- Compressed air systems constructed of copper or aluminum plumbing generally have fewer air leaks because of the soldered and compression joints.
- Air leaks are more common in systems constructed of threaded black or galvanized pipe - particularly in systems sealed with pipe dope only.
- Threaded pipe systems appeared to be tighter when Teflon tape was used for sealing joints.
Most Common Air Leaks
Quick Disconnects (QD's)
- Replace leaky OD fittings as discovered.
- Place ODs from overhead drops oriented vertically to allow the air hose to hang in a downward direction. This prevents the weight of an air hose from applying unnecessary torque on the fitting, causing the fitting to wear and leak.
- Blow gun OD fittings are notorious for air leaks. Consequently, they should be checked more frequently and replaced as needed. Employees should also be instructed to remove blow guns and other air tools from hoses when not in use.
Spliced Air Hoses
Replace damaged air hoses rather than splicing.
Air Hose Crimps
Install Shutoff Valves
Shutoff valves should be installed on air-operated equipment that tends to leak and/or is used intermittently (example: tire mounting machines). Be sure to instruct employees to use the shutoff valves.
Other Common Leak Sources
- ODs and OD manifolds
- Spliced hoses
- Blow guns
- Air filtration housings and fittings
- Tire machines
- CNC machine fittings
- Air regulators
- Spray booth air switches
The Compressed Air Leak Pilot Project was funded by a state energy grant from the Iowa Economic Development Authority. The project was completed during a six-month timeframe throughout 2014.