How Site Conditions Affect Compression System Performance

In certain facilities, it’s estimated that the cost to power an air compression system can represent up to 10 percent of a building’s total energy cost. We don’t need to tell you that this is a lot of energy to be consumed by one particular piece of equipment. In other posts on this site, we’ve covered how to conduct energy audits with your air compression system as a means of optimizing it. We’ve also shared how to conduct proper maintenance on it to ensure that it’s operating as efficiently and effectively as possible. In this post, we’re going to discuss another important factor that can have an impact on how well your system operates: your indoor environment.

What are the factors that influence the performance of a compressor? Read on for a closer look at how your facility’s environment can help – or hurt – the performance of your air compression system:

Intake Air

Most air compressors work by bringing air into the system and then distributing it with force and pressure to the tools that end up using it. And if you’re truly serious about the performance of your air compression system, then you have to ensure that the intake air that it’s bringing in is quality air. Here’s a look at some considerations that you should be factoring in:

  • Cooler is better: Cool air is also denser air, and denser air translates to better flow and pressure potential. This can help your system perform better overall. The alternative is hot air, which is less dense. Hot, less dense air translates to poor overall flow and less pressure potential. Simply put, cooler air is better air.
  • Air quality considerations: Aside from the temperature of the air, the quality of the intake air is another big consideration. If the air that your compression system is bringing in is dirty, then your system is going to get dirty easily and require more regular maintenance and cleaning to keep it operating effectively. This can result in more system downtime, which can hamper productivity. Dirty air can also mean that you have to change filters more frequently, which can also increase maintenance costs. In addition to simply being better for the system, clean air is also able to travel much more freely through it. Hence, it can pay – literally – to ensure that the air the system is drawing in is clean, quality air.
  • Adjust the inlet pipe (if necessary): Air compressors draw in air via an inlet pipe – and this pipe can play a significant role in the overall quality of the air that is brought into the system. If the pipe is drawing in air where there’s potential for contaminants, then it’s likely going to bring in dirtier air overall.

Control Humidity for Best Results

Aside from the intake air, there are other factors that you want to be on top of to ensure optimum air compression system performance. One of these factors is how humid the indoor environment is in your property. In many industries and facilities, it can be a challenge to control temperature conditions. But humidity can be a big performance setback for your air compression system. That’s because humid air is also moist air, and this moisture can have a tendency to enter the air compression system. When this occurs, more than just performance deficiencies may occur – but pipe rusting and other water-related system issues. That’s why it’s important to try to control the humidity in your indoor environment the best you can. Failure to do so may not just hamper air compression system performance, but it could also result in downtime that can hamper site productivity and profitability.

Keep a Record of Issues

It’s largely trial and error on diagnosing air compression issues and determining whether or not the site is responsible for these issues. In some cases, it’s just wear and tear. Air compressors are appliances after all, and all appliances are bound to require maintenance to ensure they continue to operate well. However, based on the conditions that we discussed above, there’s also the potential for site conditions to play a role in certain issues. To help determine the culprit of air compression issues, it’s always best to keep a log of problems that you face along the way and try to identify the source of those problems. In some cases, you may find that it’s the quality of the intake air. In other situations, you may find that humidity is to blame. By keeping track of issues and attempting to resolve the underlying problem, you’re better able to troubleshoot so that the system is working as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Contact JHFOSTER Today

For more information on the role that your site conditions can play in air compression system performance, contact JHFOSTER today. We’re happy to do more than just offer industry-leading equipment to improve your operations, but the information to help take your equipment’s efficiency to new heights. Contact us today for more information.