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  • Peg Minichiello

Water Cooled Air Compressors: What You Need to Know About Water Costs

Air compressors are a vital part of industrial facilities but creating clean dry air can often cause your equipment to overheat. For this reason, water cooling systems have become popular picks for keeping equipment cool.

But how much does all that water cost? We’ve gathered all the information you need to know.

How Much Water Does an Air Compressor Need?

Air compressors generate a lot of heat because it takes seven to eight input horsepower to create only 1Hp of work in compressed air. This means that a lot more energy is needed than the compressed air that’s actually being produced.

Based on the unequal exchange between energy input and output, air compressors tend to generate a high heat rejection load. In order to calculate how much water is needed to keep equipment cool, you need to consider how many gallons of water are needed per minute to account for this energy exchange.

On top of this, there are several factors that influence gallons per minute (GPM) calculations, such as:

  • Temperature of the intake cooling water in comparison to the compressor or dryer

  • Compressor discharge temperature

  • OEM rated air flow

  • Compressor shaft power

  • Motor input HP/KW

In many cases, manufacturers will provide the GPM, but it’s clear that higher volumes of cooling water are needed for only small amounts of compressed air.

Where Does the Water Come From?

There are three primary sources of cooling water. The type of water you use will influence your overall costs. These types include:

  • Public supply water

  • Self supplied water

  • Lake water

Although the public supply system is more expensive, the water is already treated so it performs better. Self-supplied, or other untreated water will incur additional costs because it’s untreated.

How to Calculate Water Costs

Although calculating water costs depends on a variety of factors, a simple way to calculate it is by dividing your gallons per year by 1000 and then multiplying this number by $3. This number doesn’t account for additional costs such as electrical charges but does give you a yearly estimate.

So, What Now?

It’s clear that water cooled air compressors can pile up water costs. That’s why you should turn to CDA. With CDA, you can find high quality equipment that will work more efficiently and will help you save costs.

We’ll do evaluations of existing plant air systems to assess the need for preventative maintenance, efficiency and energy reduction retrofits. KNW Kobelco Oil-Free compressors is one of our offerings. Call us today for more information: 925.667.3400/

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