Air 101: Cottonwood’s Effect on Your Compressed Air System

Cottonwood's Effect on Air Compressors

1)      Physical Damage to Your System –

    1. Overheating – Restricted air flow forces the system to exert more energy just to perform basic functions. This will result in your system having to run harder, longer, and eventually cause it to fail.
    2. Contaminants – Air moving at a fast rate turns even the smallest particles into projectiles that can wreak havoc on your system, creating cracks, leaks and irreparable damage. Furthermore, your lubricant will get thick with grime, and your whole compressor could shut down
    3. Aftercooler – Cottonwood is most dangerous to a compressors’ air/oil aftercooler as it will collect heavily both internally and externally

2)      Performance –  As more cottonwood collects on the inlet filter, the pressure drop and compression ratios will increase. A 25mbar pressure drop across your filter element will decrease compressor output by 2%, resulting in higher energy costs to meet your existing demand. For a typical 200 HP air compressor, a dirty air intake filter can cost you $500 to $1,000 every year, in addition to all the damage that will be done to that compressor.

3)      Recommendations –  It’s extremely important this time of year as ambient temperatures rise & cottonwood is flying around to keep an eye on your air compressor’s air filter element and the aftercooler.  If you notice your discharge temps to begin to sky rocket it’s very likely that the aftercooler will need to be removed and washed thoroughly.  In most cases, simply trying to clean the cooler with air isn’t enough.  Need assistance?  Give us a call & we’ll be out right away to get the problem taken care of.