4 signs it's time to look for a new vacuum pump

April 30, 2020


Laboratory work requires precision and relies on the integrity of every instrument and tool used to conduct experiments or tests.

In the lab, technicians might use vacuum pumps for any number of jobs, including providing suction for the filtration of liquid or suspended samples, or inducing solvent evaporation by reducing vapor pressure. No matter the application, the success of a great deal of laboratory work depends on the reliability of the lab’s vacuum pump system.

The risks of faulty or old vacuum pumps

In a lab setting where techs need to conduct tests in a safe and timely manner, a failing vacuum pump can threaten the entire process.

Safety risks

Even working vacuum pumps, when used improperly, can pose a number of safety hazards to users. Learning to use pumps safely is part of the training lab techs undergo. 

Poorly functioning vacuum pumps, on the other hand, are almost always unpredictable, untrustworthy, and unsafe. With oil-based vacuum pumps, you can even experience safety issues like off-gassing as a byproduct of contaminated pump oil.

Related: Find out how Central Washington University sets the benchmark with their Standard Operating Procedure for Vacuum Pump Safety.

Lost time

A faulty or poorly working vacuum pump can create unnecessary hurdles and delays for testing samples. 

Labs working with rotary vane pumps may need to remove their pumps from the system for days or weeks if an oil issue arises. Having the pump refurbished can take up to six weeks, resulting in at least the same amount of downtime for the lab.

Related: Prevent unnecessary spending on repairs and replacements with proper maintenance and care. Read our blog post that shares 5 Tips to Make Your Rotary Vane Pump Last Longer. 

4 Signs that you need a new pump

At some point, your existing pump will become more of a liability than an asset. There’s a good chance the total cost of ownership (TCO) of your vacuum pump is well beyond an acceptable level.

That said, it’s not always easy to tell when a vacuum pump is about ready to give out. Here are a few signs that it’s time to upgrade to a new one.

1. You can’t meet end pressure

When a vacuum pump is wearing out, you may notice end pressure issues in your processes. In some cases, this can prevent processes from being completed.

The most straightforward method for checking end pressure is to use a pressure gauge, read out pressure, and then deadhead your pump to determine how long it takes to get to pressure. Leaks can also create end pressure inadequacies, a problem you can also detect through the deadheading process.

2. Your pump oil is discolored

Healthy oil is clear, usually light in color, and free from particulates. Check your oil regularly. Dark-colored or black oil can indicate pump issues. 

3. You notice excessive vibration

If your pump vibrates excessively, you may notice it through basic observation, but sometimes the vibration is more subtle. Excessive vibration can contribute to an adverse effect on your processes and should be considered when you’re investigating why a process has failed to complete.

4. There’s an increase or change in noise levels

When a pump you’ve been using for a long period of time seems to sound “off,” it’s time to investigate why. Well-performing pumps should not make loud, out-of-sync sounds. You might suspect a problematic noise level if lab techs are wearing hearing protection or headphones to block out the noise.

Related: How loud is too loud? And where is all that noise coming from? Uncover the answers in our blog post, 5 Quick Facts About Noise Pollution in Your Lab.

Dry pump technology improves lab functions

 Realistically, it is difficult for many labs to take proper care of oil-based pumps. Routine oil changes may not be a priority in a busy lab, and often, onsite maintenance technicians are not familiar with the equipment.

Dry compressing vacuum technology takes oil out of the equation altogether. Systems like the Leybold ECODRY offer true “set it and forget it” benefits and impressive energy efficiency. Click here and download the brochure, or click the button below and contact the Leybold Team with your questions. 

Leak Detection - banner

Leak detector 101

Download our e-Book "Fundamentals of Leak Detection" to discover leak detection essentials and techniques.

Leybold employee

Let's talk

We focus on customer proximity. Contact us for all your questions.

Contact us