Planning a Successful Budget for Air Compressor Maintenance

Dec 10, 2021

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When you're planning your air compressor maintenance budget, the right strategy can help you keep your equipment in optimal condition at a reasonable cost.

How do you calculate compressed air requirements?

Understanding your options for types of compressors, frequency of use and other key factors can help you identify your operational needs and expenses. When you use the right process for your compressed air system, you can use your equipment efficiently.

In This Article

Considerations for Air Compressor Maintenance Budget

You'll want to know how your air compressor works and what to expect from its performance to get started on calculating airflow. You can evaluate some fundamental conditions and create a compressed air consumption chart to estimate your projected maintenance costs.

If you're ready to learn how to calculate compressed air requirements, explore these key considerations to help you plan your budget accurately:

Type of Compressors

When setting up your maintenance budget, one significant factor is the types of compressors you own and how many you have.

Depending on your industry and company size, these factors can differ widely. However, standard compressors you may have available include:

  • Oil-free compressors: This type of compressor operates without oil, which usually will require less regular maintenance. In turn, it typically costs less to maintain.
  • Reciprocating compressors: This equipment uses one-way valves to transport air into a chamber and compress it with pistons. It's a positive displacement machine that typically requires frequent oil additions and other maintenance, which can lead to higher costs.
  • Rotary screw: The rotary screw compressor works as a positive displacement machine, using matched helical screws to force air into a chamber for compression. To operate, the screws need ongoing lubrication and other maintenance for valves, air inlet filters and other components.
  • Centrifugal: Centrifugal air compressors use radial blades to draw air into a rotating impeller. They have a straightforward design and do not require oil, which means they need less maintenance than other types of compressors.

Generally speaking, compressors that need oil for operations will require more maintenance and potentially cost more than other types of equipment. Keep in mind that the ongoing oil supply will add to your overall operating expenses.

Installation Conditions

Knowing how you'll install your air compressor can impact ongoing maintenance requirements and costs as well.

If you choose to install your equipment outside, you'll need to provide maintenance to combat extreme temperatures or moisture. Indoors, you can expect maintenance requirements to come from humidity, dust or other types of debris, depending on the type of facility.

If you can install your air compressor in a more controlled environment, you'll have the chance to reduce overall maintenance needs. When outside factors such as temperature and humidity remain stable, the air compressor can operate more quickly and efficiently without needing components or parts replaced as often.

Operating Cycle

Depending on your equipment's operating cycle, your maintenance frequency can vary considerably. If your air compressor has a higher operational process, you can expect to have more maintenance for more significant wear and tear.

Frequency of Use

Your air compressor's maintenance requirements will also depend on how often you use it.

If the equipment has a cyclical schedule and has downtime regularly, you can expect it to require less service. However, if you need to use the equipment often, it will probably experience wear and tear sooner.

In general, it's a good idea to service your equipment at least once a year, even if you're not using it that frequently.

If you're concerned about overusing your equipment, you might consider having an auxiliary source available to alternate with the primary source. That way, you can periodically switch between the equipment and ensure your air compressor gets downtime to limit wear-and-tear on components.

Cooling Systems

As a critical component of your equipment, the air compressor's cooling system may also need servicing periodically. Its maintenance needs can influence your compressor's overall servicing schedule, so you'll want to devote adequate attention to it.

Different types of cooling systems will need different levels of maintenance — for example, natural air convection may have a lower maintenance system than air-to-liquid heat exchange.

Whether the system is open or closed can also influence overall maintenance needs. An open system can allow debris in that could impede operations, so learn how your equipment cooling system works beforehand.

Safety Levels

In every facility, safety standards may differ slightly, and you may need to complete periodic equipment inspections or routine maintenance to meet these requirements.

These company-specific policies can also impact your overall maintenance budget, so include those requirements.

If the guidelines are updated, make the necessary changes in your budget to accommodate the new regulations. That way, you can more accurately predict your costs for equipment servicing.

Auxiliary Equipment

As you manage your air compressor, you may find that some other auxiliary equipment also needs periodic maintenance. You'll want to ensure you add in any expenses required to service these components.

Some of these include:

  • Filter regulator lubricator
  • Dryers
  • Air filters
  • Receivers and air storage
  • Fittings
  • Separators and drains
  • Oil filters
  • Piping

Some auxiliary equipment will be consumable and some will be more long-term. Remember that you'll need to pay to replace select items over time and repair others.

The Benefit of Air Compressor Auditing

Completing an audit can benefit the budget planning process by helping you:

  • Identify priorities
  • Improve processes
  • Meet industry standards

A team of professionals will inspect your system and provide recommendations and metrics to help you assess your current situation.

Learn more about the five benefits of air compressor auditing:

1. Establishes a Baseline

You can leverage an audit to help you set a standard for operations and budgeting. You can then more easily identify how you need to maintain your air compressor equipment and build your budget to accommodate those needs.

2. Streamlines Maintenance Management

Having reliable auditing helps you streamline the entire maintenance process to identify what needs done and when. It's a simple solution that optimizes your systems, enables you to prioritize and ensures you're covering all requirements.

Auditing follows rigorous assessment standards for energy conservation, efficiency and other key metrics to help you optimize your management.

3. Optimizes Cost-Efficiency

Auditing can help pinpoint output inefficiencies that lead to wasted resources in your system. When you can identify the cost of inefficiencies, you'll find solutions and decrease overall operating expenses.

4. Identifies Maintenance Priorities

With auditing insights, you can determine what maintenance requirements you must prioritize for your equipment. Once you know what's most important, you can structure your budget to support those priorities first.

5. Optimizes Budget Allocations

Auditing helps you set your priorities and ensure you're allocating funds appropriately for different maintenance requirements. The oversight gives you accountability and clarity to track expenses and project budgeting needs for the future.

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