Compresstech Resources, Inc.

A Comprehensive Look at Leak Detectors for Compressed Air Systems

A Comprehensive Look at Leak Detectors for Compressed Air Systems


Air compressor systems are essential to the operations of many manufacturing and industrial companies. Even a minor performance issue from the pipes and compressors can lead to significant downtime and increased operational costs, which is why regular maintenance should be a priority.

Systems that are not regularly maintained could lose 20% to 30% of their energy output to leaks. However, these leaks can be challenging to detect without the right tools, often resulting in misdiagnosis and unnecessary capital investment in new equipment. This is where leak detectors become invaluable, as they help identify and locate leaks efficiently, ensuring optimal performance and energy efficiency for the compressor system.

In this article, Compresstech Resources, Inc. will guide you in understanding the importance of maintenance, the common causes of air leaks, and the effective methods of detecting leaks using leak detectors for compressed air systems in the Philippines.


Why Air Compressor Maintenance Is Important

Maintenance is necessary for heavy-duty equipment like air compressors. Here are some advantages of regular maintenance for your air compressor system:

Increase Efficiency

Regular maintenance helps in the early detection and repair of leaks, which is the primary source of inefficiency. By enabling prompt repairs and replacement of faulty components, you minimize energy losses and optimize the performance of your air compressor system.

Additionally, preventive maintenance measures such as lubrication and proper adjustments help prolong the life span of the system’s parts and reduce the likelihood of leaks.

Ensure Safety

Maintenance of compressed air systems is crucial for ensuring safety. These systems operate under intense air pressure, and any leaks in the hoses or pipes could lead to the sudden release of extreme pressure. Such releases have the potential to dislodge small particles or chips from the pipes, turning them into dangerous shrapnel.

Additionally, air leaks can be noisy, often reaching 120dB to 130dB, which is enough to cause hearing damage, especially with prolonged exposure. Regular maintenance can help mitigate the risk of hazardous situations and promote a safer work environment for operators.

Decrease Unexpected Costs

Unexpected downtime and repair costs can be detrimental to any operation, regardless of the industry. A common culprit behind these disruptions is air compressor leaks, which severely degrade system performance, especially if left unresolved.

When air escapes through pipes or hoses, the compressor must operate more frequently and for longer durations to maintain the desired pressure levels in the tanks. This leads to increased energy consumption, driving up operational costs. Additionally, the strain on the compressor components accelerates wear and tear, potentially resulting in frequent breakdowns and costly repairs.

Regular maintenance incorporating compressed air leak detection methods can help identify and fix leaks quickly, preventing minor issues from escalating into larger and costlier problems.


Causes of Compressed Air Leakages

Air leakage can be a consequence of various factors, such as:

Loose Fittings or Connections

Air compressor systems generally produce small vibrations during operation. Over time, these vibrations and continuous operation can gradually loosen the nuts, bolts, and other fittings of the compressor.

These issues are inevitable in most cases, which is why it is recommended to have compressed air leak detection equipment to spot the leaks and readjust the components before they get worse.

Damaged or Worn Components

Regular maintenance and lubrication are crucial for preventing damage and wear to vital components such as pipe joints, hoses, flanges, and filter regulator lubricators (FRLs). Neglecting these tasks can lead to deterioration over time that often goes unnoticed until the problem escalates.

Leak detectors for compressed air systems in the Philippines can help effectively identify even the smallest leaks. Promptly detecting issues helps facilitate timely replacements of worn parts, safeguarding the optimal functionality of air compressor systems.

Improper Installation

Poor installation practices, such as improperly tightened fasteners, flawed connections, compromised seals, misaligned pipes and hoses, and insufficient sealing, frequently lead to leaks at crucial junctions. Hence, it’s imperative to enlist the expertise of qualified personnel to install your air compressor system. Doing so significantly diminishes the risk of leaks and associated damages.


How Do You Find a Leak in an Air Compressor System?

Air leaks are generally challenging to detect, especially since they occur through small gaps, cracks, or holes that are not easily visible to the naked eye. If you are worried about leaks in your system, here are some methods that you can use:

Take Note of Unusual Sounds

A straightforward method for identifying air leakage involves listening for unusual sounds within the system, such as hissing or whistling noises indicating air escaping through small gaps. This compressed air leak detection method does not cost anything. However, it is far from comprehensive.

The effectiveness of this approach is hindered by the difficulty of discerning these sounds amidst the ambient noise generated by plant equipment. Consequently, this method may only be reliable in detecting larger leaks, thereby limiting its utility. We only recommend this method during initial diagnosis and routine inspection of equipment.

Pay Attention to Your Operating Pressure

Typically, when a leak occurs, the compressor must exert greater effort to uphold the desired pressure within the tanks. Consequently, you might observe pressure fluctuations as the machine attempts to offset the air loss. In worst cases where the leak is severe, the pressure might remain low even as the machine continuously runs.

While this method is effective in indicating an air leakage, it does little to help point out where the leak is occurring.

Use Soapy Water

Using soapy water to detect air leaks is a time-tested and reliable method. Simply apply a solution of soapy water to the suspected areas, such as pipes or connectors, and the escaping air will cause bubbles to form, pinpointing the leak. However, this approach can be labor-intensive as it requires thorough coverage of all suspected areas. Additionally, it cannot quantify the size of the leak.

Utilize Ultrasonic Devices

Ultrasonic devices stand out as the most precise and efficient means of leak detection. These tools capture the high-frequency sound waves emitted by escaping air, employing equipment like amplifiers, directional microphones, and audio filters. Certain models even incorporate visual indicators and headphones, facilitating both auditory and visual pinpointing of the leak source.

This method excels in its speed and precision and can detect even the most minute leaks. Moreover, it estimates the volume of air lost due to the leaks, providing insights into the extent of the damage.


How Ultrasonic Devices Work

Ultrasonic leak detectors operate by transforming the high-frequency sound waves generated by the release of pressurized gas into an audible range perceivable by the human ear through a process called heterodyning. This allows the device to isolate the distinct frequency band of the escaping gas and separate it from the ambient noise caused by the surrounding plant equipment.

By filtering out operational sounds, they precisely pinpoint the location of the leak with remarkable accuracy, which is beneficial for maintenance work.


FAQs About Leak Detectors for Compressed Air Systems in the Philippines

What Is the Correct Leak Detection Method for Compressed Gases?

There is no one correct method of detecting leaks in your system. However, utilizing ultrasonic leak detectors is the most widely used solution, as the device can identify the distinct sound signatures of leaks and precisely locate their source. A combination of various methods could also be helpful to ensure no leak is missed.

How Does Air Leakage Occur in a Pneumatic System?

Air leakage in pneumatic systems can be caused by various factors, primarily stemming from the inherent vulnerabilities of the system’s components. One common cause is the faulty seals and gaskets within the valves and the cylinders. These issues can develop over time when the seals are exposed to harsh operating conditions, lack of maintenance, and wear and tear.

Other possible causes of leaks include vibrations, thermal expansion and contraction, and accidental impacts on the machine.

What Is an Acceptable Leakage Rate for a Compressed Air System?

The acceptable leakage rate for compressed air systems should be below 10%. However, this can change depending on the industry and the specific system requirements. It is important to strive for a lower leakage rate since it can directly impact your energy efficiency and operational costs.



Maintaining the performance and integrity of your compressed air system promotes efficiency, safety, and cost-effectiveness. Through vigilant monitoring and using quality leak detectors for compressed air systems in the Philippines, you can mitigate the issues that could compromise your operations.

For reliable and accurate leak detection equipment, turn to Compresstech Resources, Inc., a top supplier of compressed air leak detectors in the country. We offer products from globally renowned brands in the air compressor industry, ensuring high-quality solutions tailored to your needs.

Prioritize accuracy and effectiveness in your leak detection method. Contact us today for inquiries about our products and services.