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Friday, November 26, 2010

Top 7 Compressed Air Energy Saving Tips

Would you like to reduce electrical costs related to your compressed air system?

More than likely - you can. Start by determining your annual compressed air electrical costs by using this formula:

Brake Horse Power X 0.746 X Annual Hours of Operation X KWH (Kilowatt-Hour) Cost (divided by) Motor Efficiency

NOTE: 1 CFM (Cubit Feet per Minute) @ 100 PSIG (pound-force per square inch gauge) FOR 8760 HOURS COST $110.00 PER YEAR IN ELECTRICAL COST

Next...follow these Top 7 Compressed Air Energy Saving Tips:

1. Fix your Air Leaks

If you do nothing else - follow this one tip: Find and fix your compressed air leaks. Air leaks are industrys' "biggest looser"!

The average plant loses 20% to 30% it its compressed air through multiple small air leaks. The money spent on man power and parts to find and fix these leaks is well worth it. Note (a 1/4 inch hole will flow 103 cfm @ 100 psig)

2. Change to Synthetic Lubricants

If you are using petroleum based lubricants, you could experience up to an 8% energy savings by switching to Compressor Synthetic Lubricants. Plus extend equipment life and save on oil changes and disposal cost.

3. Reduce Plant Operating Pressure

If possible - reduce overall plant pressure. Less pressure > Less CFM used > less energy consumed.

TIP: Reduce plant pressure 2 pounds at a time, then test run for minimum 24 hours. If any equipment has issues...then increase pressure 2 pounds until running smoothly again. For every 2 pound pressure reduction -you save 1% of the electrical cost to run the air compressor.

4. Check Differential Pressure on Air Compressor Filters.

Start at the compressor cabinet filter then check the compressor inlet filter.

Note: A dirty inlet filter can cost you 1% to 3 % in additional electrical costs. Why? Because decreased air flow to the compressor inlet valve increases the compression ratios resulting in more run time.

Next check the air/oil separator differential pressure under a full load. A new separator causes a differential pressure drop of approximately 2-3 psig. When your pressure drop reaches 8-10 psig, then it is time to change your separator elements. A dirty separator element can cost you up to 5% in additional electrical cost.

Next change the control air filter element. This often over looked, but still important filter where the controls receive their air signal. A pressure drop here causes the controls to receive the lower pressure signal loading the compressor more and using more electricity.

5. Reduce the Compressor Inlet Temperature

By reducing inlet air temperature 10°F below 70°F, you save 2% on electrical usage. Your benefit increases up to 8% on a 30°F degree day. But increasing the inlet temperature 10°F above 70°F will cost you 2% in additional electrical usage for every 10°F up to 10% at 120°F. (Inlet temperature has very little affect on Lubricated screw compressors)

6. Check Differential Pressure on Compressed Air Line Filters.

Size Compressed Air Filters to be twice (2x) your compressor CFM flow rate. This will lower your pressure drop approximately 2-3 psig and save 1% on energy costs. Elements will last twice (2x) as long and you will save on maintenance costs.

7. Know what quality of compressed air your plant needs.

The cleaner & dryer the compressed air the more energy used.

Check with the manufacturer of your equipment to determine the quality of air needed.

Tommy McGuire
McGuire Air Compressors, Inc.
"Real People with Real Air Compressor Experience"

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