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Technology, How-To

How to Protect Compressors During Cold Weather Months

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Winter is coming. Whether you’re in for brisk winds or blizzards, cloudy days or cold nights, it’s time to prepare for the chilly season. But when you’re bundling up, don’t leave your machines out; air compressors can’t toss on a sweater, hop under a blanket or curl up with a cup of cocoa to cure their cold-weather woes. Temperatures below 5°C/41°F can thicken compressor oil and freeze condensate, leading to decreased compressor performance and increased propensity for breakdowns. Help protect your air compressor during cold months with these four tips. 

  1. Drain condensate.

Condensate is a common occurrence in air compressors. It forms in the system and settles in low places. In the winter, unaddressed condensate can freeze and burst pipes. Consider installing an automatic drainage valve; it’s a small fix that will prevent the need for larger repairs.

  1. Heat your compressor.

If your compressor is in an unheated room, a small space heater can offer additional warmth to prevent the temperature dropping below 41°F. If your air compressor is oil-injected, take special note: oil becomes more viscous at lower temperatures and can cause overload when the compressor is turning on.

  1. Use trace heating.

Trace heating on pipes can help prevent freezing throughout the air compressor and distribution system. This is especially important if any pipes pass through cold or outdoor areas where they could freeze and pass ice particles down the line to end-uses.

  1. Don’t forget maintenance.

It should go without saying that adhering to a regular maintenance schedule can help prevent unnecessary, costly downtime. This is true when the weather isn’t working against you, but it is especially true in the winter. Any unexpected dip in temperature can cause unforeseen issues, so prevent them by maintaining your machine.

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