Performance, Precision, Partnership

Maximise savings by managing air leaks in your compressed air system

Are you looking for ways to reduce your energy bills and improve the efficiency of your compressed air system? Look no further than managing air leaks. This blog provides a simple guide to help you identify and fix air leaks in your system, reduce your energy bills, and protect the environment.

Are you aware that reducing air leaks in your compressed air system is the single most important energy-saving measure you can take? It's true! All compressed air systems have leaks, but in the past, these leaks were ignored because they posed no immediate health and safety hazard.

However, the true cost of ignoring compressed air leaks is staggering. Just one 2mm hole in your pipework could cost over £1,249 per year in wasted energy. In addition, a high leak rate can cause fluctuations in pressure, resulting in hidden costs such as slower running or even production downtime.

HPC and our Authorised Distributors can provide the necessary expertise to ensure your compressed air system is running optimally. However, in the meantime here are the main areas to consider as part of a good compressed air energy reduction program.

Where to look for leaks

  • There are several common leakage sources to look out for, including:
  • Air-using equipment left running when not needed
  • Manual condensate drain valves left open
  • Leaking hoses and couplings
  • Leaking pipes and pipe joints

How to reduce leaks

   1.Under pressure

A pressure drop in the system means that the generating pressure is set much higher than is necessary. Start by identifying why there is a pressure drop and take action. It may be due to:

  • Leaks
  • System component constrictions (e.g. valves, bends)
  • Undersized piping
  • Pipework installation (e.g. no ring main)

     2.Identify and measure

Conduct an out of hours survey and walk the site listening for leaks. Then, implement a leak management program:

  • Tag the leaks and record on a site plan
  • Grade the priorities - and fix the largest leaks first
  • Encourage users to report leaks and repair as soon as possible

      3. Stop the drop

Once you have repaired the leaks, speak to us about reducing the generation pressure at the compressor (understanding the system pressure is critical). Otherwise, fixing leaks will increase the pressure and not only impact your system but also put your projected savings at risk.

  • The pressure drop should be less than 10% of the compressor's discharge pressure, as measured from the compressor outlet to the point of use.
  • If one section of the plant requires a much lower pressure, then it may be better to run a dedicated low-pressure compressor or to regulate the pressure down for that line.
  • On average, it is found that for every 1 bar of additional generation pressure, there is a loss of 7% in specific energy. Therefore, keeping pressure losses low helps reduce operating costs.

    4. Zone out

  • Save energy with good pipework design:
  • Split the system into zones and pressurize each as required
  • Remove or isolate redundant piping
  • Use valves to isolate parts of the distribution network
  • Select large radius bends instead of elbows
  • Support piping to minimize movement and sagging to reduce leaks and build-up of fluids

Top tips

  • Don't generate at a higher pressure than necessary
  • Measure the pressure drop across the system
  • Not all parts of the network operate to the same hours or pressure, so save energy by zoning the compressed air system
  • Leaks need to be monitored constantly. Carry out a leak survey at least twice a year


  • If you're planning to purchase equipment to save energy, ensure you compare alternatives based on whole life cost, not just the initial capital outlay.
  • If you buy less efficient equipment at the outset to save money, you will be locked into higher running costs for the long term.

Minimise leaks and improve efficiency with HPC KAESER and BCAS

Reducing air leaks in your compressed air system is a critical energy-saving measure that can have a significant impact on your business's bottom line. HPC and its Authorised Distributors are experienced and qualified to provide service plans and preventative maintenance agreements that meet specific and individual requirements. Peace of mind is also provided that all work will be in accordance with HPC guidelines and current legislation.

HPC is a member of the British Compressed Air Society (BCAS), which is spearheading a campaign to cut compressed air energy wastage. The goal is to take the equivalent of 317,000 cars off the road, saving UK business over £147.5 million. Visit the BCAS 10% Taskforce website to find out more.