Is your Compressed Air Piping leak free?
Compressed air system leaks are indeed a big source of energy waste. Leakage in piping systems have been shown to exhibit leaks of up to 25 percent of the total energy costs. Addressing leaks is one of the first maintenance steps a facility can take to reduce energy costs.
Your distribution system is likely to have leaks if you experience the following:
You may notice these symptoms and attribute them to poor compressor performance, but the most likely culprit is air leaks.
- You can hear it: Large air leaks can be audible when you walk through your system. Take the time to walk through your system every few months to make sure large air leaks are not costing you money.
- Loss of compressed air, even when not using it: Any air lost when the air compressor isn't in use, is solely feeding the leaks. If this happens, you most likely have lots of little leaks contributing to your air loss.
- Unusual pressure losses: If your compressor is working harder to supply the same pressure and airflow that is used to provide with ease, it could be a leak. Another indicator could be the pressure in your system has gone down.
- Piping system is more than five years old: Compressed air pipe systems more than five years old have been shown to exhibit leaks of up to 25 percent. If your piping is outdated, consider upgrading to a new, easy to install AIRnet piping solution.
- Check your system for leaks to keep costs low: Removing harmful contaminants from the compressed air using right periodic maintenance of the Air Filters in the system and checking of the manual condensate drains are left open can help the compressed air to constantly leave the system before end use.
How to Fix Air Leaks
Addressing air leaks is one of the first steps you can take in reducing energy costs. Most experts agree that the use of an ultrasonic acoustic detector is the best way to detect air leaks. This device recognises the high frequency hissing sounds associated with air leaks and uses a variety of visual and audio indicator to identify the leaks' location.
Addressing the leaks:
- Leaks occur most often at joints and connections. Stopping leaks can be as simple as tightening a connection or as complex as replacing faulty equipment such as couplings, fittings, pipe sections, hoses, drains and traps.
- In many cases, leaks are caused by bad or improperly applied thread sealant, which can be fixed by properly installing equipment with the appropriate thread sealant.
- Another source of leaks can come from non-operating equipment. Equipment that's no longer is use should be isolated with a valve in the distribution system.
- Lowering the demand air pressure of the compressed air system can also reduce leaks. The lower the pressure differential across an orifice or leak, the lower the rate of flow, which equals a decreased leakage rate.
Once leaks have been repaired, the compressor control system should be re-evaluated to realise the total savings potential.