Performance, Precision, Partnership

Is your compressor in danger of overheating? Four possible causes, and how to stop it

As energy prices continue to soar, it’s more important than ever to ensure you keep your compressor from overheating, in order to help reduce costs and prevent downtime.  

Overheating is one of the leading reasons for emergency compressor repair callouts. However, the reasons for overheating are varied. Here are four things to look out for to prevent your compressor from overheating, resulting in costly downtime.

  1. Inadequate ventilation

Air compressors generate a huge amount of heat. Therefore, they need a huge amount of air to keep cool. A large proportion of the energy put into the compressor is given off as heat. Inadequate ventilation can cause the ambient temperature around the compressor to rise to dangerous levels and the compressor will overheat. Good ventilation and constant airflow over the compressor will allow the heat to dissipate allowing for more efficient running.

  1. Air Leaks

Not only are air leaks in your downstream pipework or equipment costly in terms of energy consumption, but they also add undue stress by forcing your compressor to run constantly, increasing wear, reducing efficiency and increasing the chances of overheating. Regularly check your compressed air system and tools for leaks and ensure your air compressor is sized correctly for your air demands.

  1. Lack of oil

The oil or coolant in a compressor can serve multiple functions from simple lubrication to sealing gaps, preventing high pressure air escaping around internal components. However, the oil in some compressors is also used to draw heat away from the compression element. The oil flows around the compression element, lubricating, sealing, and gathering heat. It is then separated and filtered before being pumped through a cooler so the heat can dissipate. If the oil level is not correct, there may not be enough oil to carry the heat away from the compression element and the compressor may overheat.

  1. Defective thermal valve

A thermal valve (or thermostatic valve) enables the system to measure and respond to changes in the unit’s temperature by controlling the flow of oil. When the compressor is cold, the valve bypasses the oil cooler in order to heat the oil to the optimum operating temperature as quickly as possible. However, if the thermal valve is broken and prevents hot oil from being cooled, the compressor will overheat and shut down.

Turn compression heat into useful energy with heat recovery

Considering the amount of energy lost to heat in the compression process, it makes sense to invest in a heat recovery system, which offers significant savings and allows you to harness waste heat from air compressors. Without heat recovery solutions, the heat is lost into the atmosphere. The amount of electrical energy that can be recovered depends on the type and size of the compressor, but total system heat recovery could be up to 96% of the energy used to run your compressor.

Go Yellow. Be Green. Save Money.

Get in touch for consulting and analysis expertise from an HPC KAESER specialist about optimising your current compressed air system, or to discuss a new system, tailored to your requirements. We can answer your questions and advise about the best compressed air solution for your operation, to achieve the lowest total lifecycle costs.

HPC KAESER offers a range of products, including blowers and rotary screw compressors supported by experienced and knowledgeable HPC trained engineers and a nationwide network of authorised distribution partners. Contact us to find out more.