A properly maintained vacuum chamber can last for decades.
At Pregl, we know that a properly maintained vacuum chamber can last for decades, but if the water supply used for cooling is untreated, mineral build-up can cause water jacket blockages to occur much sooner.
Hot spots, foul-smelling water and water discoloration are some of the signs of mineral build-up in a water jacket, but there are no sure-fire methods for detecting blockages. One option is to bring in ultrasonic equipment but these can be costly and unreliable. Another is to perform an acid flush on the system, however working with such chemicals requires special handling and disposal.
For these reasons, Pregl is a strong advocate of visual inspection performed through portals strategically located through the chamber wall. These portals allow not only visual inspection, but also provide access for removal of built-up minerals.