Short #55 – Vacuum Pump Maintenance
In this short podcast episode, Bryan explains the ins and outs of vacuum pump maintenance, a critical component of evacuation.
The most basic part of vacuum pump maintenance is changing out your vacuum pump oil. This practice should happen very often. At a minimum, you should replace your vacuum pump oil weekly; in very wet or contaminated systems, you may need to replace it multiple times during the same job! When moisture gets into the vacuum pump oil, it can wear out your vacuum pump well before its time should be up. So, most of the maintenance practices exist to reduce the risk of moisture damage.
Good-quality pumps can last for several years with the proper attention to oil management. If you can cap the outlet of the pump, then that's a good idea to prevent moisture from getting to the oil. You'll also benefit from leaving your gas ballast open until you get down to the 500-micron range.
You'll want to keep your vacuum pump in a place where it won't be jostled or thrown around. It's an expensive piece of machinery that shouldn't take too much abuse. Store your pump in an accessible but secure location.
When it comes to evacuation, be sure to use dedicated hoses. Dedicated hoses don't hold moisture because they are vinyl; you can make them even safer by keeping your hoses capped off. All pump ports should also be capped when they are not directly in use.
Test the pump periodically; it should pull down to under 50 microns. If not, the pump will have a hard time evacuating adequately. If you want to test your micron gauge on the pump, keep in mind that the micron gauge will leak.
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