5 Tips for Keeping Your Vacuum Pump Running at Top Performance

A vacuum truck working outdoors

If there is one thing that is certain, it’s that your vacuum pump is the heart of your septic pump truck. Every day at work, you show up to a job site and expect it to perform and get the task done. However, this sort of day-in and day-out reliability doesn’t happen by chance or accident. Instead, it is thanks to your due diligence, and taking the proper steps necessary to maintain your vacuum pump. 

Unfortunately, some people learn the hard way, and just skip over important maintenance details because they seem daunting or tedious. This undoubtedly leads to breakdowns and costly repairs. Don’t be like these folks! Keep reading to learn more about how to properly maintain your vacuum pump so that it keeps running at top performance.


Tip #1: Watch for Overheating

The most common downfall for your beloved vacuum pump is typically attributed to overheating. If your pump is overheating, it’s because it is encumbered with mud or other sludge and has to work way too hard to do its task.

The key to this is simple: keep your pump clean. While it’s easy to say this, because it is such a basic need, it can be easy to overlook. When mud accumulates, it acts like a blanket. Even if your septic pump truck is equipped with liquid-cooled pumps, they will still require ambient cooling. Plus, air-cooled pumps are dependent on heat dissipation. When the heat doesn’t escape, you have your pump’s worst enemy: heat. To externally clean your pump, just pressure wash it at a car wash or with a hose at your shop. 

Also, make sure that your pump is properly lubricated. Routinely, you will need to perform an oil consumption test to ensure that everything is operating properly. Should there be no oil in the vanes, it will serve to be catastrophic for the pump.


Tip #2: Get Familiar with Your Pump

Pump care isn’t just based around regular cleaning. Another important thing you need to know is how to properly operate the pump, too. A common error that many make right out of the gate is assuming that the relief valves are preset by the manufacturer or builder of the vacuum systems. This isn’t always the case, and it’s your responsibility to check this prior to operation

Think of it in these terms: vacuum relief serves adequate air into the tank. When the vac relief begins to suck air in, that’s when the product gets pulled into the tank. Yes, you have to have air in order to create the pressure necessary to perform the vacuum suction. However, you must also remember to relieve the system. When you first purchase a vacuum truck, you must be knowledgeable on how to set the reliefs. Spend some time getting acquainted with the ins and outs of your septic pump truck.

If you have any questions, check with the manufacturer. We here at FlowMark are proud to provide continuing support for all of our customers. When you drive off the lot with one of our vacuum trucks, we want to be able to answer any questions you may have.


Tip #3: Establish a Routine

One of the easiest ways to ensure the longevity of your vacuum pump is to establish a routine for maintenance. Create a checklist and a time frame for doing each section. As an example, we recommend adding a few of these to your list:

  • Set and check the relief valve
  • Perform a full pump flush
  • Check, empty, and then clean out your oil reservoir. Also, be sure to adjust the oil pump if it’s necessary.
  • Use a laser tachometer to check the rotation speed of your pump.

For more information on proper septic pump truck maintenance, be sure to head over to our website. There, we have a comprehensive list, along with suggested timelines, that will help you to ensure quality care for the lifeline of your business. 

If you need help with this, set a timer on your phone or computer. Or you can print off a checklist to keep on a clipboard inside of the truck. Taking these minor measures will prove to pay off in the long run. 


Tip #4: Understand Vane Basics

During the operation of your vacuum pump, the vanes will naturally rub against the inside of the pump casing. However, if your pump isn’t flushed and oiled properly, these vanes are liable to wear out quickly. While some material carryover is bound to happen even if you are meticulous about maintenance. Replacing vanes will have to happen on occasion.

It is important to remember that vanes are made in various shapes and sizes, available in different heights and lengths. They work similar to brake pads: they are vital and do require to be replaced once they begin to wear down. 

Vanes are also manufactured with different types of materials. Some are made of asbestos-based materials, especially in older models. However, modern versions are typically created using Kevlar or phenolic resin. While this material is durable, you should never take its resilience for granted, especially depending how often you use the pump.

City workers using a septic pump truck

Tip #5: Stick To It

No matter what, the key to keeping your vacuum pump fully operational is by sticking to this combination of tips. No singular step or action is going to keep your septic pump truck in peak condition. It takes routine maintenance, including cleaning the pump, checking the vanes, ensuring proper lubrication, and so much more. 

Regular wear and tear is bound to happen, and things will go wrong. However, these types of preemptive measures will at least keep the bulk of these breakdowns at bay. The bottom line is that you can save thousands of dollars for your whole fleet in the long run if you take the proper time and care necessary to maintain your equipment. Pumps can be costly things, and you should want to avoid unnecessarily replacing them.