Tuesday, March 7
Not So Lucky Leaks
A compressed air leak in your system does more than just wastes useful air- it could be costing you hundreds or thousands of dollars more than what you should be paying for your operations! Just a tiny leak will decrease your system’s, efficiency, shorten your tools lifespan, and decrease your power.
What Is a Compressed Air Leak
A compressed air leak is just what you think it would be- unplanned air leaving the system before it is intended to. The more hookups, connections, lines, and elbows you have throughout your entire system, the higher your chances of having a leak are and the harder it is to find it.
How Leaks Happen
Air compressors are made to pressurize air for operational uses. Since a compressor is pressurizing the air, the air is desperately trying to get back to its natural, expanded state so it is trying to escape the system. Because of this, the air will find any small hole or opening in your system and escape out of it. So, any gaps in your system where air travels through will cause your system to leak!
These openings could happen for a multitude of reasons. A few common causes are defective parts, improper installation, incorrect part or fitting sizing, weak seals, and lack of consistent maintenance.
Common Places Leaks Happen
In general, anywhere two different pieces are connected on your compressed air system hold potential for a leak. Examples of common problem spots are:
- Control & Shut-Off Valves
- Drains & Condensate Traps
- Point-Of-Use Devices
- Seals & Gaskets
How to Find Leaks
Listen & Feel
Relying on our senses is the quickest and easiest way to detect a bigger leak in a quieter environment. Leaks generally make a hissing noise as air is escaping an opening. If you run your hand or a piece of paper along the area you suspect the hissing sound is coming from, you many times will be able to feel the air blowing out. This method is of course not always reliable or accurate and can be hard to do on a large system, in a loud environment, or for a very small leak.
Utilize Dish Soap
Utilizing a brush or spray bottle putting soapy, room-temperature water in the areas you suspect are leaking will create air bubbles as the pressurized air comes in contact with the soapy water.
Ultrasonic Leak Detection
A leak detection is the industry-standard method that utilizes portable ultrasonic technology to detect where your leak is coming from. They utilize a tool that has microphones that can listen to the quietest or loudest of sounds in any pointed direction. The tool is moved around any suspected areas that may contain a leak, or the entire system to be thorough. These microphones attached to the leak detector tool are listening for the high-pitched hissing noises that compressed air leaks generally create and the tool will confirm whether there is a leak and where it is located when it identifies these noises.
Why Fix Compressed Air Leaks
As we said early on in this blog post- compressed air leaks can cause you hundred or thousands of dollars in lost efficiencies. Air compressors utilize a lot of energy to pressurize air, so if air is unexpectedly leaving the system before it is used, a compressor has to work even harder to meet the demand of your facilities operations, thus increasing your energy costs. It is estimated that air compressor leaks can reach up to 20-30% of your compressor’s output, which essentially means you are wasting 20-30% of the air your system is producing!
While financial implications are the first concern brought up by many people, there are also many operational concerns that come along with compressed air leaks including productivity loss from lack of air power, higher downtimes from repairs needed from ongoing leaks, and unnecessary capacity additions due to having to compensate for the lost air through leaks.
How To Fix Leaks
Of course, Zorn Compressor & Equipment can come fix your leaks in your system and we would be happy to! But if you are looking for a few ways to get started on fixing and preventing your system’s leaks then start by tightening any connections in your system. Any piece that can become loose can also be a source of a leak. While you are tightening connections, you may notice wear-or-tear on parts, and that is where we come in. If a part is still in good condition it will need to be repaired, if it is too damaged then you will need to replace it. Zorn compressor & Equipment has both repair capabilities and high inventory on stocked parts- especially for those leak-prone pieces on compressed air systems.
You will also want to maintain a consistent maintenance schedule to prevent any future leaks. The better maintained your system, the less wear-and-tear on your system and the less wear-and-tear on your system means the less likely any of those problem areas will become prone to leaks!
Zorn is the Midwest leader of custom, engineered compressed air and vacuum solutions. We provide the best customer experience by understanding your applications and needs and offering an unparalleled commitment to customer satisfaction.
Our comprehensive product and service solutions keep you running 24/7.
- Reliable equipment
- Trusted brands
- Seamless, easy installation
- Post-sales support
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Our compressed air experts look forward to meeting you to discuss your equipment and support needs. Please contact us directly at (262) 695-7000 with any questions or to schedule service for your system moving forward
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