About 70 percent of all manufacturers use some sort of compressed air system. When these systems leak, it can be costly. A hole as small as 1/8 inch in diameter in a 100-psi system can cost more than $1,200 in unnecessary energy costs. No one wants to waste that much money which makes it imperative that you learn to identify and deal with leaks quickly and efficiently.
Identify the Leak
Leaks can be a huge waste of energy and money. Maintaining all of the air compressor tubing in your system is well worth the time and effort required to conduct proper maintenance. Leaks also contribute to other losses by causing a pressure drop which can make tools function erratically or less efficiently. A leak can also make the equipment cycle more often which tends to reduce the life span.
The two primary types of leaks to be aware of are planned and unplanned. Planned leaks have been intentionally incorporated into the compressed air distribution system. Unplanned leaks are part of maintenance issues that can appear in any area at any time. The most common culprits are the air compressor tubing, air fittings, hoses, and couplings. Because leaks involve air, they are almost impossible to see. One of the best tools one can use to identify an air leak is an ultrasonic acoustic detector. These portable devices are able to recognize the specific frequency of sounds common to air leaks.
Repair the Leak
If the leak is at the point of a connection or joint, it may be as easy as tightening the connection. In other cases, the thread sealant may have been improperly applied and would need to be redone. Other times, equipment that is not in use may be the source of the leak. It can be isolated with a valve to eliminate the leak from that point.
One method or reducing leaks is to simply decrease the air pressure. This lowered pressure can decrease the rate of flow and ultimately reduce the rate at which the air leaks from the system. If the system is stabilized at the lowest possible range, it can minimize all leaks throughout the system.
Replace the Air Compressor Tubing
It may not be possible to fix the leak. If this is the case, your best option is to replace the air compressor tubing or other component as quickly as possible with the highest quality tubing you can find. Subsequent to replacing the defective parts, it is important to establish a routine leak prevention regimen that will allow problems to be caught and addressed more quickly in the future.
Whenever possible purchase the industry gold standard for your air compressor pipis, tubes, and tubing. These parts play an important role in the overall health of your system. When they malfunction due to poor craftsmanship it will cost far more than any money saved up front.