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Knowing how to properly and quickly perform a system evacuation is an important skill that any HVAC professional should master. When evacuating a refrigeration or air conditioning system using a good-quality HVAC vacuum pump, contaminants such as moisture, oxygen and nitrogen are removed from the system enhancing its efficiency and overall health. For a vacuum pump to perform at its best, any HVAC expert knows that fresh, clean and good-quality vacuum pump oil is key.
Vacuum pump oils are typically mineral-based oil while some are silicone-based synthetics. The oil is highly refined and engineered to have low vapour pressure and specific viscosity which helps in mechanical lubrication, creating a proper seal in rotary vane pumps for an optimal vacuum and quicker evacuation. Formulated to be thermally stable, vacuum pump oil maintains maximum viscosity at varying temperatures, even on cold weather start-ups.
In the evacuation process, the vacuum pump moves moisture and any non-condensible contaminants out of the refrigeration system through the vacuum pump oil. The vacuum pump oil circulates the system collecting these contaminants. When the vacuum pump oil is contaminated, it reduces the vacuum pump’s ability to reach a deep vacuum. Pulling a vacuum becomes less efficient as the pump becomes less effective at removing moisture and non-condensables from the system. Over time, the vacuum pump oil oxidizes reducing its sealing properties. Unwanted components such as acids and sludge can form when the oil becomes saturated with contaminants potentially causing damage to the pump. This is the reason why it is important to change the vacuum pump oil frequently.
Vacuum pump oil should be changed frequently to ensure smooth vacuum pump performance at peak efficiency. The manual that comes with your vacuum pump details the recommended routine maintenance including the steps on how to change the vacuum pump oil and how often. Depending on the application and pump usage, the vacuum pump oil may need to be replaced sooner specially in the following situations:
The quality and purity of the vacuum pump oil you use have a big impact on the performance of your HVAC vacuum pump. Changing the vacuum pump oil frequently maintains the vacuum pump’s performance at full efficiency. While most vacuum pump oils are compatible with any pump, it is essential to understand some of the important characteristics of a good vacuum pump oil below.
Vacuum pump oils are designed to have specific viscosity to create proper sealing and lubrication requirements of the vacuum pump at varying temperature conditions. Robinair Premium High Vacuum Pump Oil is engineered to maintain maximum viscosity at high running temperatures and improve cold weather starts.
Low Vapor Pressure
Choose the vacuum pump oil with low vapor pressure to ensure smooth and efficient pump performance. The lower vapor pressure, the more ideal the vacuum pump oil is for pulling deeper vacuums.
A vacuum pump oil that is thermally stable provides resistance to sludge formation, oil oxidation and breakdowns due to heat. Fieldpiece High Grade Vacuum Pump Oil has a wide temperature range that helps oil perform in any conditions while also ensuring seals are tight and well-lubricated
Highly refined mineral-based vacuum pump oils undergo the distillation process to reduce the sulfur content and remove other impurities. Depending on the application, oils can be single-distilled, double-distilled or triple-distilled. Removing surfur makes the oil highly resistant to oxidation preventing breakdown as the vacuum pump temperature increases.
As a rule of thumb, it is best to use the manufacturer’s recommended vacuum pump oil for optimal vacuum pump performance. Change your vacuum pump oil based on the manufacturer-approved procedure.
Use only premium quality oil formulated specifically for deep vacuum pumps. Mastercool Deep Vacuum Pump Oil is specifically designed for use in deep vacuum pumps.
Cool Tools HVAC-R supplies Australia with premium high-grade oils for your HVAC vacuum pump. You can purchase vacuum pump oils in many different options from 250ml bottles, 946ml (one quart) bottles, to 1-gallon bottles which is enough for even the biggest jobs. We proudly offer quality oils from the best vacuum pump makers on the market such as Robinair, Fieldpiece, Mastercool, Javac and many more.
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