Quality testing for your breathing air systems


Sometimes all you need is the air that you breathe...

Breathe easy with EDC Air compressors (and get the sweet smell of success).

EDC Air Compressors is now undertaking on-site quality testing on your breathing air systems. Get fast, efficient, documented results that keep your employees safe and your business running.

How's your breathing? If your operation makes use of air-fed masks for your employees they could be breathing a compressor air feed for up to eight hours a day. This is common in industries such as shot-blasting, welding and spray painting. Here, due to particles caused in the production process - dust, spray or other airborne particles (which can't ever be fully removed from the atmosphere) - it isn't safe for staff to breath the ambient air.

Do I need to test the quality of my breathing air? Yes, if your employees rely on an air mask to perform their job. You will be required by law to check for contaminant gases in their breathing air and check that oxygen is at an adequate level. Testing the air also monitors other gases such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, water vapour, and oil (as well as the pressure, temperature and flow of the compressed air itself).

You might think you would be able to smell 'bad air', but odour, whilst it can be present when the air is of poor quality, is almost always undetectable to humans - and unfortunately, asphixiant gasses, unless they have smell added, are generally odourless... and so also undetectable. The only way to find out they're in your supply is to test for them.

So what could go wrong with your breathable air supply? Just some (but not all) of the most common problems are listed below:

  • Pollution from an external source (such as exhaust fumes) can be contaminating breathable air
  • Compressors in need of repair may be producing unsafe levels of carbon monoxide /carbon dioxide
  • Changes in operating temperature can impact the performance of desiccant filters which will again impact on air quality
  • Dryers can malfunction, disturbing oxygen concentration
  • The air supply can cease due to water freezing in the RPD demand valves
air quality testing for your breathable air supply
Where is the most likely place for contaminants in the compressed air to come from? Contaminants can be both internal and external. Physical ones, such as oil, are most likely to come from the air intake on the air compressor. Noxious gases, eg carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide tend to be from another external source (although malfunctioning reciprocating compressors can also produce unsafe levels of these gases), and these, in particular, can be injurious to health. Exposure to these toxic gases results in a variety of physical symptoms including: headaches, chest pain, nausea, concussion, dizziness, blurry vision and possibly, vomiting.

As such, breathing air quality tests do not only ensure that systems are functioning properly and employees are safe, they also guarantee compliance with laws and regulations which govern breathing air standards.

How often should I have my breathable air tested? Normally, every 3 months. This interval is suitable for most (or almost all) low pressure breathing systems, but this can vary hugely depending on circumstances and the operating environment.

What if I'm operating a high pressure air system? How often does my breathable air need tested then? The requirements for this are slightly different and the testing interval then depends upon the filter elements and the manufacturer's guidelines...as well as the environmental factors mentioned above. If your plant runs hot, the intervals need to be more frequent.

So, if you can feel something is in the air today / tonight, call us. We can help identify (and fix it) with a breathing air quality test.

See our blog for more info about breathing air quality testing.

Or view our recent Linkedin post about the new breathing testing - a service which we can offer at a reduced cost whilst carrying our your normal, scheduled air compressor service.

safe air tester during a breathing air systems quality test