Refrigerated compressed air dryers are typically low-maintenance pieces of equipment in most operations, as they generally perform their job with little intervention by users. However, just because they are low-maintenance does not mean they are "no-maintenance"; you will need to perform a few service tasks from time-to-time on your refrigerated dryer. Below are some things you should do to keep your unit operating as designed and to avoid potentially costly repairs or replacement:
What you should understand about refrigerated air dryer operation
While drains and traps can filter out water in its liquid state, they are unable to remove water vapor from the compressed air stream. Ultimately, water vapor will condense at some point during compressed air usage, and it will cause corrosion and other serious problems in tool functioning and end-process applications.
Refrigerated air dryers work on a simple principle: they cool air to lower the dew point, and this "forces" water vapor to condense and be drained under controlled conditions. Therefore, the same process that generates cooling in an air conditioner or food refrigerator is also at work in an air dryer. That means the refrigeration equipment in use is fundamentally the same no matter the application, and it must also be maintained in a similar fashion.
Necessary maintenance tasks that you can and should perform
When working with refrigeration equipment, it is vital to keep in mind that the exchange of heat from one location to another is the key working principle. Therefore, your goal should be to maximize the heat exchange that takes place between compressed air and your air dryer's refrigerant. The good news is that you can keep this process operating at maximum levels by observing a couple of basic procedures.
Clean the condenser and evaporator coils
The coils on a refrigerated air dryer are where the heat from the air is removed, and the compressed air cools to a temperature in the mid to upper 30s Fahrenheit. The coils are also where the refrigerant exchanges heat with the ambient atmosphere and is recycled continuously in the cooling process.
Should these coils be obstructed by an obstacle, the heat exchange process will fail to operate as designed. That is why you should regularly clean your condenser and evaporator coils to remove any such obstacles. Cleaning is an easy process:
Lightly brush the coils to remove loose dirt and other materials. Be sure to use a soft-bristled brush that will not damage the delicate fins that facilitate heat exchange.
Spray the coils with a dedicated coil cleaner. Do not use harsh chemicals that are not approved for use with refrigeration applications, as they can damage the coils and may even create pinhole leaks. Many coil cleaners are self acting and require no intervention other than rinsing; be sure to wash away the residue thoroughly after use.
Straighten bent fins with a comb. If you bend any fins or locate bent fins during the cleaning process, you can use a fin comb to restore their proper orientation. Simply insert the prongs of the comb into the fin gaps and pull it downward to straighten the fins.
Ensure the air dryer is adequately ventilated
Since heat is being exchanged within the condenser and evaporator of your refrigerated air dryer, you must dissipate this heat quickly to prevent it from interfering with the unit's functioning. In fact, too much heat can cause the air dryer to shut down altogether. Here are hints that can help you prevent or handle ventilation problems:
Remove outside obstructions that prevent the unit from shedding heat into the atmosphere. That means you should not store objects in close proximity to the dryer, nor should there be overhead obstructions that trap the rising heat and create a heat "bubble" around the unit.
Use appropriate mechanical ventilation if needed. Most refrigerated dryers have a fan or blower that will move air around the condenser, but you may need to consider additional fans or ventilation if the unit fan is inadequate in a given environment. For example, abnormally hot or humid environments may require the use of supplemental fans, so be sure sure to monitor the performance of the air dryer to note and correct any problems that may arise.
If you need more information on your compressor dryer, contact a company that works with compressors by visiting sites like http://www.compressor-pump.com.