Leaks are a significant source of wasted energy in a compressed air system, often wasting as much as 20-30% of the compressor’s output. Compressed air leaks can also contribute to problems with system operations, including:
- Fluctuating system pressure, which can cause air tools and other air-operated equipment to function less efficiently, possibly affecting production
- Excess compressor capacity, resulting in higher than necessary costs
- Decreased service life and increased maintenance of supply equipment (including the compressor package) due to unnecessary cycling and increased run time.
Although leaks can occur in any part of the system, the most common problem areas are: couplings, hoses, tubes, fittings, pipe joints, quick disconnects, FRLs (filter, regulator, and lubricator), condensate traps, valves, flanges, packings, thread sealants, and point of use devices. Leakage rates are a function of the supply pressure in an uncontrolled system and increase with higher system pressures. Leakage rates are also proportional to the square of the orifice diameter.