Image: Denton Harryman
With temperatures beginning to take a dip, now is the time to prepare your air compressor for cooler working conditions.
The geographic location of an air compressor places many environmental influences on the performance of the unit. Different seasonal actions must be taken depending upon the local climate. An increase or decrease in heat plays an important role in the operation of the compressor.
One of the biggest issues when it comes to freezing temperatures is water. It is imperative to assess all areas where water may be contained as well as addressing leaks in the air system. Another very important factor is regulating oil temperature. When oil gets too cold it becomes exceedingly viscous and is unable to properly seal and lubricate the compressor. Oil which is too viscous can quickly lead to compressor damage and failure. For optimum performance, oil needs to stay in a specific temperature window – one that is not too hot and not too cold. Compressors with a low duty cycle may never get the oil to a properly regulated temperature. These conditions can result in passing more oil, water collecting in the pump, and as the owner of ICS puts it, “all kinds of bad things can happen.”
How to Winterize (Rip Up Your Internet Winterizing List)
With a basic comprehension of the importance of temperature management, you can begin to analyze your system for possible concerns. Every situation is different and there is no perfect list to follow on the Internet. Following a “top five” list can lead to wasting thousands of dollars on unnecessary measures and overlooking very serious concerns. An understanding of your particular system and how your system operates must dictate your winterization process.
What are your concerns? Where is the water sitting? Are there exterior elements that need to be addressed? Do you run your unit 24 hours a day? If you’re a 24/7 operation, you may not have any climate issues. However, if you only run your unit 5 days a week, you may be in for a surprise on Monday morning.
Analyzing your system and formulating a plan is a lot better than following some random list you found on the Internet that’s designed to cost you thousands. -Joshua Wamser, Owner of Industrial Compressor Solutions
Winterizing could comprise of simply placing a heat lamp by the oil tank each morning. Sometimes it’s as simple as saying, “Tonight is going to be really cold, maybe we should leave the compressor running to keep temperatures up.” Obviously there are other concerns with leaving your unit running, such as energy consumption and air leaks, but it’s important to do a benefit analysis. Be realistic about good solutions, better solutions, and best solutions.
Why You Should Call an Expert
Sometimes the issues are as simple as above, but often times they are more complicated. The root of an air compressor problem can be difficult to trace. We recently had a customer that spent thousands of dollars replacing dryers and other items that they thought HAD to be the issue. When in reality the piping was run in the wrong sequence. For a couple hundred bucks and a trip to the hardware store, their issue was resolved. Unfortunately, this customer had already purchased the new equipment, which multiple sources wrongly advised them that they needed.
It is important to know that we can help with these hard to identify situations that you wont find on any “top five” list. Industrial Compressor Solutions can help you properly identify a winterization solution based on your unique needs. We can help you address specific temperature drops at your location as well as suggest and implement changes to prevent future issues. Most of the time we can give you options that cost very little money or even zero dollars! We believe there is no reason to throw money at a compressor unnecessarily.
Let Us Know
Have you ever skipped a winterization process that left your production out in the cold?