By: Fluid-Aire

How to Determine the Optimal Temperature Range for Compressed Air Equipment

Temperature plays a key role in how your air compressor will perform on a day-to-day basis. Your compressor may be outside all year long or in a warehouse where temperatures easily fluctuate. No matter the environment, knowing the ideal temperatures your air compressor can function in, is very important.

When determining the optimal temperature range for your air compressor’s environment, you should look at it from two different viewpoints:

Mechanical Standpoint
Between 50 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit is the ideal operating temperature. This isn’t too cold or too hot, thus avoiding freezing and overheating.

Air Density Standpoint
Colder air is actually better for your air compressor. This is because, the colder the air going into the machine, the drier that it will be. As all compressed air users know, it is vital that operations have dry air in order to maintain product quality.

How cold is too cold?

Due to the mechanical side, in order to avoid freezing, you shouldn’t run your air compressor below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The concern with cold temperatures is that condensation may freeze in the aluminum air cooler which can lead to cracking. More importantly, cold temperatures can cause issues with the viscosity of the oil. The cold ambient air can thicken the oil to the point where proper lubrication is impossible and can cause the machine to shut down.

How hot is too hot?

When it comes to hotter temperatures, most all rotary screw compressors are designed to run in a 105 degrees Fahrenheit environment. There are three catches with running it in this hot of an environment:

  • The cooler must be perfectly clean.
  • The oil sump tank must be filled to its maximum level.
  • Premium quality fully synthetic oil must be used.

If the criteria above are not met, it is very likely that the machine will shut down in high ambient temperatures. If you have a hard time avoiding these high temperatures, there are machines that can stand the heat (pun intended). Our RSP series compressor has an oversized cooler option that will allow for up to 115 degrees Fahrenheit!

The Perfect Temperature

Most compressed air dryers are sized for 100-degrees ambient with a 100-degrees inlet temperature. In general, compressor air coolers are designed with a 15-degree approach. This means that if the ambient temperature is 85 degrees, the incoming air from the compressor to the dryer will be 100 degrees Fahrenheit at full load. This is why we say 85 degrees Fahrenheit is the ideal maximum temperature. Often though, we find ourselves using the next dryer size up in order to compensate for temperatures over 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

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