Equipment and Solutions

What Is Air Compressor Pressure Drop?  

Air compressor at a job site

Pressure drop refers to the loss of air pressure within a compressed air system from the compressor discharge to the point of use. This event occurs as the compressed air travels through the distribution system and can happen at any point between the air tank and endpoint tools. While all air compressors experience pressure drop, it should only account for a fraction of the discharge pressure, equaling less than 10%

Drastic pressure drops can impact air compressor performance and cause excessive energy consumption. Luckily, there are ways to prevent extreme pressure drops from occurring in your air compressor. 

Why Is My Air Compressor Losing Pressure?

Pressure drops result from any airflow obstruction that occurs within the compressor system. There are two primary causes of pressure drop — air distribution issues and air quality component problems. 

Common causes of pressure drops include:

  • Air leaks: Compressed air leaks result in low air pressure, which can cause downtime and increase energy costs. These leaks can come from various locations, including the compressor, oil fill tube or hood. 
  • Power problems: Power loss can result from several issues, such as blown fuses, a worn starter capacitor or a tripped breaker.
  • Compressor failure: If your compressor won’t start, shut down or deliver adequate air pressure, you may be experiencing a disconnected power cord or power switch, faulty pressure switch, defective release valve, broken gasket or inoperative pump. 
  • Oil contamination: When oil infiltrates your compressed air lines, it can cause seals to crack or swell. Oil is most detrimental to plastic components, causing them to split.
  • Repair needs: Air compressors often experience pressure drops due to broken parts, such as intake filters, fans, manifolds and on/off switches. 
  • Flow issues: Interrupted pressure flow has numerous causes, including incorrect hose connectors, low gauges and plugged intake filters.
How to Minimize Pressure Drop in Air Compressors

How to Minimize Pressure Drop in Air Compressors

You can reduce air pressure drop in your compressed air system in numerous ways:

  • Redesign your system: Your system distribution layout may be too sophisticated to produce adequate air pressure or flow. Try modifying your system and eliminate any intermediary components. 
  • Look for hose and tube restrictions: Inspect your hoses and tubing for airflow obstructions like kinks, folds or holes. If you find any defects, be sure to replace the components.
  • Maintain air filters: Be sure to routinely clean your air filters and replace any that have grown too dirty or clogged. 
  • Check pipe connectors: Inspect your pipe connectors for signs of leakage or looseness and replace any ill-fitting connectors with properly sized components. 
  • Replace faulty parts: Frequently check your aftercooler, separators and dryers to ensure they’re in working condition. If these components fail or don’t operate effectively, be sure to replace them.
  • Reduce air travel distance: Pressure drop can occur when air travels across extensive distances. Try reducing the number of connecting points in your air system, such as hoses and connectors, to minimize this distance.
  • Reset regulators: You can adjust your regulator settings to prevent energy waste. If pressure drop still occurs, replace the regulator with a new model.
  • Change lubricators: Make sure your lubricators are appropriately sized and rated for maximum pressure-drop reduction to achieve the best performance.

Secure a High-Quality Air Compressor for Your Business at RAKA

You can minimize pressure drops with a state-of-the-art air compressor rental from RAKA. We’ve spent over four decades providing our customers with efficient and economical material handling solutions. 

Contact us for more information on our offerings today!

Secure a High-Quality Air Compressor for Your Business at RAKA