Tips to Keep Your Compressor Running Well in the Winter
Air compressors run best in temperatures between 41 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. When it is colder than that, the compressor will not perform efficiently and may get damaged. Problems can also occur when you store the unit outside but use it indoors.
Even if you winterize the machine, using or storing it in cold temperatures requires a bit of extra consideration and work. Here are a few tips to ensure your compressor runs at its optimum and you don’t cause any damage to it due to the temperature.
Use a Heater
When air is compressed, it creates moisture as a by-product. No matter how well the air flows around the compressor, there is bound to be a buildup of condensate. If allowed to freeze, the condensate will expand and could cause hoses or pipes to burst. In addition, if there is frozen moisture on the internal filters or other parts, they can also be damaged.
If the compressor stays outside all the time, or is in a poorly-insulated shed, ask the manufacturer if they have a cold weather kit. If at all possible, enclose the compressor in a shed and include a heater safely located away from the compressor.
Drain Condensate Daily
Whether you will be using the compressor or not, you need to make sure to drain the condensate daily. This process is much easier if you have a heater beside the machine. If you do not drain it daily, more moisture will get inside from the humidity outside. The additional condensate will also freeze and cause even more damage.
Keep the Compressor and Hoses in the Same Temperature
While it might seem like a good idea to keep the compressor inside a warm building and just run the hoses out to where you are working, it is not. As the compressed air moves between the different temperatures, it will cause a lot of condensate in the warm area. Once condensate hits the cold hoses, it will freeze and block the air from getting through. Consider installing a compressed air dryer properly sized for the duty required.
Allow It to Warm Up
If the compressor is normally kept outside, allow it to warm up a bit before turning it on when you bring it inside. Even if you drained the unit before taking it outside for storage, there will still be some frozen moisture in the hoses, the pipes, and the filters. When you bring the machine inside, allow it to warm up to room temperature and drain it again before turning it on.
In addition, a sudden change in the temperature will cause frost to form around and in armatures. As the frost melts, more moisture will gather inside the machine. The frost may also cause parts inside the motor to break.
Don’t Forget About the Cords
Any electrical cords that go to the compressor need to be cared for properly too. In cold weather, they may become brittle on the outside. Do not wrap them tightly or keep them in a place where they will be run over. If at all possible, bury the cords or hang them on high poles from the compressor to the outlet to protect them from damage.
The first thing you should do is to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for winterizing your compressor. However, if the machine will be operating or stored in the cold, you need to continue to take special care of it.
If you have any questions or concerns about the way your compressor is functioning in the winter, contact Compressor-Pump & Service, Inc. We will help you figure out the problem and take care of it so you can keep working.