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Top 7 Compressed Air Energy Saving Tips

Do you want to reduce the electricity costs associated with your compressed air system? More than likely – you can. Start by determining your annual compressed air electricity costs using this formula:

Brake Horsepower X 0.746 X Annual Operating Hours X KWH (Kilowatt-hours) Cost (divided by) Engine Efficiency

NOTE: 1 CFM (Cubit Feet per Minute) @ 100 PSIG (pound-force per square inch) $110.00 PER YEAR FOR 8760 HOURS AT ELECTRIC RATE

Then… follow these 7 Practical Air Energy Saving Tips:

1. Fix your air leaks

If you do nothing else – follow this tip: Find and adjust your compressed air speed. Air speed is the industry’s “biggest loser”!

The average plant loses 20% to 30% of its compressed air through many small air leaks. The money spent on manpower and parts to find and fix these vulnerabilities is well worth it. Note (a 1/4 inch hole will flow 103 cfm @ 100 psig)

2. Change to Synthetic Lubricants

If you are using petroleum based oils, you can experience up to 8% energy savings by switching to Synthetic Compressor Lubricants. Extend the life of the equipment and save on oil change and disposal cost.

3. Reduction of Plant Operating Pressure

If possible – reduce overall plant pressure. Less pressure > Less CFM used > less energy consumed.

TIP: Reduce plantar pressure by 2 pounds at a time, then test for at least 24 hours. If there is a problem with the equipment … then increase the pressure by 2 pounds until it works properly again. For every 2 pounds of pressure reduction – you save 1% of the electricity cost to run the air compressor.

4. Check the Differential Pressure on the Air Compressor Filters.

Start with the compressor cabinet filter and then check the compressor inlet filter.

Note: A dirty intake filter can cost you 1 to 3% more in electricity costs. Why? Because the decrease in air flow to the compressor inlet valve increases the compressor rates and consequently increases the running time.

Then check the air/oil differential pressure under full load. A new separation causes a differential pressure drop of about 2-3 psig. When your pressure drop reaches 8-10 psig, then it’s time to replace the breakaway components. A dirty insulation element can cost you up to 5% more in electricity costs.

Then replace the control air filter element. This is often overlooked, but still an important filter that controls receive their air signal. Here the pressure drop causes the controls to receive a lower pressure signal which loads the compressor more and uses more electricity.

5. Reducing Compressor Inlet Temperature

By lowering the air temperature 10°F below 70°F, you save 2% on electricity usage. Your benefit increases by up to 8% on a 30°F day. But increasing the input temperature 10°F above 70°F will give you 2% more electricity cost for every 10°F to 10% at 120°F. (Inlet temperature has very little effect on lubricated screw compressors)

6. Check the Differential Pressure on the Composite Air Line Filters.

Compressor Air Filter Size should be twice (2x) the CFM flow rate of your compressor. This will reduce your pressure drop by 2-3 psig and save 1% on energy costs. The components will last twice (2x) longer and you will save on maintenance costs.

7. Know what quality of compressed air your plant needs.

The cleaner and drier the compressed air is, the more energy is used.

Check with your equipment manufacturer to determine the air quality you need.

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