Five ways to protect your air compressor this winter

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We all love to talk about the weather, but have you ever thought about how it might affect your compressed air systems?
Below freezing temperatures can impact the effective operation of electrical equipment from air compressors and air dryers to vacuum pumps – but don’t worry, help is at hand in our five-point guide to winter protection.

  1. Cold as ice

  2. The ideal ambient temperature for an air compressor is 5°C to 40°C, so don’t be fooled; just because your compressor continues to operate when the room temperature drops, it doesn’t mean it’s operating effectively. You might be heading for an unexpected and costly breakdown.

    Equally, if you have a rotary screw compressor, it may have an alarm that prevents it from starting up if the ambient temperature is too cold.
    Make sure the compressor room and any outlets to the exterior are well sealed and, in very cold weather, you may need to bring in additional heating.

    1. Feeling drained?

    Freezing condensate can cause blockages in the filter, so make sure the condensate in your air compressors is regularly drained and ensure that the drain trap is not left open, as this can introduce cold air and impurities into the system. If you have an automatic draining system, check that it’s working as it should be before winter sets in.

    1. Oil slick

    In low temperatures, air compressor oil can become thicker and more viscous. This makes it a less effective lubricant and could require additional power consumption for the pump to operate, thus draining your supply more. The lifecycle of the motor can also be affected.

    1. The big freeze

    Exterior pipework in particular can freeze in very cold weather; this can be avoided by lagging your pipework.
    When it comes to refrigerated dryers, if the room is too cold, the moisture extracted might freeze inside the machine, potentially causing a blockage and internal damage. Again, bring in extra heating when the temperature drops low.

    1. Be prepared

    A back-up air compressor and generator can be lifesavers in bad weather, allowing you to continue production come what may. Another good investment is a heat recovery system, which can be used to capture warm air produced by the air compressor for use in factory heating – including in the compressor room.

    While you can always take advantage of our 24/7 call out service, it’s more cost effective – and less stressful – to prepare your system in advance. Time spent checking potential issues could save you trouble later, and if you want some expert advice, contact the Pennine Pneumatic Services Ltd office and we’ll be happy to schedule in a winter service and check up. That service will cover all of your compressed air and associated equipment.

    Don’t hesitate to contact us on 01422 321 772 or if you’d like any further advice on planning for winter weather. You can also fill out one of our online contact forms, and we’ll get back to you.