In many regions, summer is synonymous with hot, sunny weather. And, while people often enjoy the warm climate, machinery does not. Rising temperatures and humidity can put a strain on certain types of industrial equipment — including air compressors.
When an air compressor gets too hot, this negatively impacts efficiency and performance — and it can even lead to breakdown if it goes unchecked. So, in this article, we’ll be exploring some best practices to help you keep your air compressor from overheating this summer.
The Ideal Ambient Air Temperature Range for Air Compressors
Before we get into best practices, let’s start by defining what the ideal air compressor temperature range actually is.
The ideal ambient air temperature range for air compressor operation is between 50-85° Fahrenheit. So, if it’s under 85°, you don’t need to worry about overheating. Many air compressors are built to withstand up to 104°F — but that’s really pushing the limit. You should strive to keep the room temperature under 100°F to ensure maximal efficiency, safety, and productivity.
As a general rule of thumb, when it comes to temperature, you and your air compressor likely feel similarly about the heat. In other words, if it’s hot enough to make you sweat or feel uncomfortable, then your air compressor will probably be “uncomfortable” as well.
And, on that note, let’s discuss some measures you can take to keep your air compressor’s temperature down and prevent it from overheating.
5 Tips to Prevent Air Compressors from Overheating in Hot Weather
Often, businesses need to continue operating year-round, regardless of weather/seasonal changes. Although high temperatures can present a challenge, it’s still possible to run your air compressor safely if you act and prepare accordingly.
1. Keep Coolers and Moisture Drains Clean
Dirty coolers don’t function properly, which can ultimately lead to overheating. So, it’s important to check coolers at regular intervals to ensure they’re clean — especially if your equipment is exposed to dirt or dust. Similarly, you should also inspect and clean moisture drains often (this is particularly necessary in humid climates).
2. Check Oil Levels and Discharge Temperatures
As a part of routine maintenance, you should be frequently checking your air compressor’s oil levels and discharge temperatures. This is especially important in the summer as the ambient air temperature directly impacts your oil temperature. The oil temperature is the most important health statistic for your air compressor and dictates the longevity of your compressor. For air-cooled compressor systems, the ideal oil operating temperature for screw compressors is 175-190°F. If your compressor’s temperatures are over 200°F for a sustained period of time, your oil is likely degrading.
Among other things, above-normal discharge temperature could be an indication that the thermal valves are not working properly. For further guidance on this, consult an authorized distributor or service technician.
3. Maximize Ventilation and Cooling
When overheating is a risk, you’ll want to do everything you can to curb the temperature both in and around your air compressor. For starters, you can utilize fans, vents, and windows to facilitate ample airflow throughout the installation site. You should also consider upgrading to a larger cooler — or adding a secondary cooler to further reduce the possibility of your air compressor getting hot.
4. Avoid Unfavorable Installation Sites
Continuing on the notion above, you need to be mindful of the environment in which your air compressor operates. Don’t house the air compressor in a poorly-ventilated room. Also, try to avoid exposing your air compressor to high amounts of dust and debris, as this can congest the coolers, impairing their functionality.
5. Consider Implementing a Fully Climate-Controlled Space
Building a climate-controlled space for your air compressor* is one of the most fail-safe ways to protect against overheating. With a fully climate-controlled space, you don’t have to worry about the external temperature and how it will affect your air compressor — and that goes for cold/freezing temperatures as well.
*At TMI, we’re always willing to help clients design and construct custom climate-controlled spaces that allow air compressors to operate in ideal conditions at all times, maximizing uptime, efficiency, and performance.
An overheated air compressor is not only inefficient — it’s also at risk for further complications such as breakdown and damage. If you’re having trouble with your air compressor’s temperature, reach out to our team at TMI. With 24/7 emergency services, we can respond to overheated air compressors immediately and help get your system cooled down and back up and running in no time.