Vacuum Pump Oil Change 101
When should you change your oil?
It is recommended that you change your hydrocarbon pump oil after the first 100 operating hours, ensuring minimal internal wear. For subsequent changes, check the color of the oil, or test the oil to determine if it needs to be changed. Testing oil is especially useful if your process generates acids but not particles; in such cases, the oil may be degraded even though it looks clean.
What does dirty oil look like?
Save a small blended sample of the new oil before you fill your pump. You can occasionally compare the appearance of the oil in the pump to this sample. Change the vacuum pump oil if it has an unusual colour, is dark, contains particles, or appears dirty or turbid.
If it looks like honey, the oil does not need to be changed. If it looks like molasses, change it right away.
If your pump is exposed to acids, the appearance may be proper even though the oil is contaminated; it is recommended that you test you oil on occasion. Proper maintenance will minimize internal wear and increase the life of your vacuum pump.
Hazardous process gases can concentrate in the vacuum pump, its oil and filters. Take proper safety precautions prior to the tear-down of your unit, or opening your filter housing.
Ensure that your vacuum pump has cooled down, but is still warm, prior to removing and changing oil. The cooler the temperature of your vacuum pump, the less viscous your oil will be. If you are changing the oil on a cold unit, run the pump for a few minutes; this will ensure all particles and debris are free-flowing, allowing them to drain properly.
- Isolate the vacuum pump, disconnecting it from your current process.
- Prepare a suitable waste container, then remove the oil-drain plug and let the dirty oil drain into the container. When the flow of oil slows down, screw the oil-drain plug back in, briefly switch on the pump (max. 10 s) and then switch it off again. Remove the oil-drain plug once more and drain out the remaining oil.
- Check the flat gasket on the oil drain plug; if there is noticeable corrosion or wear, replace before pouring in your clean oil.
- Remove the oil-filling plug and fill the vacuum pump with your fresh oil. Consult the vacuum pumps manual for the appropriate oil amount. If you do not have access to a manual, fill the oil up to the top of the sight glass.
- Screw the oil-fill plug back in. If your oil is dirty, flush with clean oil by pouring one half charge of the recommended oil into the pump after draining (in step 4), run the pump for 5-minutes, drain and re-fill with oil.
Many applications require frequent oil changes. Allowing a pump with contaminated oil to stand for an extended period can result in corrosion. Pumps should be run every few weeks if not in use. Take proper care if shelving the pump for extended periods of time.
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