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5 Reasons To Audit Your Air Compressor System

January 14, 2021

An air compressor is a vital part of your operation, and you need it to be accurate and run smoothly. To check the components and overall function of an air compressor system, you should get an audit. This assessment helps you know if your air compressor has any issues you need to address.

If you’re unsure if an audit is right for your air compressor, take a moment to learn how it can benefit your operations. Below, we’ll explain five reasons to audit your air compressor system along with everything else you need to know about this assessment.

What Is an Air Compressor Audit?

An air compressor audit assesses the unit and determines any problems that will impact its operation and efficiency. Those issues could impact how effective your air compressor is as well as its energy use. An air compressor assessment then helps you see how much the system and its issues, if any, are costing you. To determine how your unit is operating, a compressed air audit checklist often involves checking:

  • For leaks and pressure drops: Leaks in a unit’s piping lead to the most wasted energy costs. Your air compressor will have to work harder with a leak or pressure issues, costing you money. In a 100 pounds per square inch (psi) system, a hole with just a 1/8-inch diameter could waste over $1,200 in power costs in a year. An audit will check fittings, couplings, flexible hoses and other areas that may contribute to leaks.
  • For the proper pressure: If you have pressure drops or leaks, you may find yourself using a higher pressure to compensate. That creates what’s considered an artificial demand, forcing the unit to work harder. Using a higher pressure means you waste air that leaks out. Operate at the lowest pressure possible, and ensure an audit checks for that. You may also consider using a pressure regulator or flow controller for added efficiency.
  • The air filters: With a clogged filter, an air compressor has a lower flow rate. The filter is essential for removing particles from the air that would damage the unit. Poorly filtered air means the compressor works harder. This increases energy costs and could warrant expensive repairs down the line. Cleaning and replacing filters and using the correct ones for your system can help prevent those issues, but an audit should still check those components.
  • The air dryers: Compressing air creates condensation, and a dryer removes moisture in the air to protect the tank, lines and tools from damage. An audit will check that the dryer is in working condition and is the right one for your system. With the wrong dryer, you overwork the component and hinder the unit’s energy efficiency.

Why Conduct an Audit?

Every part of your air compressor works together. If one component is damaged, faulty or incorrect for the unit, you compromise the system. That means the other parts have to work harder to compensate, raising your energy costs. You may also have to repair or replace components of your air compressor system more often if a part isn’t working correctly.

According to Energy Star, over three-quarters of the lifetime cost of an air compressor goes toward electricity. The length of time you run the system and the cost of power in your area will primarily influence how much you spend. Overall, you risk spending more with a damaged system. A poorly maintained air compressor will have to work harder, using more power and costing you more money.

Types of Air Compressor Audits

While you can conduct an air compressor assessment yourself, a professional audit will tell you more about your system. Doing your own audit will reveal maintenance needs, which can be useful, but a professional can determine if you’re using the right unit for your industry and the correct components for it. Depending on the professional you choose for your air compressor assessment, you may receive one of these types of audits:

1. Walk-Through Evaluations

This evaluation is the simplest, involving a visual check, usually with little or no equipment involved. It might take anywhere from half a day to two days, but that will vary based on your system or systems and who conducts the audit. A professional will overview your compressed air system, typically checking for leaks or pressure issues and compressor sizing problems. They may map your system and create a report of their findings, which could include recommendations for repairs, maintenance or other solutions.

A walk-through air compressor audit is suitable if you want to identify maintenance concerns and get a brief assessment of your current energy efficiency levels. Professionals could recommend ways to improve or maximize your power efficiency. They may recommend changes to your system or a better system for your needs, and they will base that information on what they saw in their walk-through.

2. System Assessments

The next level of an air compressor assessment is a bit more thorough than a walk-through. A system audit involves data logging for a better understanding of your energy use and shortcomings. A professional may calculate accurate details of your power use, and they may provide a graph of the data they’ve found.

Data logging may take around a week, depending on the company you select to conduct the audit. Professionals need to get an accurate read of your air compressor’s energy usage, and one day may not give them a sense of the power your system uses on average.

3. Full System Audits

For an in-depth evaluation of your air compressor system, select a full assessment. This option can take around a week or longer, depending on the professionals you work with. If you want to learn more about your air compressor system, select this assessment, which goes in-depth to report details like:

  • An air measurement: This stat measures your compressed air demand over the cycle of time a professional conducts the audit. They’ll test flow rates without interrupting your operations.
  • Air leaks: Professionals will check your system for leaks and determine how much air you’re losing as a result. That will show you if you need to make repairs to benefit your energy efficiency.
  • Air quality: This assessment can determine if you need to replace or maintain your air filters. Water and oil particulates, as well as anything from the air outside your system, threaten how the unit operates, making this a crucial stat to have.
  • A maintenance review: Professionals can evaluate how effective or ineffective your current maintenance plan is. They’ll factor in how you care for components like your filters, dryers and other parts.
  • Monitoring and control recommendations: Your air compressor audit may include suggestions to help you maintain or improve your energy efficiency. These are long-term solutions that may involve work on your part or future collaboration with professionals.

Reasons to Conduct an Air Compressor Audit

There are many benefits of an air compressor audit that can give your facility better operation overall. Consider these five reasons to audit your air compressor system:

1. Save Money

A strategic evaluation of your air compressor system will reveal any issues you have with equipment or efficiency. Once you take the steps to rectify those problems, you could end up saving money. Saving money is among the greatest benefits of an air compressor audit. You’ll be able to allocate what you save to other essential areas of your operation or simply enjoy the increased profits.

There are two key ways an air compressor audit could save you money. If you implement professional recommendations for the short and long term, you can save with:

  • Better energy efficiency: Remember that 76% of your air compressor costs go to power use, so without an efficient system, you’re wasting money. Evaluating your current system and making repairs or upgrades when necessary will reduce your power consumption costs. How much you save will vary with how often you use your air compressor system, energy costs in your area and what initial issues you had before the audit. On average, a system audit from Quincy Compressor can reduce your energy costs by 50%.
  • Reduced maintenance and hardware costs: A system audit from Quincy Compressor can reduce your maintenance costs by 30%. That’s because you’ll see how to care for your air compressor unit properly. You’ll know what components are incorrect or damaged, meaning you can replace them. When your air compressor is in the best possible condition, everything will work correctly. Nothing will overwork to compensate for damaged components, meaning the parts and the system last longer.

In some cases, an audit can essentially pay for itself. At the very least, you’ll help your bottom line and avoid wasting money on an inefficient or damaged system.

2. Improve Safety

You value your safety and that of everyone on your team. An audit will identify potential dangers, which you can then fix to maintain a safe environment for you and anyone else who uses your air compressor. During an air compressor assessment, a professional may check various areas that could cause safety concerns, including:

  • Damaged air hoses: These components, when damaged, present safety risks and can potentially cause harm to other air compressor components. Damaged air hoses can cause the pressure in your system to drop.
  • Pressure gauges: A faulty pressure gauge might give you an incorrect reading of your compressor’s tank. If pressure builds and you aren’t aware, the tank could burst, potentially causing severe injuries.
  • Electrical components: An audit should check electrical components of your air compressor system. These checks will help ensure you avoid unsafe electrical hazards, whether from power sources or the electrical components of the system itself.

Improving the safety of your air compressor system will protect your facility from damage, as well. This benefit also saves you money that you’d have to spend on repairs to your facility.

3. Get a Better System

An audit will reveal if you could be using a better system for the job. Professionals have plenty of knowledge and experience with air compressors from various industries. They can recommend a new option based on your industry, air compressor uses or other particular needs. Some factors you or a professional may consider when deciding during an audit if you need a new air compressor include:

  • Overall compressed air demand
  • Overall compressor operation
  • Desired operating speed
  • Hours of service you need
  • Your budget for short- and long-term maintenance
  • Your budget for the overall lifetime cost

Of course, getting a new air compressor system can incur a significant cost. But if a new system will be more efficient for your operations, you could end up saving more money in the long term, especially if you also have regular audits.

4. Increase Production

A well-maintained air compressor is efficient in terms of energy use and your team’s productivity. You may experience shorter lead times, and you might be able to take on more projects as a result. To get this benefit of an air compressor audit, you want an assessment that looks for:

  • Contaminations: Water, oil and other particles affect how your compressor runs and your team’s productivity. These particles can contaminate the product you’re producing, which increases your scrap rate. Your team will then have to reset, creating plenty of downtime that causes a hit to your productivity.
  • Malfunctions: Without an audit, you won’t know what parts of your air compressor are damaged or in need of maintenance. This could cause downtime if your air compressor breaks down and your team has to stop working until you can repair the system.
  • Storage tanks: During an audit, a professional may suggest that you use a storage tank or increase the size, based on your compressed air demand. You can either get smaller, portable tanks to boost productivity away from the unit or have a larger tank that allows for more production.

5. Create Consistent Results

For manufacturing purposes, you’ll appreciate that an audit helps you create consistent results. You’ll produce reliable products for clients or get consistency for your own projects. To ensure you can reap these benefits, your assessment may check for:

  • Air pressure consistency: When your system has a functioning pressure gauge and no leaks, you’ll have a more accurate sense of the pressure you’re using. Sanders and spray guns, in particular, need a reliable and consistent air pressure to create consistent finishes for your projects.
  • Regulator function: When an audit checks your air compressor’s regulator, you know whether the component is functioning properly. You can input a pressure level for a given tool and know your regulator is accurate. You’ll get consistency from your tools and your air compressor if the regulator is functioning.

Audit and Service Your Air Compressor Equipment With Quincy Compressor

If your air compressor needs an assessment, contact Quincy Compressor to discuss your auditing needs. We also offer maintenance solutions, which are ideal for addressing any issues you’ve discovered in an air compressor assessment.

At Quincy Compressor, we’re known for legendary performance and reliability. We’ve been trusted in the market for almost 100 years, thanks to the value and experience our network of professional and knowledgeable air experts provide. We’ll gladly help you with your air compressor needs, from checking and maintaining your current system to helping you get a new one.

Contact Quincy Compressor today for more information about air compressor auditing and maintenance services.