Contrary to what some might think, compressed air is not free. In fact, for the energy it takes to produce it to what is generated as a result, it is often considered the most expensive utility in a typical manufacturing facility. To add to the problem, the U.S. DOE notes that more than 50% of all compressed air systems have energy-efficiency problems. Air compressor experts have also estimated that as much as 30% of compressed air generated is lost via leaks in the compressed air system.
Often, when a compressed air system struggles to meet current demands on the system, spare compressors are rented and used as backups or an additional compressor is installed. Both strategies are expensive, and depending on the size of the compressors needed, they could equate to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Because compressed air systems inherently have leaks, regardless of piping, use, and design, implementing a compressed-air leak-management program can be an economical and effective way to improve the efficiency of any compressed air system. Having a compressed-air leak-management program in place that is designed to identify and repair compressed air leaks before they become a large problem can save time, money, and energy. Proper planning and creating a sense of awareness by educating employees on how costly compressed air leaks can be is integral to achieving success with any compressed-air leak-management program.