you Winterize your Air Compressor System?
Rotary Screw Compressor
by. Imtiaz Rastgar.
As temperatures drop in winter, now is the
time to inspect and look at winterizing your air compressor to
ensure it will be in good condition for the colder months ahead.
Maintenance to Keep Your System Weatherized
We recommend biannual maintenance in
preparation for extreme temperatures, one in late spring and the
other in late fall. During those times you’ll want to perform
the following steps on your air compressor:
- Inspect the weather stripping:
If signs of wear and tear are visible on the stripping,
replace it immediately.
- Inspect the insulation: Another sign
of trouble is when heat leaks from your system.
- Inspect the drains and openings
of the air intake: To ensure maximum protection from
cold winds and rain, the drains and openings must be in good
Check the tanks for condensation:
During winter months your tank could accumulate moisture inside,
and if left unchecked, could freeze if temperatures get cold
enough. You’ll want to be sure to inspect your tanks several
times each week throughout the winter to ensure that
condensation isn’t building up. If the slightest amount of
moisture does accumulate, drain it immediately. Whenever you see
amounts of moisture appear within a couple of days, it could be
a sign that something much worse is happening within your
compressed air system.
In order to remove the condensation as
much as possible, you’ll want to put the drain on the receiver
tank at the lowest possible angle. Some systems that drain
automatically are equipped with test buttons so you to see
whether it’s working.
Winterize The Condensate Drains and
Bowls Outside: A common mistake is neglecting the
outdoor drains during the colder months. When temps drop to
freezing, apply heat trace tape over exposed parts of your drain
lines to stop them from freezing.
If you don’t plan to use your equipment in
the winter, or if you’ll be shutting down industrial compressors
during the holiday season, there isn’t a need for heat tape
because it won’t receive energy without the system running. In
those cases, drain the water from the lines so they don’t
Make Louver Adjustments: In
some applications you can salvage the heat that escapes from an
air compressor. The easiest way is to duct the heat so it can
recirculate by directing it toward the compressor to prevent it
from cooling down too much; or you can duct the heat to other
areas to save on heating bills. If the louvers on your air
compressor aren’t controlled by a thermostat they will need to
be adjusted by hand to get the right temperatures.
Try a Cabinet or Ambient Heater:
On some air compressors, the lubricant can be preheated with
a cabinet heater. If your unit doesn’t work this way, you can
use an ambient heater. This method keeps the lubricant
temperatures just above the minimum to safeguard the compressor
from wear on the motor and lower the possibility of system
failure. If you have either of these heater types installed,
you’ll want to inspect it to see if it’s set for the lowest
temperature allowed by the manufacturer.
Why Drying is
Needed on an Industrial Air Compressor
Certain times of the year require
compressed air systems to be dried because of the water vapor in
the air. When the temperature of compressed air or gas gets
below a certain level – generally referred to as the dew point –
where it can’t hold vapor any longer, the vapor turns to liquid,
which causes condensation. If you have questions on how this
works, contact us and our service team will be glad to answer
When an air compressor hasn’t been
serviced properly and moisture builds up, it can cause damage.
In manufacturing facilities, compressed air with moisture can
cause issues in machine operation and production.
Moisture has been found to:
- Cause rust on machinery, eroding the
joints by rinsing off lubrication
- Diminish the shine, adhesion and
texture of the paint
- Cause pneumatic controls to
malfunction due to scale and rust, leading to product damage
and machinery shutdowns
- Corrode instruments that are operated
with air or gas, causing processes to shut down because of
- Dirty moisture can eat away at the
oils in the air cylinder, which then requires more upkeep.
In the valves, dirty moisture can lead to stiffening and
cracking on the rubber diaphragms.
- Moisture can leave corrosive
particles that clog supply lines and eat away at
When moisture forms on industrial
machinery, the dispersion of corrosive particles can shorten the
lifespan of equipment, causing issues ranging from clogged
valves and fittings to ice formation. Compressed air moisture
can contain things like dirt, oil, and water that cause damage
to pipes, fittings, paint layers, and joints. Machines that can
utilize clean, dry air perform with greater efficiency and for
longer periods of time.
Why you need to
winterize your Compressed Air System
The overall performance of an air
compressor can certainly be impacted by its surrounding
environment because the rise and fall of heat levels will affect
how the equipment operates.
Frozen water: While a
variety of issues can arise when the temperatures drop below
freezing, the one you have to be most careful of is water. It’s
essential to do timely assessments of each and every spot where
liquid can be isolated so you can identify areas where leaks may
Icy oil: Oil temperature
always needs to be monitored and regulated. If not, the oil
could drop to a level so cold that it cannot lubricate or seal
the machinery. Icy oil can also cause a compressor to a
malfunction or stop working altogether. For maximum reliability,
oil must be kept within a temperature range that never gets too
hot or too cold.
If you have a working knowledge of the key
steps involved in managing temperatures, you could potentially
handle many of the basic tasks involved in servicing your air
compressor system. But remember, air compressors differ in their
maintenance and repair needs, and not likely to find all the
answers for your system in a general instruction manual. By
following the instructions that were given for a different
model, you could end up causing more damage to your air
As you begin to winterize your air
compressor, consider the following questions:
- What are the issues that concern you
- Are there things pertaining to your
system’s exterior that need to be taken into consideration?
- How many hours per day is your air
compressor being used?
The answers will help you better
understand your needs when it comes to air compressor servicing,
repairs and maintenance. For instance, you might not have as
many issues if you run your system around the clock, versus
operating it only on weekdays, which could lead to problems on
Monday morning if the temperature changes too much.
Upgrade Your Compressed Air System?
In some cases, winterizing your air
compressor can be as simple as putting a heater next to the oil
tank each day. Most likely, the issue is more complicated and
difficult to narrow down. If that’s the case, you may want to
consult with an air compressor servicing expert.
Rastgar Air Compressors sells and services
CompAir air compressors throughout Pakistan. We are CompAir Air
Compressor authorized distributors and specialists in Pakistan.
Call us today with your compressed air needs.