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Pro Tips for a DIY Compressed Air Audit

March 30, 2017

Air Compressor repair

When was the last time you completed a project from start to finish? No doubt you felt pride, even if you had to watch an online tutorial or double-check a figure along the way.

In a world where so much can be done with your own two hands, you can save money by auditing your air compressor needs yourself! By revealing system instability, a DIY compressed air audit can reduce your maintenance costs before they affect your bottom line.

How to Conduct a DIY Compressed Air Audit

1) Map Your System

You wouldn’t build a treehouse without taking some measurements, sketching a picture and troubleshooting the project. Creating a block diagram to evaluate your air compression system is necessary, as well. Plotting your system not only provides a picture of how everything is connected, it also helps you record important information for your employees and your supplier.

Pro Tip : Identify the control mode, which facilitates the flow of air for your particular system, and locate your compressor nameplate. The data found on this plate will tell you the type of air compressor you have, along with its pressure ratings and power consumption. Be sure to note every part of your unit – including air dryers, filters and storage receivers – as you draft your diagram.

2) Estimate Energy Output

Calculating your energy output is an important next step of a DIY compressed air audit. To get this right, you’ll need to take basic measurements and compare them to your annual operating hours. Compare your pressure gauges to your operating hours per year; make sure you keep a copy of your electrical bill handy to check for accuracy. You can double-check your calculations by hand by using a standard formula .

For an initial cost analysis, take your total billed amount and divide that number by the number of kWh used. Ultimately, your path to improvement will involve maximizing your output relative to your energy consumption.

3) Measuring Baseline Pressure and Flow

Determining your baseline pressure profile will also give you valuable information about how well your air compressor is running. There may be one or two end users that require higher pressure levels, which can affect your energy costs and efficiency. Measure the amount of compressed air used on average to determine where the leaks are or where flow is being wasted.

Pro Tip : Take your pressure readings during the highest system flows. If you have compressors that operate in modulation or variable displacement modes, consider installing a low-cost thermal mass flow meter for more accurate readings.

Using a timer and a calculator, run a test on your compressor load/unload cycles when your production machines are turned off. Record your compressor loaded time and your compressor unloaded time in seconds to calculate the percentage of leaks in your system .

4) Evaluate System Efficiency to Determine Potential Savings

Now that you’ve measured your average kW and flow, you can calculate the power of your system. Similar to the mileage per gallon of a vehicle, this measurement will help you get a sense of the energy input and energy output of your compressor. The most common way to evaluate power, according to the Compressed Air and Gas Institute (CAGI) , is with the formula kW/100 cfm. Compare your figures to standard data sheets to see how your system measures up.

Need help?

Just as completing a DIY project can bring a sense of accomplishment while saving you money, it can also cause frustration if you hit a snag. Remember that Bi-State Compressor Inc. are happy to help! Our team of professionals can answer your air compressor questions , conduct a professional audit for you if necessary, and we even provide maintenance services , just in case your compressor is in need of repair.

To learn more about how Bi-State Compressor Inc. can help you keep your equipment running smoothly, click here. Thank you for reading!

Bi-State Compressor, Inc.
1571 Fenpark Drive
Fenton, Missouri 63026

Phone: (636) 349-8333
Fax: (636) 349-1411

Should the need ever arise, we offer 24 hour emergency service.

Rental units are also in stock, available for immediate hook-up.