Could Using an Air Compressor Reduce Your Carbon Footprint?

Reader Contribution by James White
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From homeowners to factory-owning industrialists, everyone is thinking about going green. Even climate change deniers may have to change their thinking to keep up with public opinion. Much has been written about changing to low-wattage lightbulbs and reducing carbon emissions during shipping and commuting, and it may seem at times that you’ve done all you can possibly do to reduce your carbon footprint. What’s left?

Air compressors. These valuable machines are used in many factories, small businesses and even in homes, and making sure yours is efficient can cut down on emissions and your energy bills at the same time.

Do I Need an Air Compressor?

Maybe, if you’re handy with tools. While the average homeowner probably doesn’t have one, carpenters and people who use nail guns around the house do need them. Air compressors are also useful for pumping tires, using a blast of air to clean dust from crevices and powering paint sprayers.

Small-business owners may invest in larger air compressors to power pneumatic tools, paint sprayers and lifts. Factories can apply air compressors to these uses on a larger scale, and may also use them for cross-building transportation and braking systems.

How Does an Air Compressor Work?

Using air pressure to power tools may sound like it’s already a pretty green solution. After all, the free air around us must be pretty clean already, right?

This is true, but producing that powerful puff requires energy. Air compressors are basically small engines that use pistons to create the air pressure that is released at the business end of a tool like a nail gun or spray nozzle. Running the engine in the compressor requires electricity or gas, both of which increase your overall carbon footprint.

3 Ways Air Compressors Can be More Environmentally Friendly

Reducing the amount of electricity or fossil fuels required to run the compressor is key to making your air compressor a greener solution in your home or business. Here are the most important considerations:

1. Check machinery and hoses for leaks. As equipment ages, movable parts are often the first to break down. Any cracks or leaks in the air compressor will cause the engine to cycle on more frequently to maintain the air pressure. The longer the engine runs, the more fuel you burn, so replacing worn hoses can result in big savings.

2. Use a properly sized air compressor. Homeowners need only the smallest machine for the job. Business owners should carefully study the spec sheets before purchasing a compressor to make sure it’s capable of doing the work it’s assigned.

3. Upgrade to more efficient equipment. Homesteaders and businesses can realize significant energy savings – as much as 35 percent – by replacing outdated equipment with variable speed compressors. These smart machines can match output with the demands made on it, so they are never wasting energy by cycling on when the output isn’t required.

By keeping air compressors in good working order and upgrading to newer, more efficient models, users from modest handymen to large corporations can take advantage of this hidden green solution to lower their carbon footprints.

James White is an experienced home improvement blogger and construction worker. His writing has appeared in many publications, including First Home News, Building Blok, and AmeriFirst. He is involved in promoting the ideas of sustainable building and living.

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