Understanding How To Identify Compressed Air Leaks

21 December 2015
 Categories: , Articles


Leaky air compressors can leave you struggling with insufficient air when you need it the most. It can also lead to increased energy consumption and cost, because the compressor will run more often. To avoid problems like this, it's important that you're attentive to the risk of leaks with your equipment. Air compressor leaks are usually identified with the use of a compressed air leak detector as part of a routine compressed air audit. Here's a look at what you need to know about the audits and leak detection in your new air compressors.

What Is a Compressed Air Audit?

Compressed air audits will help you reduce the energy consumption of your air compressors. This is accomplished in two ways. First, the auditor will examine the air supply from the compressor. This includes measuring the set points, the control system and other features. It's also important to look at the demand on the compressor. Demand includes things like the average air usage and the draw of the equipment that you use with the compressor. Your technician will also evaluate the supply lines and look for any indications of compressed air leaks.

How Do You Find Compressed Air Leaks?

The best way to spot compressed air leaks is by listening for them. If the leak is significant enough, you'll even be able to hear it on your own if you walk through the shop when it's shut down and there are no machines running. Unfortunately, smaller leaks are costly, too, and they are harder to detect. Most of the sound that an air compressor leak produces is ultrasonic, though. That means that you'll need an ultrasonic detection system to identify the smaller leaks. Additionally, you'll need ultrasonic testing to spot leaks in your overhead piping. The ultrasonic detector will convert those ultrasonic sounds into a frequency that your ear can identify.

Understanding the Results of the Audit

The final results of the audit will tell you a few things. First, you'll receive the decibel rating that indicates how loud the leak is. That decibel level is then converted into an estimated leak size. The conversion used to estimate the size of the leak will vary from model to model, so use it solely as an estimate and address the leak right away.

Your audit report will also provide you with an approximate airflow volume and the corresponding energy costs of the leak. This will help to give you a baseline of what the leak may be costing you, but is also just an estimate.

Buying a Leak Detector

If you want to have an ultrasonic leak detector on hand for your routine assessment needs, you can invest in one for a small cost. You'll find that some of the more expensive units can be used in many different applications, including hydraulics testing and other services. The lower-cost units are usually dedicated to ultrasonic air leak testing. You'll find two primary types of ultrasonic leak detectors. They come in both close range and long range types.

Long-Range Detectors – The long-range detection types resemble microphones, and they are typically used to identify leaks in overhead systems. They are ideal for spotting air leaks at a distance.

Close-Range Detectors – Close-range detectors are typically used for locating air leaks inside and around the equipment on the floor. These units resemble a tube-like component.

Most detectors come with either headphones to transmit an audible sound or a visible indicator that shows when a leak is identified. It's typically easiest to use a sensor that includes the headphones with an audible detection alert, because those units will alter the frequency of the sound and transmit that through the headphones for you to hear.

The more you know about how air compressor leaks are identified and how audits work, the easier it will be for you to identify a problem before it costs you significantly in lost energy and air resources. Talk with a local air compressor specialist or visit a site like http://www.compressor-pump.com for more information.