Compressed Air Leak Prevention Program – Where to Start

Compressed air leaks can be a large source of wasted energy in a manufacturing facility.  The industry standard for wasted output from the compressor typically is 20%-30%.  Armed with this knowledge, it is important to know where to start in regards to managing your compressed air system.  A Compressed Air Leak Prevention Program includes the following activities:

  • Leaks can occur in any part of your compressed air system, but there are a few common problem areas that require your immediate attention.  Couplings, tubes, hoses, pipe joints, and fittings are a few of the places that should be checked first.  Typically, pipes with any sort of residue can signify there may be a leak in that area.
  • There are two common ways to check for leaks.  The first and simpler option is to apply soapy water to suspect areas like those mentioned above.  This option is very reliable, but will take up much of your time and effort if you have a large facility.
  • The second and better option for large facilities is to use an ultrasonic acoustic detector.  These devices recognize high frequency air hissing sounds that are undetectable to the human ear.  They are essential in determining where the largest leaks are in your system.  The largest leaks should be prioritized and repaired first in order to provide the most energy savings as quickly as possible.

Fixing leaks once is not sufficient for any large facility.  More leaks will occur throughout the system and a leak prevention program should be implemented in order to reap the rewards of reduced energy demand.  Systematic tagging, tracking, and repair needs to be a part of any evaluation of your facility.