If you own a construction business and typically use a lot of heavy machinery, including skid-steers and dozers, then completing maintenance tasks on your own can certainly save you a great deal of money. If you want to repair and maintain your heavy construction equipment, then an air compressor can be a valuable tool to power your pneumatic tools and to fill your equipment tires with air. If you are on a budget, then you may want to save as much as you can, especially after spending anywhere from $2,000 to $30,000 on average for the machine. There are some simple things you can do to make sure that the compressor is running efficiently so you do not waste money.
Unplug the Compressor When It Is Not in Use
If you are used to running a smaller compressor for light tasks around your business, then you may be used to keeping the device plugged in and turned on during business hours. The smaller appliances are 5 horsepower units. These devices will use about .746 kilowatts per hour for every one horsepower. This means that a 5 horsepower unit will use 3.73 kilowatts per hour. If the unit runs 40 hours a week, then this will work out to be about 149 kilowatts a week. Currently, electricity costs an average of 12 cents per kilowatt hour. In total, it will cost you at least about $18 a week or $72 a month to run the compressor. Since your air compressor is not 100% efficient, your expenses will be a bit more than this. However, the total electricity cost is likely negligible when it comes to business expenses.
If you decide to invest in a 50-horsepower air compressor that is 10 times more powerful than your 5-horsepower machine, then it will also cost you 10 times more to run it. A 100-horsepower unit will cost 20 times as much.
If you do have a powerful 50- or 100-horsepower unit, you can save yourself a great deal of money by simply keeping the unit unplugged and turned off unless you need to use it. Even if you need to use the compressor half the day during the workweek, you will cut your electricity costs in half by unplugging the compressor when it is not being used.
Make Sure Hoses Are in Good Shape
Another cost you should be concerned about is the expense of wasted air. Air compressors work by pulling air into an intake vent and compressing it with the help of a piston or rotary pump. The compressed air is then moved to a holding tank until it is discharged. Compressed air is under a great deal of pressure, and the seal around the release hose and the nozzle head will help to keep air from leaking out. Once the hose nozzle is attached to a pneumatic tool or the valve stem on one of your tires, air will release from the holding tank. Pressure will drop in the tank once air is used, and the pump will turn on again to compress more air.
If you have a hole in your air hose, then air will escape from the opening when you are and are not releasing air from the nozzle tip. This will cause the pump to turn on more often. Not only will this cause the compressor pump to work harder and possibly break down more quickly, but you will be wasting electricity as the tank loses air and must be refilled.
Make sure to check the hose often for leaks. You can do this by running your hand along the length of the hose when the compressor is on. If you feel air coming out of the hose, releasing from the nozzle, or coming out of the seal near the compressor, then replace the hose immediately.
Talk to a company such as Compressed Air Systems for more information.