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The truth about compressed air - and the lies we are told

Supplier: CAPS Australia By: CAPS Australia
01 October, 2013

There are many 'urban legends' that have been spread about air compressors over the years - here we investigate some of the biggest myths that many people in Australian industry have accepted as fact.

  • Compressed air is free – nothing can be further from the truth! As a power source it is several times more expensive to use than electricity. In Australia, 10 to 15% of all industrial electricity consumption is used in powering compressed air systems. Typically, over the life of the compressed air system, more than 80% of the total compressed air system costs are attributed to electrical costs.
  • More pressure is better – raising pressure system-wide will require more power online. Pressure problems are best solved at the point of use where they exist, not with more power in the air compressor room.
  • Routine preventative maintenance servicing is not required – the longer you leave between service intervals, the more likely it is that your compressor will break down. How long can your business run without compressed air? A dirty oil removal filter can increase your energy use by 2 per cent and a clogged air/oil separator up to 5 per cent.
  • Cheap air compressors are a bargain – whilst you may save thousands off your purchase cost, don’t forget its lifetime cost. Does it have a premium efficiency motor? If not, your air compressor energy use could be higher than you’d expect. Are services and parts readily available?