5 Tips for Winterizing Your Compressed Air System
Updated: Feb 9
Winterizing a compressed air system shields it from damage during the colder months of the year and improves the unit's performance. A compressed air system should undergo maintenance in late fall to prepare it for cold winter temperatures. The experts at Engineering Sales Associates (ESA) can walk you through the process of winterizing your system step-by-step.
Drain the Receiver Tanks
Receiver tanks provide a supply of air when the system is not running. They are also used in compressed air systems for temporary storage to produce stored air when usage increases. Receiver tanks at large installations should be checked regularly, generally on a weekly basis, to ensure they are operating smoothly and efficiently. They should be drained prior to winter to prevent water from freezing in the tanks. The tanks should have an automatic drain to enable maximum condensate collection.
Use Heat Trace Tape
Heat trace tape keeps the pipes in your compressed air filter from freezing, much in the same way that wrapping the pipes in your sink prevents the lines from freezing. Heat trace tape requires a power supply to work properly. If you plan to shut down your plant this holiday season, you'll need to take additional steps to ensure your compressor unit doesn't end up with frozen pipes. If the plant will not be operating during the holidays, be sure to drain water out of the lines before shutting down.
Adjust the Louvers
The louvers on your system can be adjusted to capture heat that otherwise escapes. During the winter months, it's important to keep cold air from entering the compressor inlet to minimize heat loss. Adjusting the louvers prevents moisture from forming in the oil circuit and ensures proper lubrication of the compressor system. The heat that the louvers recover can be used for several purposes, including heating a neighboring room and recirculating air that is in the compressor room. For precise and efficient operations, use thermostatically controlled louvers if possible to avoid having to manually adjust them.
Heaters will keep your system warm. There are two types of heaters that you can use, which are ambient and cabinet. The heaters regulate the internal temperature of the compressor, which in turn keeps the lubricant warm and prevents it from freezing. If you already have a heater installed in the unit, make sure that it's working properly before winter. For efficiency, it should be adjusted to the minimal permissible operating temperature recommended by the manufacturer.
Maintain the Drains and Separators
The drains, valves, and separators in your system are subject to moisture build- up during the winter months. They will need to be cleaned and rebuilt over winter when production is low. Keeping them properly maintained prevents
condensate from freezing in the system and prevents the valves from sticking. Automatic Magnetic Drains (AMD) are ideal for maintenance, as they create a liquid seal that prevents compressed air from escaping. They also require minimal maintenance.
For more advice and supplies that you need to winterize your compressed air system, contact Engineering Sales Associates today.