Summer air system checklist

May 20, 2014
To prepare for the summer's increase in temperature, humidity, and water, your compressed air system should receive maintenance.

With summer just around the corner and temperatures and humidity on the rise, your compressed air system will experience additional water loading on the air treatment equipment. There is 650% more water in the air at the highest summer compressor operating conditions (122 °F) versus the highest temperatures possible in winter conditions (60 °F).

To prepare for this increase in temperature, humidity, and water, there are several parts of the compressed air system that should receive maintenance before the increased loading occurs.

Wet air receiver tanks

The wet air receiver tank is the first part of an air net that will see the impact from the additional water. There is no physical impact on the tanks themselves, but the drains should be tested and maintained according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Also, if you haven’t already done so, be sure to replace energy-inefficient timed drains with a zero-air-loss drain.


Filters are also affected by additional moisture; the increase in pressure drops seen in coalescing filters leads to higher compressor running costs. To decrease the pressure drops, replace the filter element with a new one.

Don’t forget to check the drain on the filter. The most common filters use float drains, which can clog over time. Maintaining them now can prevent costly air leaks from drains that remain stuck open or even more costly damage from downstream water if a drain becomes clogged shut.

Refrigerated air dryers

Refrigerated air dryers are affected by summer conditions in two ways: the increase from the compressed air temperature and the higher ambient temperatures. To help the units perform better in the heat, the air filter and evaporator should be cleaned to allow for maximum air flow. In compressor rooms that rely on outdoor air circulation, any louvers or fans should be set for their summer operating conditions. And, like both the filters and the tanks, the drains on the dryer should be checked and maintained to prevent possible clogging.

Desiccant air dryers

While not directly releasing water, a desiccant dryer will still be subject to more demanding operating conditions in the summer because the units cycle more often with the higher heat and moisture. Therefore, maintaining the exhaust mufflers allows lower back pressure during regeneration, increasing the dryer’s performance.

Condensate treatment

Mike Robinson is product marketing manager — Quality Air Solutions at Atlas Copco Compressors. Contact him at [email protected].

The additional water being produced during the summer has to go somewhere. This is where condensate treatment comes in. Because it is mixed with compressor oil, the water should not be released directly into the drain. Check the state of your treatment units’ filters and separation tanks to make sure they are still operational. It is also a good idea to have the replacement service kit on hand so that no downtime is required during maintenance.

Time to act

This simple list can be used as a guide to prevent summer operating conditions from impacting your compressed air treatment equipment. By preparing for higher temperatures and humidity, you can make sure your compressed air system breezes through the summer months.

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