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Editor's Note: This post was originally published in 2015 and has been updated for accuracy, comprehensiveness, and new information.
Let’s talk weather for a moment. If you’ve paid attention over the past few years, you’ve probably noticed that each season is become more and more extreme. Springs and falls are shorter; summers are much hotter; and winters are much colder. Here’s the forecast for Winter 2020-21, though only time will tell if the predictions actually come to pass.
Since the winter season has officially arrived, it’s prudent to be aware of how the cold weather impacts your compressed air and gas system, and what actions you should take to prepare your system for the challenges it’s about to face. We cover this below.
Two Keys Reasons to Winterize Your Compressed Air and Gas System
Important! If you haven’t already prepared your compressed air system for the cold weather ahead, now is the time to get started. Don’t put off necessary maintenance and weatherization strategies or you may be looking at rusted machinery, malfunctioning equipment and decreased energy efficiency when spring finally rolls around. The two key reasons for this are icy oil and frozen water.
Frozen water is self-explanatory. As temperature drops, the water (and other condensate) in your compressed air system can freeze, leading to a variety of problems; some of these include an air or water blockages in air compressor accessories and receiver tanks.
Oil quality is the second reason, though it may not be at the top of your mind. Did you know that air compressor oil becomes thicker as temperatures drop? This reduces its lubrication capabilities, which increasing the power needed to operate the pump. This results in higher motor amp draw and increased strain on the whole drive train. Over time, this will reduce the lifetime of your air compressor’s motor. The oil could drop to a coldness level that renders it wholly unable to lubricate or seal the machinery, or even cause a compressor to stop working altogether. For maximum reliability, oil must be kept within a temperature range that never veers toward hot or cold extremes.
Cold Weather Impacts Dryers, Too
Did you know that dryers are another compressor system component that are adversely impacted by cold weather? In colder temperatures, refrigerated dryers might function very efficiently. The moisture being removed from the system might freeze, or the drain valve might freeze in an open or shut position. Both occurrences can cause damage to the dryer and prevent the condensate from draining correctly. In a desiccant dryer, air coming into the inlet might freeze, thereby causing the tower switching valves to malfunction.
Winterizing Tips for Your Compressed Air and Gas System
Wondering how you should winterize your system? Follow these tips to increase your compressor room’s energy efficiency throughout the winter months.
Address Maintenance Issues
Maintain an Ambient Indoor Environment.
Invest in a heat recovery system
How to Restart a Frozen Air Compressor System
So you’ve fully winter-proofed your air and gas system – great! But there are times that even the best of preparations may fall short, especially if an especially -severe cold weather front moves through. The result? Your air compressor system freezes. Here are a few helpful tips to get it back up and running:
Want more information? Visit us at www.atlascopco.com/air-usa!
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