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Despite popular belief, HVAC vacuum pumps are not used only by professional technicians when repairing A/C or HVAC systems. While this is kind of their main purpose, HVAC vacuum pumps also have several applications in sewerage systems, vehicle engines, medical applications, coating, flight controls, and even freeze-drying. But, overall, why would you need the best HVAC vacuum pump that you can find?
Well, if you have more than just one refrigeration system within your home or business’ headquarters, then such a pump will save you some maintenance money. On top of that, it is not that hard to use.
Therefore, in the following lines, we’ll talk more about HVAC vacuum pumps, their applications and we’ve even prepared some HVAC vacuum pump reviews.
In short, we’ll provide you with everything you need to know about such appliances when buying or using them!
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What is an HVAC Vacuum Pump?
Now that we’re done with the reviews, it’s time to move on to the things that may help you when buying an HVAC vacuum pump. We realize that the entries on our list may not fit the needs of every customer, which is why we are ready to tell you everything there is to know about this particular type of pumps!
Naturally, we’re going to start with a comprehensive explanation of what an HVAC vacuum pump is.
HVAC Vacuum Pump Basics
Such a pump is used mostly by HVAC technicians to remove the air, vapor, and water from a refrigeration system – during its maintenance.
In more technical terms, an HVAC vacuum pump is commonly used for evacuation – a process that sums up the aforementioned.
Using an HVAC vacuum pump is important because any refrigeration system should have only two components circulating within it – namely the refrigerant and the oil. However, due to leaks and casual service, other components make their way in the refrigeration system.
As mentioned above, water vapors, oxygen, and nitrogen are the components that need to be removed. If left inside, the refrigeration system can become significantly less efficient, while the system’s components can be affected as well – usually via sludge formation.
Why Would You Buy an HVAC Vacuum Pump?
We said at the beginning of this article that HVAC vacuum pumps are used for more than the maintenance of refrigeration and A/C systems. Overall, such a product maintains system pressure – no matter the system.
Therefore, they can be used to freeze dry foods, keep the pressure levels stable in sewerage systems, to clean oil and extend the engine life of vehicle engines, and for the coating of ornaments of glass.
Still, today we are talking about HVAC pumps only. As such, keeping in mind the previous headline, here are several reasons why you would need an HVAC vacuum pump:
To repair your HVAC or A/C
As mentioned above, you cannot repair such a system without an HVAC pump. You may be able to replace the refrigerant within your A/C system and assemble the system back together, but if you don’t evacuate the unit of all the malicious components, your service or maintenance will be done in vain. The best way to know when your refrigeration system has leaks and needs to be repaired is to use an HVAC refrigerant leak detector – as these are quite hard to spot.
To ensure the efficiency of your A/C or HVAC system
Even if you own an energy-efficient A/C that doesn’t need any repairs, you may notice that it isn’t as effective as when you first bought it. This is because water vapors, oxygen, and nitrogen can accumulate within the system no matter the circumstances. Therefore, an HVAC vacuum pump can help you maintain the efficiency of your A/C system, as well as increase its life.
To avoid electroplating
One of the main reasons why you need such a pump is to avoid electroplating. This phenomenon occurs naturally within the refrigerant of your A/C system – acids are produced in it, thus causing electroplating. The latter damages the motor insulation – when there’s no more insulation, the motor will short-circuit and damage the compressor. You may know that the compressor costs the most when it comes to A/C and HVAC systems.
Moreover, there are people that use it to clean their vehicles from oil or simply remove contaminants from a variety of recipients. For example, some customers reported that they had a very easy time removing mercury – up to 25g – from a container with the use of an HVAC vacuum pump.
Overall, if you own an HVAC system, then you definitely need such a pump. Then, you are bound to find other uses for it – for example, there are people who use such pumps to degas wine.
Best HVAC Vacuum Pumps Comparison Chart
Kozyvacu TA350 Rotary Vane Vacuum Pump
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ZENY 3,5 CFM Rotary Vane Economy Vacuum Pump
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Robinair (15310) VacuMaster Vacuum Pump
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Yellow Jacket 93580 Superevac Vacuum Pump
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Robinair (15500) VacuMaster Economy Vacuum Pump
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Fieldpiece Black Vp85 8 CFM Vacuum Pump
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Best HVAC Vacuum Pumps – (Editors’ Choice)
1. Kozyvacu TA350 Rotary Vane Vacuum Pump
This vacuum pump from Kozyvacu comes with construction of lightweight cast aluminum that enhances the overall durability of the product. Moreover, due to the direct drive feature of the motor, the pump will require no maintenance and has an easy start.
For increased convenience, the pump features oil-viewing windows through which you can see the quality and levels of the oil inside the pump. The oil drain valve is located at the bottom of the reservoir and is specially angled to improve the draining process.
The vacuum pump is also thermally protected, with the help of a built-in high-volume cooling fan. Therefore, you can use the pump for a long period of time without it heating up.
In terms of specifications, the pump features 3.5 CFM, 1/4HP, 120v, 60Hz of frequency, and a reservoir that can fit up to 280ml of oil.
- Ultimate vacuum of 150 microns per 29.91’’ Hg
- On/Off switch with non-slip cushion handle
- High efficiency and low noise
- Thermally protected
- Reportedly, it is not as powerful as you’d expect – moderate pull power.
2. ZENY 3,5 CFM Rotary Vane Economy Vacuum Pump
As usual, this entry comes with a heavy-duty aluminum alloy casing as well. In fact, if you find a pump made from a different material, you should do some research and make sure that it fits as an HVAC vacuum pump.
Moreover, the product features a shockproof base, a copper suction port, a very convenient viewable oil window, as well as an exhaust port and cap. The shockproof base is great in such a product, as the pump may fall – depending on where you place it.
For increased safety and enhanced operation, the vacuum pump comes with built-in thermal protection. It has a power of 1/4HP, a voltage of 110V, an ultimate vacuum of 5 Pa, and has an oil capacity of 320 ml.
- Very easy to use
- Good value for money
- 320 ml oil reservoir
- Thermal protection
- Wear-resistant base
- The pump may start to leak if not taken care of.
3. Robinair (15310) VacuMaster Vacuum Pump
This VacuMaster single-stage pump is specially designed for refrigeration and air conditioning services. It features a rotary vane design, comes equipped with non-skid feet, and has an oil capacity of up to 8.5 ounces.
To make the product more efficient, the manufacturer added an inlet fitting that is specially engineered for maximum airflow – the inlet will also prevent any oil backflow. On top of that, the finned aluminum surfaces of the product dissipate heat much faster, thus keeping the pump cooler.
The motor is also thermally protected – the piece has a power of 1/4HP, 110V, and 60Hz. For ease of use, the product features ½ inch ACME and ¼ inch flare inlet fittings.
- Easy to read sight glass
- Angled oil drain valve
- Easy access to the oil fill port
- Factory rated to 75 microns
- 3 CFM free air displacement
- Reportedly, it can be quite noisy.
- You may need an adapter for the inlet port – or replace it completely.
4. Yellow Jacket 93580 Superevac Vacuum Pump
This pump from Yellow Jacket is promoted as Superevac. Let’s see if it lives up to its naming!
First of all, the product is made of aluminum, a standard in the industry. The power source is corded-electric. It weighs roughly 12.3 pounds and has a height of 13 inches.
The product features 8 CFM, making it highly effective, especially when it comes to pulling a wide variety of substances. Reportedly, it can pull vacuums of up to 220 – that’s why most customers have called it a beast.
On top of that, the pump comes with an isolation valve that can be used to change oil without the loss of vacuum. It also has a built-in vacuum indicator gauge. The oil reservoir comes with a wide mouth for cleaner filling. However, the interesting part is that this wide mouth can double as pump exhaust – it is threaded and can be attached to a garden hose for remote location exhaustion.
- The base features metal with rubber overlay for stability
- Large oil sight glass
- 115 VAC, 60 Hz
- Gas ballast valve – keeps the oil cleaner for longer
- Lacks an inlet port that can be helpful when you’re trying to hook certain hoses – for example, a 3/8’’ hose.
5. Robinair (15500) VacuMaster Economy Vacuum Pump
Yet another entry from Robinair, this vacuum pump features a 2-stage rotary vane design, non-skid feet for increased stability, and has an oil capacity of 7.5 ounces.
Moreover, the product is factory-rated to 35 microns and has 5 CFM of free air displacement. In terms of inlet fitting, the pump has a ¼ inch MFL and a 3/8-inch ACME inlet, as well as ½ inch ACME and 3/8-inch FFL adapters.
The oil fill port is easy to access, and the sight glass of the pump is fairly easy to read. Once again, the pump comes with an angled oil drain valve in order to endure a faster, as well as more complete draining process.
As with the previous model, this one also comes with an inlet fitting that enhances airflow and prevents oil backflow. The finned aluminum surfaces of the pump keep the pump cooler, as they are able to dissipate heat much faster.
- Easy to use product
- High suction power
- Great value for money
- 1/3 hp, 115V, 60Hz motor
- Thermally protected motor
- 5 ounces oil capacity
- Most parts are usually not replaceable – pump failure usually means pump replacement.
6. Fieldpiece Black Vp85 8 CFM Vacuum Pump
This heavy-duty Fieldpiece VP85 vacuum pump comes with 8 CFM, meaning that it is quite powerful and can deal with most, if not all of the jobs one may have to do.
In terms of interesting features, this pump is equipped with a RunQuick oil change system that allows you to replace the oil in roughly 20 seconds – no mess guaranteed. On top of that, you won’t lose any vacuum while doing so.
The oil tank is large and clear so that you can see the oil’s condition and determine the system’s health. You can fit up to 8 ounces of oil in this tank.
Last but not least, the vacuum pump comes equipped with a series of additional features for the VP85 model – namely, protection against voltage drop, smart variable speed DC motor, cold weather start-up, and special storage where you fit an 8 oz oil container.
- 8 CFM
- Fast oil change
- Sturdy base
- Gas Ballast
- In-line 4-port Manifold – one ¼’’, two 3/8’’, and one ½’’.
- Reportedly, after extended use, the pump will turn itself on and off if it gets below 1000 microns.
7. XtremepowerUS Rotary Vane Vacuum Pump
This is a 3 CFM single-stage rotary pump from the XtremepowerUS manufacturer. The producer labeled this pump as a vane vacuum pump – however, it can be used in many other instances.
As for the product’s power, the pump is equipped with a 1/4HP motor, runs on 110V, and at a frequency of 60Hz. Reportedly, the pump is not noisy, yet quite efficient. The pump even comes with an internal high-volume cooling fan meant to keep the product operating properly when used for extended periods.
The casing of the product is made of heavy-duty aluminum alloy, making the pump quite resistant to occasional damage. On top of that, the oil drain plug is located at the bottom of the oil reservoir – so that you don’t make a mess while using the pump.
- High-efficiency product
- Aluminum alloy casing
- Internal high-volume cooling fan
- Reportedly, despite the cooling fan it comes equipped it, the pump can get quite hot when using it.
HVAC Vacuum Pumps Buying Guide
Now that you know why you would need an HVAC vacuum pump, let’s move on to the things you need to consider when buying one.
As you may prefer to find a pump that suits your needs or can be used for more than the cleaning of your HVAC, here is an in-depth buying guide, just for you!
One of the most important things to check when buying such a pump is the vacuum pump capacity rating or CFM rating. CFM refers to Cubic Feet per Minute and measures how much air the pump can draw from the refrigeration system per minute. Naturally, the evacuation process of an HVAC system will be faster if the pump you buy comes with more CFM. Commercial applications of an HVAC vacuum pump require roughly 8 to 10 CFM, while residential applications 4 to 6.
The second most important thing to look at when browsing vacuum pumps is their vacuum level – preferably in microns. Keep in mind that no pump can actually create a full vacuum. For example, 0 microns make a perfect vacuum, while roughly 760,000 microns make no vacuum at all. Therefore, the lower the number of microns the better the pump is.
A very convenient feature is the sight glass, as it lets you see inside the oil reservoir. This can be very helpful to determine the level of the oil as well as its quality so that you know when to replace it.
Anti-Suck Back Mechanism
If you lose power when you evacuate your HVAC system, the oil from your pump will escape and go back into the refrigeration system. Obviously, you don’t want something like this to happen – thus, a pump with an anti-suck back mechanism is more than needed.
It is best if you get a pump that comes with a sizable diameter. This makes it easier for you to fill it up with oil.
Proper Oil Plug
The oil plug should have a sizable opening, as this will make oil drainage less of a hassle, so to say.
Vacuum Gauge Indicator
Such an indicator can be handy, especially if you really want to see how the vacuum is drawn.
Gas Ballast Valve
During the early evacuation process, water vapors that are being drawn out from the HVAC system may merge with the pump’s oil. A gas ballast valve lets some air to get through the pump, thus exhausting the water vapors.
Usually, an isolation valve is needed to easily turn the unit off. However, such a valve can help you better manage oil as well – this is because the isolation valve can be used for both oil draining and pump refilling.
If your HVAC system is placed indoors or you have to use the pump indoors, then you may want to choose one that has an exhaust filling. You can attach a garden hose to this filling and ensure proper outer venting – in short, there will be no mess inside your home.
Naturally, not all pumps will have all of the aforementioned features. This is why, when buying one, make sure that it comes with the features you consider the most useful and that you’ll surely need.
HVAC Vacuum Pumps – Exploring the Various Types
When it comes to the types of HVAC pumps, the way through which they achieve a vacuum is the first feature considered. However, keep in mind that pumps that are able to create a stronger vacuum are the best, no matter their type.
Overall, there are three major types of HVAC pumps, as follows:
Oil-Filled Rotary Vane Pump
This is the usual choice for HVAC technicians, mainly because this type of pump provides the best evacuation procedures on the market.
On top of that, oil-filled rotary vane pumps are also very cheap and capable of creating a rather strong vacuum – of up to 99.9%.
Such pumps are usually not used for the maintenance of HVAC systems. This is because they can create a vacuum of only up to 85%.
Overall, diaphragm pumps cannot remove all the impurities from an HVAC unit and are used for entirely other purposes.
While not as powerful as an oil-filled rotary vane pump, a vacuum generator can still create quite a strong vacuum – up to 93-94%.
However, the main disadvantages of using a vacuum generator are the loud noise they make, as well as the fact that they need a pricey air compressor in order to operate. On top of that, they don’t perform well in humid conditions. You can also have a look at our solar generator reviews.
Single-Stage vs. Two-Stage Vacuum Pumps – The Differences
One of the first things that you’ll see when looking for an HVAC vacuum pump will be the number of stages they feature – namely, either single-stage or two-stage.
Single-Stage Vacuum Pump
A vacuum pump in a single-stage comes with one rotor and one set of vanes. As expected, its operation process is based on a single-stage where the pump generates a vacuum of roughly 75 microns
Two-Stage Vacuum Pump
On the other hand, a vacuum pump in two stages comes with two rotors, as well as two sets of vanes. Obviously, it works in two separate stages and is able to create a much stronger vacuum.
The first stage creates a medium vacuum and then, the second stage will process the exhaust of the initial stage in order to create a better, stronger vacuum. As a result, two-stage pumps can come up with 25-micron vacuums.
Therefore, a two-stage vacuum pump is not only quieter but also faster than a single-stage pump.
Learn How to Use an HVAC Vacuum Pump
An HVAC vacuum pump is mainly used to repair refrigerant and AC systems. The pump comes in play after the recovery and the repair process.
Before you use a vacuum pump, you’ll have to recover any refrigerant, make the needed repairs, and check for leaks.
Then, you can start using the HVAC vacuum pump, as follows:
- Locate and then remove the service valve caps and attach the core removal tool.
- The hoses of your manifold gauges are then to be attached to the valves. The blue hose goes to the low-side of the core removal tool while the red hose to the high-side.
- Check that the pump has enough oil via the sight glass.
- Then, connect the vacuum hose from the HVAC gauge to the pump.
- Before starting the pump, ensure that it is on a horizontal level – on a flat and stable surface.
- Turn on the pump.
- Open the two manifold gauge valves.
- Now, the electronic gauge should display the lowering of microns. Around 500 microns – or following the manufacturer’s specs – you should turn off the pump.
- It is normal for the micron level to go up a bit. However, if it reaches 760,000 microns, then your HVAC system may have a leak.
- After the evacuation process is complete, disconnect all of the three hoses of the manifold gauge and then replace the service valve caps.
Keep in mind to never recharge your HVAC system without evacuating it first!
If the system lacks proper evacuation and you add the refrigerant back, a chemical reaction will take place. As a result, you will later have to deal with impurities on piping, oil sludge, as well as a variety of acidic reactions that could damage the system’s O rings.
Important Safety and Maintenance Tips for HVAC Vacuum Pumps
Given that HVAC vacuum pumps are usually used by professional technicians, it goes without saying that you should know a couple of safety and maintenance tips before you try to operate such a product.
Even though you may be experienced in the service of your A/C or HVAC system, an HVAC vacuum pump is an entirely different product that you will need to learn how to use before risking damages on your appliances. Here are some vacuum pump safety trips;
- As always, make sure to read the user’s manual before operating the pump.
- Before using it for the first time, make sure that all of its electrical cords and switches are free from any defects.
- Do not use HVAC vacuum pumps in areas that are prone to excess heat buildup.
- It is recommended that you replace any tubing that got worn out.
- To ensure efficiency and increase the pump’s lifetime, use only compatible solvents.
- If the vacuum pump that you buy lacks an oil drip tray, it is highly recommended that you place one under the pump.
- The oil levels are to be checked consistently and replaced when needed. The oil keeps the pump from overheating and traps contaminants as well.
- Given that oil is considered as waste material, make sure that you dispose of it properly.
It is highly recommended that before using any new appliances or machines, you read not only the user’s manual provided by the manufacturer but also online tips, tricks, and safety advice.
Frequently Asked Questions and Their Answers
- Why is my HVAC vacuum pump pumping very slowly?
This may happen when the pump’s intake port is filled with dirt. In this case, you have to clean the dirt trap and then properly install a dust filter. If this doesn’t change anything, then service your pump as other components may be faulty.
- Why is the pressure rising so quickly after I turn the HVAC pump off?
One of the main reasons might be the fact that the vacuum pump has a leak that has to be fixed. However, it may also be that one of the back valves doesn’t function properly and has to be replaced.
- What type of HVAC vacuum pump should I get?
As mentioned above, the oil-filled rotary vane type is not only the most accessible but also the best type of HVAC vacuum pump.
When it comes to single- or two-stage pumps, it depends on the job that you want to do. Smaller jobs – like your personal refrigeration unit – may not need something as powerful as a two-stage vacuum pump.
However, if you have multiple A/C units that need regular service, then a two-stage pump may be a good investment!
- Do I need an HVAC pump with a gas ballast?
While not mandatory, a gas ballast can be very helpful especially if you plan on constantly using the pump. This component makes sure that the water vapors evacuated from the refrigeration system don’t mix with the pump’s oil.
Therefore, a gas ballast maintains the oil quality and purity, increasing the efficiency and lifetime of the pump.
Now you know everything there is to know about HVAC vacuum pumps! Naturally, keep in mind that you can always gather more knowledge, especially in terms of safety and maintenance.
For example, the main things that you have to do to keep your vacuum pump in perfect health are replacing its oil and keeping it as cool as possible when operating. Even if most models come with built-in fans and such, it is still recommended that you go the extra mile and ensure some additional cooling.
On the other hand, make sure to read the HVAC vacuum pump reviews we have provided you with. They can stand as good guidelines when you’re searching for a pump to fit your needs.
Moreover, if you read our buying guide as well, then you will surely pick and take home with you the best HVAC vacuum pump on the market!