How do you use a hand vacuum pump and what for?

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A hand operated vacuum pump is an easy to operate device. Each squeeze of the pump produces about 15ml. This can be used to a vacuum of approximately 15mm Hg which translates to an air pressure of 2 standard atmospheres.

A hand vacuum pump is used to remove gas molecules from a sealed volume so as to have a partial vacuum. We initially had the suction pump as the predecessor to the vacuum pump. A hand vacuum pump can also be used to remove water out of a sealed container to create a vacuum.

Types of vacuum pumps

It is used by automotive technicians, service and maintenance professionals, scientists, engineers and many other technicians. There are basically two types of vacuum pumps, the transfer pump and the trapping pump. Also known as the kinetic pump, the transfer pump operates by transferring gas pushed from the inlet of the pump to its outlet. The process is done mechanically by pushing the part of the pump that usually rotates. The gas molecules are accelerated making the low pressure region.

A trapping pump on the other hand removes is designed to eliminate the gas molecules by means of sorption or condensation on the internal surface. Also known as a capture pump, the trapping pump is capable of condensing gas molecules and removes them from a container in a form of a liquid.

Features of hand vacuum pumps

A hand vacuum pump has a seemingly simple design and it is either designed with a gauge or without. Pumps that have a gauge makes them unique and effective to use as it helps you have a continuous monitoring when you are applying vacuum or pressure to any system. In addition, a hand vacuum pump with a gauge helps the operator capture a peak vacuum as well as pressure reading when performing a critical diagnostic test.

The features of a hand vacuum pump differ depending on the manufacturing company and the purpose of its use. Mityvac hand pumps for example are manufactures of high-end and unique hand vacuum pumps. Their pumps have a long list of unique features with most of them having patent protection. The following are some of the important features a quality hand vacuum pump should have:

Lever vacuum/pressure release

All hand pumps have lever vacuum/pressure release that allows you to relieve the vacuum or pressure in the pump and system. This is achieved carefully reaching with a finger and lift the lever up. It makes the pump easier to use as you only use a single finger.


A hand vacuum pump should feature a simple and repairable design. It should not involve a variety of tools to disassemble but just a screwdriver and a standard maintenance kit and required replacement parts which are readily available.

In-line Piston Design

The best vacuum hand pump should one that has a simple linear piston design that involves minimal moving parts with smooth but consistent vacuum as well as pressure in every stroke cycle

Handle with contours

Contoured handle is ergonomic and very comfortable to use. It offers a comfortable and firm grip in the hands of the operator even when it is slick or greasy.

Uses of a hand vacuum pump

A hand-held vacuum pump can be used in very many ways. The following are some of the ways one can use the hand vacuum pump:

Bleeding your own brakes using a hand vacuum pump

Each time you change your braking component on your vehicle by disconnecting one brake line(s) or any part with brake fluid requires bleeding. This is important so that the old brake fluid and bubbles that are present in the system are flushed out for efficiency in braking.

Using a hand vacuum to bleed your braking system can take you approximately an hour. There are precautions to be taken before doing bleeding on vehicles that have Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS).

When bleeding your vehicle using the hand vacuum pump, be sure to have a repair manual for the right sequence for your vehicle model and follow the following procedure:

  • For a correct bleeding, remove the cap and make the brake master clean. This is to avoid contaminating the brake hydraulic system. Use the vacuum pump to flush as much brake fluid as much from the reservoir until it reaches the MAX level.
  • Make the hand vacuum pump ready by connecting the reservoir jar and the required tubing as well as the adapter that connects the jar with the bleeder valve. This is to avoid airflow from the outside into the jar.
  • Remove the wheel assembly so that you can reach out for the braking system and work out the process quite comfortably.
  • Clean the bleeder screw thoroughly so that grease or oil does not enter the bleeding tube and block it.
  • Open and close the bleeder screw appropriately with the right tool before you connect the bleeding tubing to the bleeder screw.
  • Make loose the bleeder screw safely without damaging it and use penetrating oil if it doesn’t come out easily.
  • Connect the bleeder tubing to the bleeder screw.
  • Pump the brake pedal about 10 times so as to clear residual vacuum out of the brake booster. During this process, the fluid in the reservoir should be maintained so that you don’t suck in air and do the process repeatedly.
  • Keep adding the brake fluid in the master cylinder reservoir so that the MAX level is maintained.
  • Squeeze the hand vacuum pump for about 15 times.
  • Turn the bleeder screw about 1/2-Inch for the fluid to flow slowly into the bleeder jar.
  • Use the hand vacuum pump to pump the fluid into the jar until it is about 1 inch from the cap while observing the size of the bubbles in the stream of fluid.
  • Make the bleeder screw tighter and remove the collected fluid in the jar.
  • Do the same process to the rest of the wheel assemblies.

A hand vacuum pump can be used in various industrial applications as per the industrial needs. You can use it in the processing of semiconductors and in laboratories for filtration or physics experiments.

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