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Springing A Leak: What You Should Know About Air Leaks In Your Compressor

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When your shop depends on the reliability and consistency of air compressors for power tools and machinery, you need to be proactive about maintenance and inspections. Although you might be aware of this need, routine upkeep can easily fall through the cracks of your demanding schedule. Failure to keep up with your compressors can lead to wear and tear that might cause air leaks. Here's a look at what you need to know about air compressor leaks and how to find them.

Why Do Air Leaks Matter?

The first and most obvious reason to identify and address air leaks in your compressors is the increased energy consumption and cost. As air leaks out of the compressor, it requires the system to run more often in an effort to maintain the pressure level. This costs you more in energy consumption and also leads to wear and tear on the compressor itself.

In addition, the weakened pressure levels lead to inefficient tools. This can reduce your productivity because the tools aren't working at their best, so things cannot be completed as quickly. Eventually, this leads to increased overhead because of the longer production times.

How Do You Spot Air Leaks?

Sometimes you can identify air leaks by listening to your surroundings. Choose a time when there's nothing going on or the facility is closed so that everything is quiet. Walk through the areas of the building where the compressors are and listen for any unusual or out of place hissing sounds. Track those sounds to help you find the source of the leak.

It's important to note, however, that this isn't the only step. Many compressed air leaks are impossible for the human ear to detect. That means you'll need to rent an ultrasonic leak detection system to optimize the acoustics for detecting air leaks. Consider purchasing an ultrasonic testing system to use in your facility a few times a year. This will help you identify new leaks before they become costly.

Where Do Air Leaks Typically Occur?

To make the most of your efforts, you can start by focusing on some of the most common areas where leaks happen. For example, air leaks often happen around the air hose connections, the couplings and the disconnects. In addition, there may be air leaks from puncture holes along the air hose. Sometimes an open blow-off or condensate trap can allow air to pass through. You may even find air leaking around any areas where thread sealant was applied if it wasn't done properly and near shut-off valves. Gaskets and seals can wear out, leading to holes that allow air to pass.

Start with these areas first. If you aren't confident in your own inspection abilities, reach out to a local air compressor technician for some professional advice.