This depends on the environment. Some guidelines are listed but life expectancy will vary with conditions. Typically, the breather will last for 3 to 6 months with proper sizing.
1) Water adsorption
The silica gel starts out orange. When it changes to a dark green color, the unit has reached 100% moisture saturation and must be replaced. If the environment is not very wet, the desiccant can be expected to last around 6 to 8 months before replacement is required. Final service life will vary depending on airflow and the presence of moisture and cannot be accurately predicted for any given application.
2) Abrasives/dust contamination
The Pulsarlube AIR® removes abrasives and dust contamination via an electret filter. In general, the desiccant is expected to last longer than the filter but in extremely dusty environments, the breather may be unable to function due to dust contamination before desiccant becomes saturated with water. In very dusty environments, we recommend replacing the breather every 4 to 6 months, even if moisture saturation is not at 100%.
To ensure the best performance, perform periodic inspections, especially in harsh operating environments.
The cost of desiccant breathers is quite modest compared to the costs of equipment rebuild/repair, machinery down-time, oil or fluid replacement, contaminated and damaged equipment, etc.
1) Rebuilding a gearbox may cost hundreds and even thousands of dollars in parts and labor, not to mention downtime.
2) Equipment failure can shut down a production line.
3) Contaminated food grade oils or pharmaceutical fluids must be disposed of.
4) Water in electrical control cabinets and transformers can result in explosions.
Pulsarlube AIR® breathers are simple to install and their periodic monitoring requires no technical expertise.