Leak tag kits help industrial companies crack down on waste – and costs


Engaging employees to fix air, oil and steam leaks can save thousands of dollars per year

Given the scale of production, a leak here and there can seem like a minor thing. But add up a single 3/8-inch steam leak and a single 3/8-inch compressed air leak, and you could be paying $33,000 a year for resources that are wasted.

And that's if your system has only two leaks. An oil leak dripping at one drop per second adds another $4,000 to your losses.

That's why BC Hydro has developed a simple, clear system for identifying and fixing leaks with the help from the people who know your operations best: your employees.


The leak tag kit: spot it, tag it, fix it

The leak tag kit is available for free from BC Hydro through your Key Account Manager or Regional Energy Manager.

The concept is simple: using a centralized leak tag board and a set of uniquely-numbered leak tags, any employee can identify, mark and report leaks when they notice them. The leak tags are attached near the leak with a zip tie, and a tear-off portion of the tag is returned back to the board to be picked up by the individual (or team) that is responsible for repairs.

A simple spreadsheet can be created to track leaks reported, prioritize repairs, and estimate energy savings. Each leak tag kit will include full instructions to get you started and will contain the following:

  • Leak tag board
  • Leak tags
  • Zip ties
  • A user manual with instructions on assembly and use
  • Educational posters and stickers

Key to the program's success is establishing responsibility for managing the leak tag board and fixing leaks, and engaging employees in identifying leaks. It's a good idea to hold a brief training session. A monthly prize draw is recommended to reward those who have reported leaks, maintain interest in the program and remind employees to keep watching for other leaks.


Cost of compressed air leaks

Based on 100 psig, 6000 annual operating hours, aggregate electricity rate of $0.06/kWh and compressed air generation requirement of approx. 33 kW/100 cfm.

Orifice diameter (inches) Total cost per month Total cost per year
1/32 $9.66 $115.95
1/16 $39.25 $471.04
1/8 $157.01 $1,884.17
1/4 $628.06 $7,536.67
3/8 $1,413.13 $16,957.51

Cost of steam leaks

Based on 70 psig, 6000 annual operating hours, steam cost of $10.00/1000 lbs.

Leak size (inches) Total cost per month Total cost per year
1/32 $10.03 $120.30
1/16 $40.10 $481.20
1/8 $160.40 $1,924.81
1/4 $641.60 $7,699.23
3/8 $1,443.61 $17,323.27

Cost of oil leaks

Cost per litre estimated at $4.42 CAD. Cost of environmental damage is not included.

Drops per second Daily loss Monthly loss Yearly loss
Litres Dollars Litres Dollars Litres Dollars
1 2.6 $11.49 78.0 $344.76 949.0
2 5.2 $22.98 156.0 $689.52 1,898.0 $8,389.16
7.8 $34.48 234.0 $1,034.28
2,847.0 $12,583.74
4 10.4 $45.97 312.0 $1,379.04 3,796.0 $16,778.32
5 13.0 $57.46 390.0 $1,723.80 4,745.0 $20,972.90
Each kit includes a leak tag board, leak tags, zip ties, a user manual with instructions on assembly and use, plus educational posters and stickers.