As a general rule air compressors are designed to operate in an environment where the temperature remains between about 5’C and 40’C. Normally, the maximum ambient temperature of the room the compressor is in must be lower than 40’C to 45’C even at the hottest times of the day. This may sound fine for a country where the maximum ambient temperature will be around 30’C but you need to consider where your air compressors are operating. If they are in a plant room, often with other heat generating equipment, temperatures within the plant room will often rise above 40’C especially in hot weather. Remember, it is the temperature of the room that the compressor is operating in that is important, not the temperature outside. To help keep the plant room temperature down make sure the ventilation with the outside is adequate. Maybe you need to consider installing fans or other forms of forced ventilation.
The bigger the compressor the more ventilation that is required
Air compressors act as a very large heater in the room they are located in. Remember about 80% of the energy used by a compressor is given off as heat usually into the room they are located in. This means an 11KW compressor will give off about 9KW of heat, a 45KW compressor will give off a massive 35KW of heat. The ventilation in your plant room has to cope with this amount of heat and keep the ambient temperature below 40’C.
What can I do to help my air compressor in hot weather?
In the short term…
you can make sure the compressor is in tip top condition. Check the following:-
- Check the air compressor is regularly serviced
- Check the air compressor is well ventilated and that none of the vents (in the plant room or compressor) are blocked. You quote often see in the summer, plants have grown to cover the plant room vents
- Check the air compressor is filled with the correct amount of oil. Oil is used to cool the compressor, if the oil level is low, the smaller quantity has to work much harder to cool the compressor.
- Check the air compressor radiator or cooler is clean and free from dust or damage. Often compressors work in dusty or oily environments. This type of atmosphere blocks radiators very quickly.
- Check the air compressor belts (if fitted) are correctly tightened
- Drain the condensate from any receivers and filters in your compressed air system
In the long term…
- Make sure the plant room has adequate ventilation for the equipment that is located in it. A lot of capital equipment creates a lot of heat. New equipment is also regularly added into an existing plant room. Is your plant room adequately ventilated for the equipment it now contains?
- Are the vents in the plant room blocked or covered over? Often plants grow over the vents and block them or people lean things against the wall blocking the rooms vents.
- Duct the air from the compressor to atmosphere. Ducting is a very good way to exhaust hot air from the compressor without effecting the ambient temperature around the compressor. Consider adding duct work if your plant room is getting too hot.
- Repair leaks from your compressed air system pipework. The fewer leaks the less air and energy you are wasting, the less work the compressor has to do.
- Make sure your compressor and compressed air system is serviced regularly. Blocked filters increases the work the compressor has to do.
In summary make sure your air compressor and compressed air system is working efficiently and is properly designed and maintained. This is the best way of making sure your air compressor is working correctly even in hot weather. If you need any further help with keeping your compressed air system cool contact Air Equipment.
See our article on Air Compressors and Cold weather here