Compressor Feel Weak? Check the Ambient Pressure

It’s important to keep up with the maintenance of your compressors. But if you ever find it not working properly, you might want to check the ambient pressure first. Read further on how to accurately monitor this.

Compressor Feel Weak Check the Ambient Pressure - KB Delta

A powerful compressor is a machine that produces quality air, and its operation stands the test of time.

However, if your compressor feels weak, you may have to check the ambient air pressure and temperature (inlet pressure and temperature) around it. The reason can be tied to the fact this inlet pressure/ambient air temperature is a major determinant of your compressor’s performance and functionality.

Consideration has to be given to these factors even before buying a compressor. It will ensure that the quality compressor you’ve set up can perform well for a long time.

But if yours is not providing the level of performance you’re expecting, the ambient pressure may just be the culprit.

What is Ambient Pressure?

Ambient pressure and temperature, also called inlet pressure and temperature, is the real pressure/temperature of the air surrounding your compressor at a given moment.

For instance, if the compressor is kept indoors or outdoors, the ambient temperature is the temperature at the time of measurement.

On the other hand, the ambient temperature does not consider wind speed or humidity. Hence, it becomes difficult to ascertain a location’s real feel temperature.

Despite this limitation, it’s still useful in determining a space’s climate.

Why Determining Ambient Temperature is Important

Here are some reasons why determining ambient temperature is important:

1. Affects a Compressor’s Performance

An increase in inlet pressure/ambient air temperature can negatively impact your compressor’s ability to perform efficiently.

Similarly, a decrease in inlet pressure/ambient air temperature will make it difficult for the compressor to produce enough air.

That being the case, it makes it important to calculate the ambient pressure and temperature around your compressors. Once that is in place, you can proceed to strategize on how to maintain the compressor to achieve maximum efficiency.

2. Saves You From Unnecessary Expenses

Imagine spending some money on changing certain parts of a compressor, which you think could be the reason behind its weak operation. At the end of the day, the machine still performs poorly.

How about buying a new compressor to replace the weak one with the belief that the latter has become faulty over time.

In each scenario, your compressor will be maintaining the same environment it once was, hence, there may be little or no change in performance.

Accordingly, a suitable ambient temperature would’ve easily improved the machine’s operation.

3. Helps in Delivering Quality Compressed Air

A facility that wishes their compressor to efficiently generate the expected volumes and purity of compressed air must manage its ambient pressure and temperature. The reason can be tied to the fact that a reduction in inlet pressure reduces the ability of a compressor to generate compressed air.

On the other hand, this reduction in inlet pressure can be associated with higher elevation and restrictive inlet piping or filtration. Like the pressure, an increase in ambient temperature reduces the compressor’s efficiency.

Compressor Feel Weak Check the Ambient Pressure - KB Delta

Effect of Inlet Air Temperature

The effect of inlet temperature on a reciprocating compressor’s performance cannot be overemphasized.

A notable effect is:

Overheating of Compressors

Compressors sometimes operate in extreme temperatures especially if they are located in facilities without temperature controls or outdoors.

Also, the temperature tends to fluctuate significantly, which could cause the compressor to overheat in the winter or summer.

Accordingly, it makes it important to determine the optimal operating pressure for your compressor since it could help to extend its life.

How to Maximize Ambient Pressure

Here are some ways to maximize ambient pressure and get your weak compressor functioning well again:

1. Determine the Area’s Height for Compressor Installation

The height of the area your compressor will be placed can affect its ambient temperature. In this case, the compressor will need more air at the inlet at increased altitudes than at lower altitudes.

As such, you need to know the height of the space first even before you purchase a compressor. A unit with a higher rating at the inlet can be placed in a facility that is located near hills or mountains.

2. Ventilation of the Installation Area

Ambient temperature is reduced in well-ventilated areas. Such areas can also impact on how much strain the compressor is susceptible to.

Proper ventilation is needed to maintain ambient temperatures within design specifications. To that effect, access how ventilated your facility is or evaluate it if it’s been awhile.

Compressor room ventilation can also bring about significant heat recovery opportunities when it is properly managed.

3. Determine the Ideal Temperature

It’s worth noting that you can easily tell the optimal temperature range which is suitable for your compressor. This is because the optimal temperature range for the machine is almost the same as the temperature range ideal for humans.

Therefore, if you feel sweaty in the environment the compressor is operating, it could possibly lead to overheating of your compressor.

Also, if you feel cold and can see your breath, it is possible for condensed air to build inside your compressor. The latter may cause the unit to freeze and even get damaged.

What is the Optimal Temperature for Compressors

At this point, you may be wondering what’s the ideal temperature for your compressor to operate in, here’s how to find out.

Usually, 50 and 85-degrees Fahrenheit is the ideal operating temperature for a compressor. If the machine operates within this temperature range, its mechanical components are less likely to freeze or overheat as a result of ambient temperatures.

Some compressors can range up to 105°F, but maintaining ambient temperatures not over 85°F will also ensure that the temperature within the machine does exceed its 105°F maximum.

Once that’s in place, the compressor will attain its maximum efficiency.

Compressor Feel Weak Check the Ambient Pressure - KB Delta


If your compressor feels weak, check its ambient pressure and temperature to get things working again. It’s quite easy to do so since it entails determining the height of the area the machine will be placed.

In line with that, you need to ensure proper compressor room ventilation while also managing airborne particles.

Once your compressor operates in an environment with the right ambient pressure, it can help to enhance reliability and quality.

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