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Compressed Air Systems – Summer Running

As we start to approach the warmer summer months compressed air systems need to be adjusted for the warmer ambient temperatures.

Just as we need to ensure compressors and ancillary equipment, such as dryers and filters, run in ambient conditions that prevent frost damage during the cold winter months the opposite is true when the weather turns warm.

It is essential that compressors and dryers are all serviced in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations. Old oil that is past its working life loses some of its thermal properties and it becomes more difficult to remove the heat generated during compression. Blocked oil filters also restrict oil flow around the compressor which again prevents the cooling system from working. A common missed service item is the cleaning of the oil and air coolers. If the oil cooler is blocked the compressor will run hot and if the air cooler is blocked the temperature of the compressed air leaving the compressor will be too hot and this will put a lot of strain on the filtration systems, often leading them to fail.

Compressors that are running over the ideal design temperature will also suffer from additional oil consumption. This impacts the system in two ways. Firstly it means that the compressor needs constantly topping up with oil (this is costly) and secondly it puts more strain on the filtration systems as they have to remove this additional oil passing through with the compressed air.

Compressors running hot will also suffer from increased bearing degradation in the airend and motor. Premature bearing failure of this type is extremely costly. If you are fortunate enough to have an HPC compressor then we can offer special exchange AirEnd prices at a significantly reduced cost provided the airend still rotates. However, if you operate other manufacturer’s units then you may be forced to buy new AirEnds at full cost which represents a large portion of the cost of a new compressor!

Obviously, even if the compressor is serviced to the manufacturer’s recommendations it is imperative that the ventilation of a compressor room is suitable to allow fresh air in. Warm ambient conditions coupled with poor ventilation will soon result in overheating problems. A suggestion to improve room ventilation is extraction fans used in conjunction with room thermostats (so they only run when required) or ductwork systems to duct out the warm air and draw cool air in.

For further advice on running compressors in the summer please contact us our team of expert engineers at

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