energy savings!
- It’s difficult to find replacement parts. Parts inventories for older units tend to dwindle over time, often making them more expensive and difficult to locate. This not only increases repair costs, but the length and expense of downtime. Parts for newer units are typically easier to find, and manufacturers often offer better
- Compressors run most of the time during normal work hours. If units are constantly running, that could be a sign that your system doesn’t have the capacity to do the work required. A larger system may better support your needs.
Optimizing system efficiency
Numerous strategies are available to help you improve system efficiency. Start with a compressed air audit. Commonly used energy-saving measures include:
- Inspect the system to locate and fix leaks and other issues that may affect energy
- Review compressed air end-uses and determine the required level of air Look for processes that can be reconfigured to use air more efficiently.
- Install modulating inlet or multi-step controls, which enable the compressor to operate at part load during periods of low demand.