How do you strike the right balance between being energy efficient and having all the pressure you need?

Air compressor control valve

Yes: lowering your air compressor’s pressure will make it more efficient. But there are two rather large caveats to that. The first, as we explored recently in this post, was that reducing the pressure intentionally is only really viable once you’ve eliminated unintentional pressure drops. That’s because maintaining a relatively low operating pressure that’s subject to further drops will leave you without the air power you need.

The second ‘but’ is that whilst lowering the pressure produces greater efficiency, you need to achieve precisely the right balance of efficiency and air power if you’re not to sacrifice performance.

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The effect of lowering air pressure

The higher the pressure the harder your air compressor needs to work to deliver it. As a rule of thumb, every reduction of 2psi will cut the energy the compressor uses by 1%. That may not sound like much, but compressed air typically counts for 10%-30% of a business’s energy spend. In a compressor that’s operating virtually all day every day, the savings can be significant.

Additionally, lower pressure means a lower flow rate at leak points. Ideally, of course, you wouldn’t have any leaks, but operating at a lower pressure would at least ensure they are less costly.


How to lower the pressure

The key is making small, incremental drops each day and assessing the effect. At the point at which you encounter problems, nudge the pressure back up a couple of psi and that should be the sweet spot between pressure and efficiency. That’s hardly a scientific approach, of course, so for expert help in optimising your system talk to us.


Does it make a difference?

You’d be surprised at what we encounter. Compressed air systems running at pressures far beyond anything the business requires can cost businesses dearly in terms of energy costs and wear, so it really is worth investigating.


For equipment, system design and maintenance to help your air compressor run more efficiently, talk to us on 0114 243 2347.

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