Summertime is quickly approaching, and with it long days of heat and humidity - both of which can take a toll on people and machines. High temperatures combined with additional condensate in the air can cause strain on performance – unless you’re prepared. That’s why it’s important that facility and maintenance managers take time now to prepare for the increased strain their machines will face in the warmer summer months.
With summer here and temperatures and humidity on the rise, your compressed air system will experience additional water loading on the air treatment equipment. There is 650% more water in the air at the highest summer compressor operating conditions (122 degrees F) versus the highest temperatures usually seen during the winter months (60 degrees F). That’s why it’s critical to prepare your air compressors for some of the most challenging conditions they’ll face all year! Here are a couple of quick, easy steps you can take to ensure your compressed air system is ready for summer.
Clean Air and Oil Filters – Your vehicle gets better gas mileage when it has clean filters and the same holds true for your air compressor; a compressor runs cooler and uses less energy when air filters are clean. Dirty, clogged filters can lead to pressure drops, which causes the compressor to run at higher levels to accommodate the demand. Filter performance can also be affected by additional moisture, so it’s important to follow regular maintenance schedules and add supplementary checks for seasonal changes.
Check Ventilation– We all breathe a little easier with increased airflow and so do our machines. Just like air and oil filters require some extra attention in the summer, it’s important to check the compressor room and adjust ventilation and airflow as needed. This is also a good opportunity to check for pollen and other air contaminants that are more prevalent in the spring months to ensure the ventilation is clean and clear before the heat of the summer arrives.
Check Drains – Higher humidity in the summer causes more condensate to come out of the drains. Make sure drains are clear and in working order so they can handle the increased flow. Because the condensate is sometimes mixed with compressor oil, the water should be treated before being released directly into the drain. Check the treatment units’ filters and separation tanks to make sure they are still operational. It’s a good idea to have a replacement service kit nearby to eliminate any downtime during maintenance.
Clean Coolers – Imagine running in the summer heat with a sweater on; it’s going to impact the way you sweat and how your body regulates its temperature. The same is true for your air compressor. Blocked or clogged coolers can cause an air compressor to overheat on hot summer days. Get ahead of this before it becomes a problem by making sure coolers are clean before the heat hits.
Tweak Water Cooling Systems– On water-cooled compressors, adjust the temperature of the water entering the system to compensate for increased ambient temperatures and to ensure that it is adequate for summer conditions.