4 Common Issues with Compressed Air Systems
Summer is quickly approaching so we asked our service team to share some insight on the most common issues with compressed air systems that could result in an emergency visit from an ESA technician.
Oil Level - Maintaining the proper oil level in your air compressor will help to ensure that the machine runs efficiently and maintains optimal operating temperatures. Most air compressors will pass some oil during their operation although the exact amount can vary with the size of the machine and operating conditions. With warmer weather on the horizon, keep an eye on your compressor operating temperatures and contact your service provider if needed. If you believe that your compressor is passing oil at a higher rate than it should be, evaluate how much oil you are regularly adding to the compressor and ensure that you are not over filling it. If the machine has not been serviced recently we encourage you to schedule a full service ahead of the summer season to prepare the machine for hot weather operations.
Cooling Tower/Heat Exchanger - Ambient conditions vary depending on the application of the machine. As the fan blows through the cooler, dust/dirt/production material can build up and obstruct the cooler, greatly reducing its effectiveness. This can cause the compressor to exceed the desired operating temperatures and even cause the machine to shut down. Elevated temperatures can also reduce oil life and increase wear on bearings and other mechanical components. If your air compressor is running hot, a good starting point is to blow out the cooler and inspect it for obstructions. Before turning to a pressure washer or something more invasive, consider what type of heat exchanger you have and ensure that you do not damage the fins. If the issue persists, ESA offers a variety of products and services that are tailored specifically to your machine.
Wear Items - Wear items are mechanical components that can fail over time. Most of these items would be included in ESA’s preventive maintenance plans and would be changed in accordance with manufacturer recommendations. Still, these items do fail from time to time and can be problematic. Some of the most common items are inlet valves and solenoids. As a Gardner Denver distributor, ESA tracks common failures and equips our service trucks with these items to improve our response time for our customers. The best method for preventing or predicting wear item failures however is to maintain your air compressor through a reliable maintenance plan.
Ambient Temperature Conditions - Ambient temperatures can cause several different issues. During the hot months, air compressors typically run 100 degrees above ambient temperatures. On a 100-degree day, the compressors will run around 200 degrees assuming the machine is full of oil and coolers are clean. As for dryers, the higher the ambient temp, the higher the refrigerant pressure which causes inefficiency in drying air. Many compressors are in rooms or enclosures that do not facilitate good air flow. Before the heat sets in we recommend that you ensure the compressor room is properly ventilated. ESA can assist with ductwork installations and other preventive measures to get hot exhaust air out of the compressor room.
Direct inquiries can be made by contacting:
Jeff Douglas, ESA’s Manager of Service