Five ways to protect your compressor’s
performance in winter
Chairman, Rastgar Group.
Forecasters are predicting that this
winter is set to be the coldest for more than 60 years. While it
remains to be seen whether Pakistan will be battered by the more
rains, smog and freezing temperatures that are predicted, these
warnings do serve as a useful reminder of the impact that cold
weather can potentially have on compressed air systems during
Here, Imtiaz Rastgar, Chairman at Rastgar
Group, outlines his top tips for ensuring compressors are not
compromised by the cold weather this winter.
Check Filters and
As these parts are responsible for
removing water from a system, it is important to check the
status of filters and dryers. These parts are vital for
preventing downstream freezing, so failing to assess the quality
of a compressor’s filters and dryers can really impact on a
system’s overall performance.
Compressors are typically designed to
operate in ambient temperatures of between 5°C and 35°C. It is
always best practice to site compressors in a heated and
insulated space, which is suitably ventilated to avoid
Of course, manufacturers are constantly
improving a compressor’s performance outside of these
thresholds, but during extreme cold weather it is important that
temperatures do not drop below freezing when the compressor is
not in operation, as this can affect a machine’s performance.
On another note, to really take advantage
of the heat a compressor generates then there is always the
option of a heat recovery system too. This can help offset costs
by directing warm air generated by a compressor into a workspace
or warehouse. A heat recovery system can, therefore, present an
ideal energy saving opportunity in winter, as heating costs
Detecting any leaks is a vital way to
ensure a compressor remains as efficient as possible. Holes in
pipework leads to pressure drop, with the compressor having to
work harder – and consume more energy – to meet the system’s
pressure demands at the point of use.
As the winter approaches, this issue can
particularly damage a compressed air system, as any moisture
retained in the compressed air will pool in low points and
eventually freeze, blocking the pipes. At best, this will
restrict air flow; at worst, this can lead to cracks and a
costly repair bill.
To overcome this, it is recommended that
owners and operators regularly check the condition of dryers,
which remove the majority of moisture from compressed air,
separating it as condensate. Furthermore, it is important to
monitor drains on a regular basis for signs of freezing.
An Oily Issue
In very cold temperatures, oil can
thicken. This high viscosity can impact on a compressor’s
working components, stopping them from moving freely so easily.
Furthermore, oil that is too old can contain water. Should this
freeze at low temperatures, then this can affect the
compressor’s ability to start-up efficiently and potentially
cause premature wear of internal parts.
Operators can address this by implementing
a regular maintenance schedule that reviews the health of the
compressor’s lubricating oil.
Ideally, the issue of low temperature
operation should be addressed at the design stage. For those
considering investing in a new compressed air system, then
factors such as considering where the compressor is sited,
pipework options and downstream equipment should all be taken
into account when specifying a system begins.
For existing systems, any upgrades should
prove to be both cost effective and efficient and should include
a comprehensive service and maintenance package.
However, if winter-proofing a compressed
air system feels too daunting a job, then it’s always best to
turn to a tried and trusted partner that can assist with this.
An on-going maintenance plan can help address any compressor
inefficiencies that might cause problems during the winter
For more information about Compressed Air
Services in Pakistan, please visit