Introduction: Replace a Vacuum Sealer Heating Element

Picture of Replace a Vacuum Sealer Heating Element

Our old vacuum sealer finally gave up on me. The heating element had gotten wet or corroded and eventually burned holes through the Teflon sealing strip. We use this quite often and I needed a working one, but a new $100+ sealer was out of my budget range.

A quick search revealed that it is very common for the sealing strips to wear out, and replacement parts are readily available. The whole process of replacement should take about $15 and 15 minutes of your time.


This post was first published here.

Step 1: Tools/Materials

Picture of Tools/Materials

The whole machine can be disassembled by a screwdriver and a pair of pliers, which was a nice surprise in today's world of single-use plastic snaps.
-Philips-head screwdriver
-small long-nose pliers
-small needle-nose pliers

You will need to order a new heating element and some Teflon tape. I got mine from Elements and More for about $15 (and free shipping). Be sure to tell them to write "Do Not Bend" on the mailing envelope. You could probably use NiChrome wire or ribbon for a more DIY approach.

Step 2: Disassemble

Picture of Disassemble

If your model has a cord guide, unhook the cord. The 350 model has 9 screws that hold it together. Remove all screws and carefully pull the case apart.

Once it's opened up, you get to see all of the cool guts, like the huge transformer and the vacuum pump.

Step 3: Remove Old Components

Picture of Remove Old Components

The heating element is held in place by a tiny tension spring at each end. Use pliers to unhook these from the heating element. Keep track of the springs. They'll fall out if you don't remove them completely.

Push the old Teflon tape through the side hole and grab it from the other side with pliers to remove. The old heating element should then come out easily. Scrape away any melted thermoplastic or other burned material that may be stuck to the machine.

Step 4: Install New Heating Element

Picture of Install New Heating Element

Nothing too complicated here. Just put the new one where the old one went. Make sure the heating element is centered.

Step 5: Apply Teflon Tape

Picture of Apply Teflon Tape

Center the tape over the heating element. It should have enough extra length on both ends to tuck into the holes. Don't worry if the ends are slightly wrinkled. It doesn't use the ends during operation.

Step 6: Reassemble

Picture of Reassemble

Opposite of disassembly. That's all there is to it. Your vacuum sealer should be good as new.

Comments

petonic1 (author)2015-01-23

OK, I did it tonight in about an hour. Part of it is that I'm mechanically challenged and so everything takes about 3 times as long as it should. But it worked like a champ, and is wife-approved! Works like a champ. Thanks for taking the time to do the writeup. While your model is not exact, and mine is a little more tricky to take apart, the principles and the inspiration helped me do it.

JamesRPatrick (author)petonic12015-01-24

Awesome! I'm glad I could help!

ITGeekMonkeys (author)2016-02-15

This instructable gave me the general steps to replace the broken element on my 15+ year old FS Pro II, which was quite simple however, the new element fails to heat up which obviously shows that there is something else wrong. The original element was broken and I thought the unit would work just fine again after replacing it with the new one from Elements and More but I'm dumb founded and I have no meter to test the continuity. Any ideas?

First thing I would do is check the electronics and see if anything is burned.

Hey JamesRPatrick

I did a close inspection of the board and connections with a magnifying glass but didn't see anything off. No smells either.

Does the vacuum turn on?

Yep, everything but the heating element is working as it should.

Beats me.

rolan (author)2015-07-29

Did your light come on in use when the heating element was broken? My element does not heat and the light does not come on at all. The heat element has a resistance of approx 3 ohms. I disconnected one of the element wires and put a voltmeter between it. With the button pressed and suction, I'm seeing 3 volts AC. I'm wondering if the sensor board is broken and if so not possibly worth replacing the heat element.

JamesRPatrick (author)rolan2015-07-29

I did not check for the light when it was broken. You should inspect the board for any shorts or evidence of burning.

rolan (author)JamesRPatrick2015-07-30

It turned out to be the vacuum switch. There was evidence of "old" food juice in the tubes. I assume it made it's way to the switch and clogged it. While running the unit, I shorted out the vacuum switch contacts with a pair of pliers and voila! Heating strip warmed up underneath. Now to decide whether to replace the sensor or install a switch on the side of the unit overriding the sensor... decisions decisions.

JamesRPatrick (author)rolan2015-08-18

Let me know how it goes!

rolan (author)JamesRPatrick2015-08-18

I drilled a hole and mounted a button to the side. Sealing a bag is basically a two step process now. Push down on the cover to start the vacuum, wait until it looks like we have a good vacuum'd bag, depress the side button and wait about 5 seconds until it's done. Probably works better than before as I can imagine the sensor sometimes inaccurately tripping and sealing with an air pocket at the far side of the bag.

rolan made it! (author)rolan2015-11-09

Someone messaged asking for pictures of the vacuum button mod. The wiring is crudely photoshopped into the photo,but it should get the message across. I didn't have any
spare buttons handy so I desoldered one off a scrap VCR front panel.

JamesRPatrick (author)rolan2015-11-09

Good stuff!

maria.r.light (author)2015-08-17

I will be replacing this as well as the bottom rubber seal. Does anyone know where I can get the seal?Thanks

petonic1 (author)2014-12-30

Great. Thanks for the inspiration and the detailed instructions. It's offensive to me to throw away equipment (even affordably priced FoodSavr's) when 90% of the equipment is still good. This makes it easy. Thanks!

canida (author)2012-06-07

Nice! We're starting to see similar issues, so I've filed this Instructable for future use.

JamesRPatrick (author)canida2012-06-08

Post a picture if you end up doing it!

About This Instructable

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Bio: Currently pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering. contact: jamesrpatrick(at)yahoo.com
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