What’s the cost of an air leak?

What’s the cost of an air leak for your business? Thousands of dollars? If your operations are large enough, could it be in the hundreds of thousands?

Leaks in a compressed air system waste a staggering amount of energy, energy that drives up your already-expensive utility bill. Whether you are the owner or plant/facility manager, leak audits can identify problem areas and, with appropriate changes, significantly reduce your overall energy bill.

But first, you need to understand the true cost of leaks in your air system.

Calculating the cost

Calculating the exact cost of a compressed-air leak can be difficult, as numerous factors are involved. The size of the leak is just one factor. Other factors include the running PSI of your system, the number of tubes, hoses, and pipes, the diameter of pipes, and the number of tools being used. The cost of energy in your area is also an essential factor for calculating the costs of a leak.

While we can’t tell you, at least through this article, how much leaks are costing your business, we can describe the potential for huge losses that come from leaks in your air system so you can help calculate it. The formula, according to Cincinnati Test Systems is:

Number of leaks * leakage rate (CFM) * (kW/CFM) * operating hours per year * ($/kWh)

As an example, Fluid Power Journal, an industry publication that provides a spreadsheet of leak-cost data, provides some key items and costs associated. Depending on the desired PSI, the cost for a half-inch leak can, according to their data, range between $60,005 and $98,970. A one-inch hole can cost as much as $395,879 if maximum pressure is required by the system. And, we should note, this information was published in 2015. As of February 2023, that one-inch hole using an inflation calculator would be more than $475,842.91. Oof!

But, fortunately, there are ways to reduce these costs.

Reduce air leak costs

In 2014, the United States Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy conducted a study at a chemical plant, working with plant leadership to conduct a compressed-air audit, then following through with a leak-prevention program. The program involves multiple phases, including the establishment of a “Leak Detection and Repair” segment. This phase, which cost $2,500, conserved over 120,000 kilowatt-hours in a single year and saved $9,100. By their estimates, the program paid for itself in three months. This was back in 2014, so it’s dated, but it highlights the potential savings, which are still possible, that come when a plant finds and stops air leaks.

Air or leak assessments are relatively quick and painless. Someone comes to your facility, discusses company goals and concerns, and then begins running some tests to collect metrics. In less than a week, that data is collected and is ready to be discussed.

Air leak audits to maintain an efficient system

A leak audit from the experts at Elevated Industrial Solutions is the first step toward eliminating costly wasted energy. Contact our team today and let’s schedule your leak audit as soon as possible. We proudly serve South Carolina, southern and northern Ohio, and southeastern Michigan.

Meet service technician Eric Pressley

Eric Pressley is one of the many distinguished service technicians working for Elevated Industrial Solutions, formerly Palmetto Compressors. He’s an important member of the team with profound technical knowledge, outstanding experience, and a passion for service. It’s why Jason Acker (Elevated’s general manager in South Carolina) was thrilled to hire him in June of 2022. Bringing nearly a decade of experience and a lifetime of service, Eric helps our customers maintain effective compressed air systems. 

Expertise in compressed air

Eric works with the entire compressed air system, including low-pressure and high-pressure blowers. He can examine a plant’s current system and find ways to improve efficiencies, save money, or make the compression system more effective. One of his favorite activities is helping to save companies’ energy. It’s why Eric is often the frontman for plant managers and owners, whether facilities need subtle changes or a complete overhaul.

He holds certifications and training in Garden Denver oil-free systems, refrigerated air systems, and Sullair air compressors, to name a few. And of course, he’s also knowledgeable about Kaeser Compressors, one of Elevated’s premier vendors. His background is so thorough, Eric was featured in Compressed Air Best Practices, highlighting his work refitting a racing shop with modern, high-efficiency, consistent air compression. 

Air compressors aren’t new to Eric. Both his mother and father worked in the compressed air industry, so Eric has an understanding that goes beyond his nine years of on-the-job experience. With a family legacy in the industry, years of helping companies with their compressed air systems, and training in all aspects of air compression, Eric knows a thing or two about air compressors. 

Commitment to our nation

His passion for compressed air isn’t the only reason Elevated employees are so proud to have Eric on the team. He’s been a member of the United States Air Force since 2012 and remains a member of the Air National Guard, currently holding the rank of Technical Sergeant. He specializes in preventative maintenance and repairs, as well as logistics and leadership in the military. So, his mechanical know-how doesn’t just help our customers; his skills help the U.S. government! 

As a member of the Air Force, Technical Sergeant Pressley has been deployed to Qatar and Kuwait. He’s also provided hurricane relief in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. 

Dedication to our veterans

Even outside of the military, Eric continues to help his community. It’s a passion of his and yet another reason the Elevated team is proud to work with him. 

Eric acts as the state lead for the South Carolina chapter of The Fallen Outdoors, an organization with the mission of connecting Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, and Marines with like-minded individuals along with teaching them a skill and passion they can continue for a lifetime. The group helps wounded or disabled military personnel regain their life and purpose as well as assisting those with mental illnesses to refocus and regain balance.

It’s a mission near and dear to his heart. If you follow him on LinkedIn, you’ll no doubt see him participating in activities regularly.  

South Carolina air compressor service

If you’re in South Carolina or the Dayton-Cincinnati area and you want to work with dedicated, service-oriented professionals like Eric, contact Elevated today. We take pride in hiring quality service technicians and other people who fully understand air compression systems for large- and small-scale operations. Expertise is important, but we also hire fantastic individuals that have a passion for helping others. 

Let us partner with you to find the right solutions for your business. We’d be happy to conduct a walk-through to understand what your facility needs as well as make recommendations to save you time and energy, reduce costs, and get your compressed air systems running at peak efficiency. 

The importance of air compressor preventive maintenance

To preserve the condition of your air compressor, preventive maintenance is crucial. A consistent maintenance program can spare you from the expense, inconvenience, and downtime that can come along with air compression damage or failure.

The right vendor should make it easy to get maintenance, with a schedule ready for your facility based on its environment, run time, and more. 

What is preventative air compressor maintenance?

south carolina team

Standard air compressor maintenance involves updating the hardware, changing out the lubricant, and other related tasks. Although standard maintenance is essential to your air compressor’s function, it doesn’t necessarily prevent future damage. 

Preventive maintenance, on the other hand, focuses on identifying problems before they start to impact the entire system. During a preventive maintenance appointment, your technician will inspect all of the main system components to pinpoint any concerns. See what’s included in preventive maintenance.

What are the benefits of preventive air compressor maintenance


Emergency repairs are generally more expensive than preventive maintenance. By the time emergency repairs are needed, you may need to shut down your facility (meaning costly downtime) as well as hire an experienced technician. The repairs themselves may be more costly, too, such as parts that may be difficult to acquire.

By identifying potential problems before they require an emergency repair appointment, you can avoid a major, unexpected expense. 


Preventive air compressor maintenance can help extend the life expectancy of your air compressor. Given that replacing an entire air compressor system is often expensive and disruptive to daily operations, a longer lifespan translates to long-term savings. 

Avoid downtime

Preventive maintenance can help you avoid production coming to an abrupt halt and workers who are unproductive. Although a maintenance appointment may seem like downtime, unforeseen downtime is far more costly.

A sudden failure of your air compressor system could completely halt your day-to-day operations. Unlike a preventative maintenance appointment, which you can schedule at your convenience, you won’t have time to prepare for this downtime. For many businesses, the cost of a complete air compressor breakdown is unmanageable. 

Energy efficiency

Over time, air compressors may start to run at a lower capacity than usual or require more energy to reach the required output. Preventive air compressor maintenance will help keep you aware of any issues that are compromising the system’s energy efficiency. You can then amend these issues to improve the system’s efficiency (and save on energy bills). 

Schedule your maintenance today!

All of the above may seem far-fetched, but the Elevated Industrial Solutions team has seen this happen. One customer didn’t keep up with their maintenance plan and called us when it was an emergency. (Read the case study.)

Elevated Industrial Solutions has preventive maintenance plans for your business in Northern Kentucky, Southern Ohio, Northern Ohio, Eastern Indiana, Michigan, and South Carolina. Let us help you find the plan that works for your facility and team.

Signs your air compressor may need emergency service

Your air compressor needs to be working properly for efficient, productive operations. However, routine, professional maintenance is essential to keeping your compressor in excellent condition. 

Of course, there are signs your compressor needs preventive maintenance. The following air compressor signs are dire and may indicate you need more extensive service or even emergency service.

Declining or abnormal air pressure

If you notice that your compressor is frequently providing inconsistent air pressure, or if the air pressure has sharply declined, you need to call a technician. Inconsistent air pressure indicates that your compressor’s parts may be succumbing to wear and tear.

Decreasing air pressure, on the other hand, is a sign that you may have an air leak. An air leak will force your machine to use more energy to run, leading to higher energy bills. A skilled technician can locate and fix the leak to restore your machine’s energy efficiency. 


Although air compressors tend to be loud while running, if your compressor is making more noise than usual, it probably needs to be serviced. A loud air compressor may have loose parts, be poorly mounted, or have crankcase issues.   

Moving more

Air compressors vibrate. But some compressors can vibrate so much that they’re nosier and shake. A vibration analysis can help determine what’s going on and why. If your compressor is moving more than usual, it’s a good time to call for service.


The average air compressor’s optimal operating temperature range is 50℉ to 85℉. If your air compressor becomes very hot while operating or even shuts down from overheating, you should schedule a maintenance visit ASAP. Overheating can significantly damage your air compressor. 

Hard to start

A brand-new air compressor should power up immediately or almost immediately. If your compressor now takes a long time to power up, you should have it looked at by a professional. Taking a long time to turn on can indicate that the air compressor is starting to break down. 

Elevated can service your compressor

Don’t panic. Our trained expert team can help with any compressed air issue you have. For those emergencies, we’re available 24 X 7 in Ohio, South Carolina, and Michigan.

Signs your air compressor needs service

There are lots of signs your air compressor needs service — it’s dripping oil, it’s smoking, it’s noisier than usual, etc. Those are obvious. But there are times when your compressor needs service and it’s not as obvious. Here are a few:

Run-time or calendar

signs your air compressor needs service infographic

Consider run-time as part of your preventive maintenance. We recommend annually or every 2,000 hours, whichever comes first.


Extreme weather can cause big problems to your air compressor, either when it’s too hot or too cold. One tip for hot weather: try power washing your air compressor.

Plant conditions

Dirty, dusty, and other poor environmental conditions can cause issues with your air compressor. For these environments, we recommend more frequent service.

Higher costs and energy

Another good time to get service or an audit is when you notice higher-than-expected energy bills. You may even think you need a new compressor when you need to determine what’s wrong with your current setup. Easy ways to determine include an air demand analysis, leak audit, or other analysis to investigate the culprit.

Contact us for service

At Elevated Industrial Solutions, we provide maintenance and audits before your air compressor becomes an emergency. Our technicians have experience taking care of every major brand of compressor. And we service locations across the tri-state area – Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana – as well as South Carolina.

We even have 24/7 service for emergencies. (We just hope it doesn’t come to that!)