Intelligent air compressor room design is vital.
You need to have sufficient space for the compressor and all of the ancillary equipment, with enough room for servicing and maintenance.
There are some common issues with air compressor room design:
- Designing rooms that are too small to try and contain the noise produced.
- Preserving floor space but then having inadequate room for servicing.
- Having small ventilation vents, given the costs of ducting.
Air compressor room design isn’t just vital for comfort; it’s also key to ensuring your equipment remains in good working order.
For example, if there isn’t enough ducting, the exhaust will flow back into the room.
Unfortunately, that means the cooling fan will start sucking in heated air, creating a closed circuit that inevitably causes the compressor to overheat.
Here we’ll run through some of the crucial air compressor room design considerations to ensure you don’t fall foul of any of these typical problems!
Choosing Where to Position Your Air Compressor
Before we think about the practicalities of airflow and venting, it’s essential to consider where your compressor will be located – and selecting a room with enough capacity.
Many modern air compression units are bought as an integrated package or turnkey solution.
So even though you’re less likely to need to position multiple components, air compressor room design is still essential.
Here are some of the factors:
- The space must be large enough with access for servicing and maintenance.
- Associated equipment should be nearby – such as fans, pumps and the cooling system. The closer the equipment, the less piping you’ll require.
- Shorter piping is more cost-effective and practical since it increases energy efficiency and minimises pressure drops.
- Air compressor rooms must be in a designated location so you can control air quality, central to the application functions and processes.
- The floor needs to be flat and strong enough to cope with the weight of the compressor – particularly important if not on a ground floor!
How Big Should an Air Compressor Room Be?
Squeezing a compressor into a smaller space might seem like the best option but can lead to countless problems.
As a rough guide, you should aim for around three feet or one metre between the equipment – including the compressor, dryer, after-cooler and receiver tanks.
A good-sized room is preferable since if you have multiple compressors and the equipment is too close, hot air from one compressor can be drawn into the next.
Controlling Air Quality Through Air Compressor Room Design
Air-condition is all-important to air compression equipment, so there are two core considerations regarding room design:
- The supply of clean intake air
- Ventilation and heat control
Designated rooms are the best way to ensure your compressor operates correctly, with clean air that isn’t contaminated with other gases or particles.
Even general molecules in the air such as dirt and dust can cause malfunctions, damage air quality, and put additional strain on the filters and separators in your compressor.
The next factor is managing the heat produced by the compression function – without proper ventilation, that can quickly make a compressor room extremely hot.
How Can I Calculate the Right Ventilation for My Air Compressor Room?
Ventilation in air compressor room design should:
- Provide external ventilation with sufficient sized ducting.
- Be dependent on the size of the compressor and whether you use an air or water-cooling system.
- Draw air from the exterior, from the lowest and coldest point on the walls.
- Be enhanced with temperature-controlled ventilation fans located at the highest point of the same wall.
Heat management is essential since a rotary screw compressor, as an example, will produce around 3,000 BTU per hour of heat energy per horsepower.
You can use that heat source to warm water or central heating in the building – but if the heat isn’t being drawn away for other uses, it must be controlled with proper ventilation.
In short, if your air compressor room is too hot for people to work in, it’s also too hot for the compressor.
High temperatures are a primary cause of compressor shutdowns, hence the crucial nature of intake and exhaust ducts on opposing walls.
Health and Safety Regulations in Air Compressor Room Design
Finally, before drawing up plans for ducting, piping, ventilation and air compressor installations, it’s essential to be conscious of the health and safety regulations.
Employee safety and welfare remain the top priority, so it’s also necessary to consider how the air compressor room will slot in with other processes and how the workforce will move between operations.
Many modern compressors produce minimal noise.
Still, it is crucial to think about noise disturbances and create buffers, so this doesn’t generate noise pollution detrimental to the work environment.
We’d also recommend consulting the manufacturer guidelines for information about minimum clearance space required – including room for hinged doors, floor space clearance and height.