Frequently Asked Questions 

Why should I choose Vacuum Pump Repair USA to repair my equipment?

We’ve been repairing vacuum equipment for over 50 years. We use only high-quality parts and time- tested repair procedures by factory trained technicians. We back up our repairs with a one-year warranty.  So, really, the question is why WOULDN’T you choose Vacuum Pump Repair USA?

What makes you a better choice than the other guys?

When comparing us with other companies, check a few things: How long have they been in business? How long is their warranty? If you want an overhaul / rebuild, are they completely rebuilding the pump, including vanes, etc.- the items in a major repair kit? Or is it a minor repair? We do it right the first time, and back it up with a full one-year warranty.

How long is the warranty and what does it cover?

One year against failure of parts or labor. Our full warranty policy is here.

What doesn’t the warranty cover?

Outside factors such as contamination are not covered.  See our full policy here.

I need help deciding if my pump problem is on my end or if it needs repair. Should I give you a call?

Yes, we’d be happy to help you isolate the problem over the phone or email.

What is the procedure for sending in my pump?

Complete our safety declaration sheet, include with your pump and ship in or call for local pickup. Once your equipment is received, we will evaluate it and contact you a.s.a.p. (after 50 years, we know most repairs are urgent!) with a detailed, written quotation of repair for your consideration.

Is there a fee for the evaluation?

 Yes, 90.00 , but it is waived when the repairs are approved.

Do you let me know if my pump is not cost effective to repair?

Yes, we won’t repair a pump that’s not worth the cost to you. We will recommend a new or rebuilt replacement if that is more cost effective. If you buy the replacement, we waive the original estimating fee.

What areas of Southern California do you pick up and deliver to?

Orange County, San Diego County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County. We also receive equipment from all over the United States.        

How often should I have my pump rebuilt?

That depends on your application. Some pumps last 15 or more years before they need to be rebuilt. Other, dirtier applications may need to be rebuilt after 2 years. Either way, regular oil changes (if oil filled type), and using intake filters and / or cold traps will increase service life greatly.

What is contamination and how do I prevent it?

Please see information here or give our office a call to discuss. 

My pump was expensive. What is the most important thing I can do to maintain it?

Change your oil. This can be done more often than necessary, but like we say, change your oil too much and you waste some oil – don’t do it enough and you waste a whole pump.

What is ‘Oil Backstreaming’?

When air is moving toward your pump, as it is when you are evacuating a vacuum or oven, it is nearly impossible for anything to go the opposite direction. However, after the oven or chamber is evacuated, your system is in the ‘molecular flow’ range. This means that there is so little air flow left in the system that the remaining molecules could flow either direction. The reason this is a potential problem is that oil molecules could float ‘upstream’ from your pump all the way up into your oven or chamber, and cause contamination.

We’re using vacuum ovens for our application. Which is better, The Edwards E2M30/28 or the Alcatel 2021-series. People seem to like one or the other. Which do you recommend?

Both are high quality pumps. The have the same ultimate vacuum. The difference is the Edwards displaces 8 CFM more air, meaning it will obtain its ultimate vacuum sooner. However, that is only if the intake line is not restricted, which it is on most vacuum ovens. Because the intake track on the vacuum oven usually cannot flow the same amount of air as the Edwards pump, the real useable CFM of the pump is restricted down to close to that of the Alcatel pump. So, the pumps will do a comparable job. One thing to consider, because the Alcatel is a smaller pump, it is less expensive, which makes it a better value.

I evacuate oxygen tanks. Can I use hydrocarbon oil?

Absolutely not. High concentrations of oxygen on a hydrocarbon oil-filled pump will EXPLODE. A vacuum pump is required to be built for oxygen using hydrocarbon-free oil such as Krytox or Fomblin fluid.

I evacuate oxygen tanks. Can I use hydrocarbon oil?

Absolutely not. High concentrations of oxygen on a hydrocarbon oil-filled pump will EXPLODE. A vacuum pump is required to be built for oxygen using hydrocarbon-free oil such as Krytox or Fomblin fluid.

If my line is under vacuum, can I turn my pump off?

If at all possible, do not leave a pump under vacuum when you cut the power. If you aren’t using the pump, vent the intake line before or immediately after shutting off the power.

How do I change the oil in my vacuum pump?

Always check and adjust the oil level while the pump is running. The level may look low when turned off, but it doesn’t matter.

Run the pump for about 20 minutes to warm it up. This helps heat up the oil and gets it to flow more easily from the oil case. Drain the old oil and fill with new.

I’ve seen some inexpensive smaller exhaust filters. Why buy larger ones?

Too small an exhaust filter can cause a restriction in the system, with air coming in the pump faster than it can exit. Always use the recommended size for your pump for best performance.

I started up my new pump before connecting the intake and exhaust lines, and a bunch of smoke came out. Why?

Always pull a vacuum on something when the pump is running. A wide-open intake causes a huge load of air to blow through the pump, which creates the oil vapor smoke.

When is it best to check oil level?

Oil levels should be checked and adjusted while the pump is running. The oil level, when the pump is not running may appear low, but who cares? The pump is not running!

I know I need to check the rotation when installing a 3-phase vacuum pump. What is the best way to check it?

If the motor on your pump is 3-phase, check the rotation when you are installing it. ‘Bump’ the starter briefly with your eye on the motor fan. If the pump is spinning backwards, reverse any two of the three power wires (turn off power) then recheck.

Why is there smoke coming out of my pump?

If the smoke is coming from the exhaust, it’s probably oil vapor. You might have an air leak.

I’m confused about vacuum readings. What’s the difference between 0-30” range and micron ranges. Is one correct?

0-30”mm is the normal range for a vacuum pump. 30” is all there is, so no pumps can ever go over 30”.  When using a high vacuum gauge, the 30th inch of vacuum is split into tiny pieces, called ‘microns’ or ‘millitorr’. On this type of gauge, unlike the 0-30” gauge, the smaller the numbers, the better the vacuum. 5 microns is better than 10 microns.

I’m not sure if my pump is bad, or I have a leak in my system. What do I check?

Isolate your pump first by installing a gauge on the intake of the pump (temporarily), before testing the entire system. This will give an accurate reading of the pump itself.

How often should I change my vacuum pump oil?

That depends on your application. Some applications require it daily, some every 6 months. Drain about ¼ cup of oil and check for clarity, color and the level before using the pump and regularly while using it. If it becomes discolored or has an odor, change it.

My pump gets pretty hot. Will this cause problems? Is there a temperature range on a pump? Ours run in a closed room, which gets pretty hot.

Each pump is different, but 158 f or 70 c is about the maximum temperature. Keep the pump cool, with a fresh air supply. Install the pump in open air if possible. If it is enclosed, use a fan for cooling. The heat will lower the viscosity of your oil, hindering its ability to pull a good vacuum. If your vacuum pump doesn’t pull a good vacuum, things can go downhill quickly.

Vacuum Pump Repair