Pressure loss: 6 elements that increase energy costs

Compressed air system and excessive pressure loss

A regular maintenance program increases the air system efficiency.

Compressed air represents about 10% of the total electricity consumption in the industry. An excessive pressure loss has a significant impact on a company’s compressed air budget. There are high returns for companies that invest in a system maintenance program. This type of investment allows for significant savings. 

What causes cost increase:

1) Overuse of the Compressor

When there is excessive pressure loss in the system, the compressor runs for a longer time to maintain enough operating air pressure. The compressor is overused. Electricity costs generally increase by 1% for every 2 additional PSI maintained in the system. This greatly increases energy costs.

2) Compressor Maintenance

The compressor is subjected to premature wear as it works harder, over a longer period, to maintain the operating pressure required by the system. It wears out far more quickly than it should, requiring extra maintenance.

3) The Replacement of Tools and Pneumatic Equipment

Air tools and pneumatic equipment are subject to an initial pressure that is higher than the one recommended by the manufacturer. This causes them to wear out sooner and break faster, than replacement is required on a regular basis.

4) Air Leaks

Increasing pressure to compensate for pressure loss allows more air to leak from the same leak points. The additional air produced is lost before it’s even used. Leaks usually appear as a multitude of small holes, and unfortunately none of them are noticeable enough to attract attention. Although each leak is minor, the accumulation may be seriously critical. Leaks contribute directly to higher operating costs. It is like throwing money right out the window.

5) Production and Quality of Finished Products Problems

Due to the lack of air pressure generated by leaks, air tools and equipment cannot function properly, and this creates production problems or issues regarding the quality of finished products. The rejection rate is higher; the work must start over again.

6) Decrease in the Productivity of the Workforce

Users waste time mitigating the shortcomings of tools that have become inefficient due to pressure loss. This slows down their own productivity and increases labor costs.

Useful tips - When should you worry?

Pressure loss

Pressure loss occurs in the system when the compressor air pressure is different from the system pressure at different points of use. This is the difference in air pressure between what is present in the air tank and what is available at the various system points of use.


Excessive pressure loss

A 10% air loss between the air tank and tool inlet is considered acceptable. A 3% loss between air tank and point of use is also acceptable. A loss is considered “excessive” when it exceeds either of these values. This can happen when the components of a compressed air system overly restrict air circulation or when there is air leakage. As a result, the pressure drops below the suggested operating air pressure for the tool or equipment.

For more information on a system optimization program, you can contact a technical advisor by calling 1-800-263-8677 or sending an email to


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  • pressure loss
  • compressed air
  • pressure
  • air tools
  • air pressure
  • compressor

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