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Opinion piece: Winterisation by Precision Pneumatics Technical Solutions Engineer, Jeff Connally

January 21, 2021
Opinion piece: Winterisation by Precision Pneumatics Technical Solutions Engineer, Jeff Connally

Now that the colder months are upon us, it’s worth making a visit to your compressor installation and checking a few things:

1) What’s the ambient temperature around the compressor? 

In general, compressors are designed to operate in an environment that is between 3C and 35C.  If your compressor system is outside or even indoors, but subject to near or below 0C, you will need to take care that the condensate lines and the oil/water separator do not freeze up! Furthermore, the oil itself in the compressor when colder than normal, becomes ‘thicker’, which can make the unit a little harder to start up after being switch off for 36-48 hours over a weekend.

2) The colder ambient temperatures in the winter months can also ‘mask’ a potential problem!

This is the state of the oil coolers and/or oil level.  Make sure these are blown clean with air (opposite the direction of the cooling air flow), to ensure the compressor can cool itself as we move towards the warmer days.  Every year, we receive many breakdown call-outs on that first warm spring day – 95% of which are related to low oil level, dirty coolers, or both!  The cooler winter ambient temperatures have ‘masked’ the fact that the coolers are dirty and need to be blown clean!

3) Check the state of your dryers and drains! 

Make sure that condensate lines are clear by pressing the ‘test’ button and the drain operates correctly.  Evacuating the condensate is critical, and if condensate lines are frozen, there’s no place for that condensate to go except through your air lines, or potentially backing up and causing major damage to your compressor.

Solutions:

  • Keeping some of that exhaust air that the compressor normally generates around the room, just to keep the ambient temperature above say 5C
  • Wrapping exposed condensate lines and pipework, or even adding a little space heater or heat-lamp may be an effective solution
  • Conducting daily/weekly checks of the compressor system, testing drains, and keeping a log sheet of recorded temperatures and pressures
  • Keeping your system well-maintained with an appropriate level of service based upon your run hours AND environment.

If any questions, please give us a bell at 0151 546 6689 – we’re able to offer a Compressed Air Health check, and offer advice on best practices for your circumstance.

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