Air leaks are the number one culprit for skyrocketing energy costs when it seems that nothing has changed in your routine activities. Compressed air leaks can occur at any point along the air stream and become detrimental to the health of your air system. These leaks have been reported to account for nearly a third of the air produced by the compressor, which means that energy is being wasted, almost as if your compressor system is spraying out money.
The Why to a Compressed Air Study?
If these leaks go unnoticed, they could exponentially increase your energy bill. The only thing the excess air will be doing is blowing your budget up. However, when dealing with air leaks, it can sneak up on you as well because one of the primary indicators is the sound of air escaping the air stream. This becomes a problem when you consider how loud a compressor room is when it is under load; the sound of the hissing air escaping is lost in the chaos of that compressor room.
Trying to find leaks based on auditory indicators alone can be a seemingly impossible thing to be done, given the noise of a compressor room. It can be like trying to find a needle in a haystack, but the needle is made of hay. Finding it seems impossible, but you know it is something that needs to be fixed because all that compressed air leak is doing is costing you money and making your operation a lot less efficient. But the question becomes, just how can the leaks be found and treated?
The answer you are looking for is a leak study. Compressed air leak studies are performed using ultrasonic sensor technology to detect leaks that can go unnoticed during other, more traditional detection methods. Handhelds with infrared cameras that detect subsonic vibrations are carried through the air compressor room and follow the air stream. Leaks will light up the handheld when present and precisely provide an image of the air leak.
This technology allows for a reduction in the total amount of time needed to complete a compressed air leak study and the turnaround on receiving the data about your compressed air system. These handhelds can detect leaks faster and more consistently than traditional methods. Quicker turn arounds results in less money being wasted and a faster return to normal operations. These machines allow us to get a better understanding of your air system faster.
Compressed Air Leak Studies can be the difference between long-term success and a rapid collapse of your budget. Depending on the size of the leak, they can cost you thousands over a year based on a few small leaks or one large leak. These costs can sneak up on you if you aren’t careful, especially with the high energy costs of using compressed air. Therefore, maintaining good energy usage is extremely important when it comes to minimizing the costs of air production. If this is important to you as a plant manager, owner, or individual who holds the wallet, then a compressed air leak study and air audits can be helpful tools to keep you aware of your energy usage.
Compressed Air Leak Study Vs. An Air Audit
When it comes to a compressed air leak study and an air audit, the differences come about in what exactly is being tracked. The main difference between these two tests is the specific details being measured, and the time it can take to perform these studies. Air Audits have an emphasis on energy usage and how the plant as a whole is using energy, and the overall fluctuation of usage throughout the day. As a result, air Audits allow you to have a better understanding of how your system operates as a whole and the general use of your system.
Air Audits are completely complimentary when it comes to A10. Our goal is to give you an understanding of your energy usage during air production. We know just how expensive it can be to produce air properly, and we want to help give you the understanding you are looking for so you can make the best changes possible for your system’s energy usage. We will help you find your peak usage periods and when your system uses the least energy throughout the day.
With this information, we will be able to provide you with your average daily usage and give you that basic understanding that you may be looking for. One of the downsides to an Air Audit is that it provides an overview of the system but does not get down into specific details. Compared to the Free Air Audit that we provide at A10, our compressed air leak study offers a much more extensive understanding of your air system.
An air leak study gets down and dirty with your air system, looking into every joint, connection point, and all of the pieces downstream of the compressor. These studies are completed using ultrasonic sensor technology that helps to fill in the technician inspecting things that he could not see with his naked eye. In addition, this technology helps to identify specific problem areas that need attention to restore proper airflow. That being said, compressed air leak studies take a little longer to complete than their air audit counterparts. Still, that extra time is indicative of the additional information that is being provided about your air system.
When it comes to your air system, the best answer for your system is to have both a compressed air leak study done in tandem with an air audit. The combination of these resources will give you a complete understanding of what is going on with your air system. You will be able to use both information to create a thorough account of the problems and efficiency of energy usage. With this information, you can identify issues and see the costs that they equate to in your budget. Being comfortable with your compressed air system will allow you to be confident going forward with your air system and be able to make the best decision for your air system.
The Benefits of a Compressed Air Leak Study
The benefits far outweigh the cost of getting it done when it comes to getting a compressed air leak study. It may seem like an additional cost to your air compressor, but the reality is that it should be viewed as an investment in the health of your system. Getting a study done can let you know just how the system is working, how the individual components are working in conjunction with each other and being aware of the overall health of your system. This information can help you extend the life of your compressor and help you modify the system so that your air compressor can keep running for longer, saving you from having to buy a brand-new compressor.
One of the main benefits of getting a compressed air leak study is the amount of money you will save in energy costs. When you can look at the efficiency of your air system and even see the areas that are leaking air, you can correct the system to operate at peak efficiency and not lose any valuable compressed air. Correcting these inefficiencies makes you use your air, energy, and money more efficiently. This increase in efficiency will put you in a much better place than before completing a complete air study.
Not only will you reap the benefits of having a cheaper energy bill and no longer be losing such a valuable resource, but the system will also benefit from being corrected. Having less air loss means that the compressor no longer has to work as hard to make up for the loss; it will now be able to run smoother with less wear and tear occurring. When your compressor does not have to work as hard, it will extend the life of your compressor, believe it or not. Not only will your compressor benefit, but other components of the system will also increase overall health.
These components include but are not limited to:
- Different parts like joints, connections
- Connection points, couplings, hoses, flanges, and fittings
- Pressure regulators
- Open condensate traps, steam traps, and shut-off valves
- Pipe joints, quick-connects, and threaded sealants
- Point of use devices
Being aware of the inner workings of your air system can put you ahead of the pack when it comes to the overall efficiency and longevity of your system. Healthy air systems last longer than those that run into the dirt, are not appropriately sized, have to make up for air loss, or are just not used correctly. In addition, knowing what is going on in your air system allows you to feel more in control. Both electricity and knowledge are power in your air system, and understanding what is going on in your air system will help you feel more in control.
Not only will that knowledge make you feel more in control, but it will also let you know things that may have been occurring right under your nose. For instance, a drop in overall system pressure can disrupt functions downstream and throw off the readings because many systems cannot account for variable and pressure fluctuation. So when you take the time and money to know the details honestly, your system will thank you, and so will your wallet.
When you take the health and longevity of your air system into your hands, it is essential to be aware of how your system is functioning. Your system’s health can be tested with a compressed air leak study and an air audit to fully understand your output and energy usage. If you want your system to run at its best and to continue running at those standards, you have to take the time to do maintenance, service, and studies run on your air system.
These investments will pay off in the long as your system will run smoother for longer and continue to save you money compared to if you would not have gotten an air study done and continued to operate with leaks and pressure drops.
We Make Compressor Failures Vanish Into Thin Air
Next time you need a compressed air leak study done or need Close Air Support, consider us at A10. From sales and service to Free Audits, we have you covered for all your Compressed Air needs.
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