How to Prevent and Resolve Localized Freezing Problems in Compressed Air Systems
Posted on January 30th, 2020
Localized freezing in your compressed air system can happen at several points in your compressed air system when the temperature drops below 34°F (1°C).
Here are our top tips for how to prevent localized freezing in your compressed air system this winter:
Install the Correct Filtration and Dry Your Air
The best way to prevent downstream freeze-ups is to reduce the Pressure Dew Point (PDP). You can do this by decreasing the PDP to the lowest temperature that your compressed air system can handle. Removing water vapor in your system will automatically lower the (pressure) dewpoint of the air. This will significantly reduce the chance of your compressed air system freezing and becoming blocked.
Ensure that your compressed air is as dry as possible by installing the correct size Filters and Dryers in your system.
The first line of defense in removing accumulated condensate in the system is a Water Separator. Water Separators can remove as much as 99.99% of accumulated water at the point of installation. Then Coalescing Filters can remove fine oil aerosols and particulate from the air and condition the air to a level suitable for a compressed air dryer. Desiccant Dryers are then used to remove any remaining water vapor. Dryers are ideal for applications or installations where temperatures can drop below freezing. Walker Filtration’s Desiccant Dryers can reach pressure dewpoints of -40˚F (40˚C) and -100˚F (-74˚C).
Install a Compressed Air Heater
If you are experiencing localized freezing with your point of use equipment and air flow is low, installing a Compressed Air Heater could help. Sometimes the low air temperature doesn’t cause the system to freeze, but rather creates issues in the application. In these cases, a Compressed Air Heater raises the temperature of the compressed air in a controlled way so that it is in line with the requirements of the application.
Raise the Temperature
Raising the ambient temperature around vent holes, valves, and solenoids decrease the likelihood of freezing. To do this, add heat tracing to blow-off points where the equipment is being used.
Fitting lagging to any external pipework will also help prevent any condensate from freezing within the pipes. Additionally, it will prevent the problem of ice building in the system or being blown downstream.
Remember: It is always important that the equipment operates within the temperature ranges recommended by the manufacturer.
Maintenance is Key
Regular maintenance can help your system remain as energy efficient as possible all year round, and not just in winter. The following simple steps can be taken to ensure your compressed air system is running effectively:
- Check drains for clogging – if the water is not being expelled efficiently, there is a much greater chance that it will freeze.
- Identify and repair leaks – air temperature decreases as it expands. Therefore, leaks can cause freeze ups, waste energy, and reduce the system’s overall efficiency.
- Look after your filters and dryers – they remove water which prevents downstream freezing. If the filters are clogged, pressure drops occur more frequently and the risk of product contamination increases. Regular filter element change out is crucial to maintaining air quality and preventing unnecessary water and contamination in your compressed air system.
Don’t hesitate to contact us at +1 814-836-2900 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like any further advice on preparing your compressed air system for winter weather.