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It can be daunting to try to verify the results of an oil flush. Particles as small as 2 microns can damage your equipment, but the human eye strains to see particles 30-40 microns in width. Besides super human eyesight or giant coke bottle glasses, we have six reliable ways you can personally verify your lube oil cleanliness. You should always use two types of verification; particle counts for microscopic contaminates and inspection media for particles visible to the naked eye.
1. Visual Inspection – While superhuman eyesight is required to see some particles, it is still a good idea to do a visual check. Using a 100-mesh screen (normally required by manufacturers), you can make sure nothing obvious is still running through your system.
2. Patch Kits – For quick checks and people who are okay with knowing they are in the ballpark instead of having a specific and reliable measurement, patch kits offer a fairly reliable and quick solution. Because they do leave room for human error, we recommend always backing up this method with laboratory testing (which can take longer).
3. Independent Lab Analysis – lab results are the most accurate way to know what precisely is happening with your lube oil. We work with an independent lab that returns results in 24 hours or less, but some analysis and labs can take longer. A patch kit for instant verification plus a sample sent off to the lab is always a way to have quick results now and peace of mind later with the certified lab results.
4. Portable Particle Counters – These are fast, reliable and great at identifying microscopic particles. You’ll want a unit that provides ISO and NAS cleanliness code counts. This is still a DYI solution, and false results can easily occur if the wrong type of particle counter is used for your application or you don’t check the calibration before each analysis. Our basic guide for selecting these is:
5.Strainers & Filters – strainers and filters offer tried and true ways to monitor your system for most particles but may miss microscopic contaminates. There are several choices when it comes to strainers, including:
5. Flange Screens (a.k.a. Slip Screens) – These are preferred by oil flush technicians, due to their ease of placement between flanges in gaskets with no disturbance to the piping or machinery. These screens are easily cleaned and reused repeatedly, especially during a flush. The drawback to slip screens is they can become clogged and back up fluid upstream or be destroyed.
Source: Larry B. Jordan