When you run a machine shop, you depend on your air compressors. Winter weather is hard enough on your air compressor without the addition of poor maintenance. The best way to ensure that your air compressor systems won't malfunction during the winter is to provide proper care. Here are four steps to take to ensure smooth starts all winter long:
1. Insulate the Pipes
When temperatures dip into the freezing range, your air compressor pays the price, especially if you haven't taken precautions to protect the pipes. Your air compressor pipes collect moisture, which freezes when the pipes aren't insulated. If the pipes freeze, your air compressor won't start. Not only that, but the frozen condensate can destroy your compressor.
Like the plumbing pipes in your home or shop, the pipes on your air compressor will rupture once the moisture freezes. To prevent those concerns, insulate the pipes on your air compressors before the weather gets colder.
2. Install a Heat Recovery System
Your air compressor generates quite a bit of heat during normal operations, even in the winter. During the winter months, you can use that heat to preserve and protect your air compressor. The heat that's generated can be used to warm your tank, reduce frozen pipes, and ensure rapid starts every time.
An efficient heat recovery system will also reduce the costs associated with compressor operations, especially in colder weather. That's because your compressor doesn't have to work overtime to maintain optimum core temperature. Capture the heat and reuse it with the installation of a heat recovery system on your air compressor.
3. Inspect the Condensate Drains
If you and your crew don't drain the condensate lines after each use, your air compressor might pay the price. Condensate in the lines can lead to serious problems for your air compressor, especially during the winter. Not only will the condensate freeze, as stated earlier, but the condensation can also lead to corrosion, which will reduce the life expectancy of your air compressor. Ensure thorough drainage of your condensate lines after each use.
4. Ensure Proper Care of Air Filters
The air filter is an integral part of your air compressor. However, compressor filters are often overlooked during routine compressor maintenance, and dirty or clogged filters can lead to system malfunction and mechanical shutdown. They can also allow dirt and debris to pass through to the tank, which can lead to contamination. If you haven't changed the air filter on your air compressor in over a year, take care of that as soon as possible.