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How to Increase Your Air Compressor’s Efficiency

By: Cleveland Brothers

Compressed air is widely used in numerous industrial and commercial fields as a vital energy source and continues to grow in popularity. Air compressors are suited for countless applications, from manufacturing and pharmaceuticals to agriculture and everything in between. Though compressed air is an excellent resource across numerous industries, it tends to be less energy-efficient than other equipment.

Luckily, there are many simple ways to increase your air compressor’s overall efficiency by addressing and modifying various equipment elements and components. With a reliable and efficient air compressor on your job site, you can save money and energy like never before.

What Is Compressor Efficiency?

Efficiency is an air compressor’s ability to perform at its maximum potential while creating the least amount of energy waste resulting from friction and heat. The goal in increasing an air compressor’s efficiency is to reduce the amount of energy required to deliver adequate operational performance.

There are many benefits to compressor efficiency—both for your company and the environment. Some of these advantages include:

  • Saving money
  • Conserving energy
  • Controlling pollution
  • Improving air quality
  • Removing waste
  • Minimizing emissions

Which Compressor Has the Highest Efficiency?

All air compressors have benefits, but variable-speed compressors tend to excel in maximizing production and energy efficiency. Variable-speed compressors can increase or decrease demand output as needed, helping companies reduce energy costs and consumption. Some businesses can even qualify for energy incentives from the government based on these significant reductions.

5 Ways to Increase Air Compressor Efficiency

There are many ways you can increase your air compressor’s efficiency. Applying some of these changes and practices to your air compressor usage is an excellent way to help your company boost productivity while saving money.

1. Improve Air Intake Quality

The quality of the air your compressor processes is a major contributor to its overall efficiency. When your facility’s air quality is low, your compressor won’t operate as efficiently as it would in a higher-quality environment.

Consider paying extra attention to these three air-quality components in your workplace and make the necessary adjustments as needed:

  • Temperature: Cool air requires less energy to compress while promoting greater air density, making it better for air compressors to process.
  • Composition: When your air supply is clean and free of contaminants, the compressed air in your machines will move more smoothly through the system. Dirty or polluted air can cause wear and tear within your air compressors.
  • Humidity: If your air compressor is positioned in a humid environment, moisture can build within the system and generate rust. Compressors in dry-air environments are less likely to endure system and component damage from their surroundings.

2. Enhance System Design

Your air compressor might not boast the most efficient initial design, but there are many tactics you can implement to improve its system, including:

  • Straightening delivery lines. Try eliminating any sharp bends, loops or narrow delivery lines in your air compressor system as these can result in pressure drops and high friction.
  • Using smaller compressors. Larger air compressors tend to use more energy per unit, whereas smaller systems can be switched on and off to save energy as needed.
  • Investing in a storage tank. Storage tanks can lessen the effects of short-term demand changes and conserve air pressure by preventing pressure drops.
  • Relocating your compressor. You can move your air compressor into a shaded area to cool air intake and lower operating costs.
  • Obtaining a heat recovery system. Waste heat recovery units salvage lost energy and repurpose it for heating applications in your facility.

3. Check for Leaks

Undiagnosed air leaks are the primary cause of energy loss when it comes to compressors — even minor leaks can result in significant air loss over time. You can easily prevent air loss, reduce energy bills and increase system efficiency by taking the proper steps to identify and eliminate leaks at the source.

You can expose leaks by running tests through an ultrasonic acoustic leak detector, but there are more basic ways to accomplish the same task. Simply hook up all hoses, tools and components and allow the air compressor to increase to its top pressure. After the machine has stopped pumping, refer to the pressure gauge and observe the needle. If the needle begins to gradually drop or you hear a hissing sound, you likely have a leak. If it stays in place, your compressor is leak-free.

Repairing a leaking air compressor may be a matter of tightening connections, but you might have to replace various system components such as couplings, hoses and pipe sections to resolve the issue.

4. Perform Air Compressor Maintenance

One of the best ways to increase air compressor efficiency is to perform simple routine maintenance tasks to ensure reliable operation. There any many inspections and procedures you can conduct on a daily, weekly, monthly and even yearly basis to ensure your machines are operating at their best. Some of these maintenance methods include:

  • Changing dirty air filters.
  • Checking oil levels.
  • Draining tank condensate.
  • Listening for strange noises or vibrations.
  • Tightening nuts and bolts.
  • Cleaning intake valves.
  • Inspecting hoses for cracks or corrosion.
  • Cleaning the fuel tank.

5. Minimize Pressure Drop

Pressure drop can cause elevated energy consumption and even poor system performance. Luckily, you can prevent pressure drop from occurring by following these simple procedures:

  • Make sure your pipes are sized appropriately
  • Minimize moisture through proper drying and air filtering
  • Choose components with high performance and low pressure drop
  • Replace dirty filters to prevent clogging
  • Reduce the distance the air must travel through your air compressor

When you reduce pressure drop, your compression system will function more efficiently at lower pressures, providing increased energy savings to your company.

Boost Air Compressor Efficiency With Services at Cleveland Brothers

If you’re looking to increase your air compressor’s efficiency, Cleveland Brothers is your go-to source. We carry dozens of high-quality air compressors ranging from portable and stationary models to fixed-speed and variable-speed units, depending on your needs. If your compressor isn’t functioning at its best, you can schedule compressed air services from our skilled and experienced technicians.

Contact us to get started with our products and services today!