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The Myth of Free Air – A Guide To Compressors

The air we breathe may be free but the notion that this applies to the compressed air that drives machinery in our laundries is a myth. Although the costs of air compressors may appear minor when compared to laundry equipment, air systems should be properly scrutinized; otherwise laundries may face higher electrical costs, maintenance and unplanned downtime.

True, there was a time when compressed air systems could be more or less taken for granted. Compressor technology was somewhat rudimentary, energy costs were low and processes less sophisticated. But for many laundries all of that has changed. Air compressor design has a great bearing on efficiency and reliability, and electric power is expensive and even penalizing.

But without the right compressor technology, when the air goes down some laundries could have machinery not functioning for up to a week waiting for service technicians to get them back up and running. How long could your laundry run without its air-operated press, folding machine, conveyors or other pneumatically operated equipment?

To minimize having problems with your compressors hire a manufacturer-approved vendor to handle the compressed air equipment.  A qualified compressed air company can save you huge dollars over the life of the compressor.

Many laundry managers don't realize that the initial cost of a compressor and maintenance is minor when compared to electrical costs.  Over the life of the compressed air system, more than 80% of the total compressed air system costs are attributed to electrical costs, while only 11% is the actual compressor cost and about 5% maintenance costs. It has been estimated that a 1/2-inch-sized compressed air leak can cost about $4,800 per month.

Tips to reduce compressed air costs:

Don’t overlook those “minor” air leaks by repairing and replacing piping.

  1. Preserve the compressor through routine maintenance – just like you would your car.  A dirty oil removal filter can waste 2% of your electrical bill while a soiled inlet filter can waste 3% and a clogged air/oil separator up to 5%.

  2. Purchase a premium efficient motor, not only do you save big bucks on your electrical bill, but some electric suppliers offer significant rebates that offset the initial cost.

  3. Consider a no-loss auto drain which can significantly reduce lost air.

  4. Size the compressor based on the CFM you typically need.  Don’t oversize your compressor.

  5. Prepare for OSHA inspections early.  Don’t allow surprise visits to leave you with a violation.  Instead, have your compressor technician examine the system and make recommendations/changes before an audit.


Shannon Richards is the Marketing Manager at LANS Company.  She can be reached at 438 W. Carter Drive, Glendora, CA 91740; 888-596-5267; 626-963-9457; or visit: www.lanscompany.com

Quick Rinse - News From Around The World

Crothall Employee Critically Injured

ROME, Ga. — A steam explosion which critically injured a maintenance worker is under investigation at Crothall Laundry Services. There were no other injures. Crothall Laundry Services provides linen and laundry services to medical facilities.