If you operate a compressor at your place of business, and the compressor is a minimum of 50 HP, a small air leak could end up costing you big dollars. Detecting and plugging these leaks can assist in saving you money and allowing your business to operate smoothly and efficiently. It can also help to keep a small leak from getting larger over the course of time and causing an additional drain on your budget.[Tweet “An air leak size as small as 1/32 could waste as much as 1800 ft.³ of air per month”]
Air leak detectors can typically be separated into three different types, sniffer, visual, and listening. The latter is what will be used for detecting air leaks in your compressor system. The specific type of detector that is used is an ultrasonic detector, and it makes the ultrasonic sounds created by even the smallest of leaks detectable.
If a larger air leak exists, it is likely that you will hear an audible hissing noise and can track down the leak easily. Detecting smaller leaks often makes it necessary for you to use the ultrasonic leak detector because you may not hear an audible noise due to the size of the leak. It has to do with the frequency of the sound that is created by the leak. A larger air leak is audible, but the frequency increases as the size of the leak decreases. Eventually, the frequency may be too high for our ears to detect.
The ultrasonic leak detector is able to hear even the highest frequencies that may be emitted due to a very small leak. As a result, it can lead you to the area where the leak exists and can pinpoint it, even if it is not visible.
It is not always necessary to be right on top of the air leak in order to know that it exists. In some cases, even a small leak is going to produce enough of a sound so that it can be detected by an ultrasonic leak detector from up to a few feet away. It doesn’t even have to be under high pressure, as a quality ultrasonic leak detector can typically hear a leak, even if the pressure is only 1 psi. Of course, it is typically easier to find the leak if it is under a greater amount of pressure.
Some ultrasonic leak detectors will pick up on the high-frequency air leak and then convert it to a lower frequency so that it can be heard by the operator of the detector through a set of headphones. This process is known as heterodyning, and it works by combining two frequencies to create a new frequency that can be heard by the human ear.
Once the air leak has been detected, it can be repaired, and you can enjoy the lower cost and greater efficiency that is now available.