A JHFoster technician performing an air system audit

How Much is Your Compressed Air System Costing You?

Compressed air typically accounts for 10 to 15 percent of a company’s total energy bill. Find out if you are one of those companies with an Ultrasonic Leak Detection Audit.

Likely, you don’t think about compressed air very often. It’s always there, working behind the scenes, yet most companies have no idea how much it costs them each month.

They might be surprised to find out.

“The biggest mistake I see companies make is using more compressed air than they need,” said Ryan Koepsell, mechanical engineer for John Henry Foster (JHFoster). “They’re running 100-horsepower compressors when they could get by with 40 horsepower. Or they just run their plant at a higher pressure, thinking that will offer them more reliability.”

It takes about eight horsepower of electricity to generate just one horsepower of compressed air, he explained. So if a compressed air system isn’t running efficiently, it could end up wasting a lot of electricity and money.

For that reason, Koepsell recommends a compressed air study and annual leak checks.

“You want to make sure you’re using the most efficient technology possible and not spending more money on compressed air than you need,” said Koepsell, who is certified as an AIRMaster Specialist by the U.S. Department of Energy. “For some companies, that means replacing equipment, but for others, it’s just a matter of adjusting their controls or changing a process so they’re using less compressed air.”

Compressed Air Studies Save You Money

A Compressed Air Ultrasonic Leak Detection Audit takes a peak at areas within your system that cost energy waste. Take advantage of our study funding to finds ways to better your system’s efficiency. 

In addition to distributing compressed air and vacuum equipment, JHFoster conducts compressed air audits for a variety of companies. It has conducted more than 400 audits to date, saving companies over $3 million.

The audit takes an in-depth look at the entire system and gives a baseline to address “what ifs” for improvements. We give you recommendations and data to support return on investment.

Although some companies evaluate compressed systems as part of general energy audits, most lack the depth of knowledge and expertise that JHFoster can give.

“Compressed air and vacuum technology isn’t something that’s really taught in college, so most employees and even engineers have limited knowledge in these areas,” said Ron Nordby, former vice president of sales at JHFoster. “However, this is all we do. Our job is to help companies figure out how they can use it most efficiently in order to reduce their overall operating costs.”

JHFoster Saves Packaging Firm Thousands

A local packaging firm searched for new ways to better its efficiency and lower environmental impact. They ultimately turned to Xcel Energy to find rebate possibilities offered through its compressed air efficiency program.

John Henry Foster analyzed the company’s entire compressed air system and offered a big picture of the opportunities for improvement.

The Ultrasonic Leak Detection Audit revealed energy being lost throughout the system. Not only was it running at a high operating pressure, it caused blow off as a result of artificial demand. In addition, the current dryer ran continuously, and the drains slowly, but constantly, leaked air.

Installing a smaller compressor and cycling dryer lowered blow offs and leaks. Also, a new demand receiver, pressure controller and mist eliminator allowed overall operating pressure to be lowered. As a result, the firm saved thousands of dollars per year in operating costs and extended the life of equipment.

The new system qualified for a $23,000 rebate from the power company. In addition, they are on track to save the company more than $20,000 per year in electric costs.

Financial Rebates Available

Most energy companies offer rebates and incentives for either compressed air efficiency studies or new compressed air equipment. As a matter of fact, Xcel Energy offers up to $15,000 in rebates for compressed air studies. On top of that, it awards a rebate of $400 for every Kw of peak energy saved. Federal and state programs are available as well.

According to Xcel, a 1/8 inch hole in compressed air systems can cost $2000 in wasted energy each year. Indeed, most of the money that is spent on a compressed air system is on energy, not equipment. As a result, energy companies like Xcel partner with JHFoster.

JHFoster helps companies find the most efficient equipment for their needs and can help find and fix leaks immediately. It can also help companies identify savings areas.

“When businesses purchase equipment based on cost rather than efficiency, they spend more money in the long run,” Nordby said. “So as businesses are searching for new ways to save money, it’s prudent to conduct an energy audit to examine how efficiently a compressed air system operates year after year.”

Contact us today to find out how we can help you find energy savings.  John Henry Foster’s goal of providing innovative and state-of-the-art products continues and now includes a range of industrial robots. Calculate the CFM of your air system here. Our team of experts are positioned to support your productivity and efficiency needs with this versatile product.  Please contact us today at 651.452.8452 or email us to learn more about this or any of our product offerings.