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Overview

Protecting your compressor during the Winter months

Severe weather conditions can play havoc with your compressed air systems which can ultimately lead to malfunction and potentially costly repair work.  However, with some straightforward maintenance and improvements, you can keep your machines up and running during periods of cold weather.

Some basic tips include:

Health check on refrigerant dryers installed in naturally ventilated or unheated plant rooms - The best dewpoint that these machines can deliver is +3°C, so ambients below this temperature could mean wet air at usage points. We recommend that you keep the environment where the dryer is installed above a temperature of +5°C and trace heat and/or lag any piping that will be exposed to an ambient temperature of less than +3°C (i.e. installed onto the outside of a building) from the dryer outlet to the user points.

Pipe lagging and trace heating on condensate lines - When exposed to atmospheric conditions, particularly in systems with no air treatment, pipes can freeze up and potentially fracture. If your system incorporates automatic drains and an oil and water separator to manage the waste condensate then there will also be a risk of the waste condensate freezing.

Changing the oil - Old oil in compressors that are used on light/ medium duty will contain water which could freeze and potentially cause motor failure due to the air compressor hydraulically locking up.

Fitting cabinet heaters - Air-cooled screw and vane compressors are rated for operation in ambients above 5°C, below which the machines will be less efficient or may even malfunction. The risk is greater If plant is shut down overnight or at weekends during periods of cold weather.

Changing the cooling water and adding anti-freeze - water-cooled compressors are, by their very nature, at risk of problems caused by freezing temperatures.


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