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What is the best way to take care of your Harvest Right Freeze Dryer Vacuum Pump? And more!
Freeze Drier Maintenance
Maintenance isn’t just for Men
Do any of you remember the book: “Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus?” It was on the best seller list in the 1990’s for 121 weeks, but is still in print. It basically talks about the differences in the way men and women think and how it affects relationships. I Know! You’re thinking, “That’s it!”
Living in the country, there are always chores, inside and out. My husband and I enjoy working together. In fact, our motto today is: Everything is easier with two people! I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty and he’s been known to even wash out a dirty diaper in the toilet, before we discovered disposable diapers with our last child!
What Does My Freeze Dryer Vacuum Pump Have To Do With Men?
One day, after a particularly hectic day with kids (you know what those are!), cleaning house and doing a deep clean of our three bathrooms, it dawned on me that in our entire marriage, he had NEVER cleaned a shower/bathtub! I said, “Honey, how come you have never cleaned a shower or a bathtub?” He replied, “Because I change the oil.” End of conversation. I had to think about that one!
Now most of you are thinking, “Well, that’s no excuse.” But, being raised with 5 brothers I knew what he was saying. He was really saying that there are some things that we just might want to keep separate. But if you really want me to clean a bathtub, I’ll gladly teach you how to change the oil in the car, truck, cycles, boats, etc.! I let it be the end of the conversation with visions of me laying on my back on cold cement with oil dripping in my face and hair. I’m not that mechanical and would NOT enjoy changing the oil in anything!
Why I’m Getting Into Changing Oil
Fast forward to the acquisition of our amazing HarvestRight Freeze Drier! Maintenance, mostly meaning frequent, regular oil changes with every load (unless you are one of the lucky ones who could opt for the Oil Free Pump!) is not a biggie for our guys, but it’s a new mindset for us girls.
What Oil Should I Use For My Vacuum Pump
Bonnie got me onto Dairyland Vacuum Pump Oil, which I order online through Tractor Supply and they deliver it to our store where I can pick it up without any shipping charges. It’s nice and thick–easy to see any water in it and is reasonably priced.
Knowing what sticklers our men all are about changing the oil in all their toys, I knew I had to cowgirl up and get my mind into this to make sure I took proper care of my freeze dryer vacuum pump.
We filter the oil after every batch and throw it out after every 6 batches.
I FINALLY got it! These guys don’t say, “I need to go change the oil in the car” just to get out of changing a diaper! I learned that oil has certain lubricating components in it that get used up during use. So even though we see the filtered oil and it looks as good after the 6th use as it does after the 2nd use, it won’t do the job of lubricating and protecting the machinery because those components are used up.
How Do I Filter My Oil For My Vacuum Pump
Bonnie also got me onto the Brita Water Filter Pitcher to filter the oil. I wasn’t happy with the Harvest Right filter. Mine leaked and was very messy. I’m sure they will come up with something better. In the meantime, others who freeze dry came up with a pretty good solution. Plus, we put too much money into these machines to let poor maintenance on our freeze dryer vacuum pumps and more to waste it.
You take a roll of Scotts 1000 bathroom tissue. Using a serrated knife cut down into it (following the same direction as the cardboard tube inside, to 1/2″ – 3/4″ deep. Carefully pull that amount off the roll and roll it up tightly. If you need more to make it a tight fit into the cylinder where the water filter normally would go in the pitcher, cut a little more and add it.
Before placing it into the pitcher, wrap the bottom of the tissue in a coffee filter. Great Value Coffee Filters are inexpensive if you don’t have them on hand. This makes a great oil filter! To make sure I’m doing everything I can to protect my machine, I re-do my filter about every 3 months.
I keep two batches of oil going at once–one is filtering and another is working in the freeze dryer vacuum pump.
At the end of a batch as you start the defrost, pour your filtered oil from your pitcher into a clean peanut butter jar (or whatever you have) to be used for the next batch.
Then place your filter under the spout of the vacuum pump to start draining while it’s warm. Unplugging the little red oil plug helps it drain. (Make sure the little black “O” ring stays intact. It’s an elusive lil bugger! Sometimes it sticks to the pump. Keep track of it or you will lose it).
Don’t Forget To Keep Track
I put a small sticky note on the jar and pitcher. Each time I add oil to either, I give it a little tally mark until I reach 6. Then it goes into my DISCARD jar where my husband takes and spreads it at the bottom of our driveway to keep down dust. I scribble through all of my 6 ticks until I fill up the sticky note, then start over.
When your oil stops dripping, remove the pitcher. Then take a Dixie cup and tip the pump to remove what is left–it’s mostly water. You never want water in your oil, but there will always be some. With the Dixie cup it’s easy to see the water as you slowly pour oil off the top back into your filter.
Another thing I learned is when your process is complete, let the pressure out slowly so it doesn’t make your food smell/taste like oil.
Another Way I Keep Track of the Entire Process
Here’s my beginner’s check list I laminated and taped to the side of my machine. Go to the vault if you’d like a copy.
I now feel that I have climbed the Mt. Everest of changing oil and it’s so easy that I wonder why I had any inhibitions at all. I just might have hubby teach me how to do it in our vehicles—-maybe!