Ever go to the fridge and spot that Tupperware container in the back corner of the second shelf. What is it? Is it any good? Do I dare open it? OK, if you are already getting squeamish, STOP. Find another blog.
I don’t think bread should have green spots, should it? Ever smell bad potato salad? I would have sworn I just bought that freshly sliced deli roast beef… shouldn’t feel slimy. How fast can mushrooms turn bad? Fast!
I’m old school as most of you know. At our house, we can feed an Army at any time because of full cabinets, freezer, and fridge. Other than a bowl of cereal, I don’t think any of my grown children have enough food in the house at any given time to have a good snack – except for the apples, bananas, and grapes – all that healthy stuff. They go to the market when they are ready to cook, get what they need, cook it, eat it, and dispose of it. No leftovers. No storage. Not much need for plastic containers that burp when you put the lid on.
So what’s the point? Is that how you manage your seal consumption too? Buy what you need when you need it? Use it… ship it. No leftovers?
Or, do you have Tupperware containers in the fridge? …boxes, and bags full of o-rings. Some opened. Some unopened. Is it climate controlled? Not climate controlled? Are they still good? How do you know? Here’s the deal, not all o-rings are created equal. Not all shelf lives are the same. AND, if not properly stored, who knows what effect their environment has had on their performance.
Here are a few rules to live by:
Store in sealed bags, preferably in boxes, and out of sunlight. Ozone can be bad on many elastomers.
Keep in controlled temperatures between 60 and 100 degrees. Too cold, they get hard and can deform. Usually come back when warmed, though. Too hot? Too bad. Overheated elastomers don’t usually recover.
Manage your o-rings batch and lot dates. The SAE has issued the current standard for a shelf life of o-ring elastomers – ARP 5316. For a complete listing you can check out our website.
Keep in mind, again, not all o-rings are created equal. Good manufacturers have recommendations for their compounds based on the recipes that go into those compounds. SAE’s ARP 5316 is a generic standard.
Here’s what I have found from four different suppliers when it comes to shelf life… DO NOT FOLLOW THESE GUIDELINES!
- EPDM: from 10 years to unlimited
- NBR: 5 years to 15 years
- FKM: 15 years to unlimited
That much variance, really? Know the shelf life of the material you are using. These variances are because of what is really in some of those seals.
Don’t rely on that container in the back of the fridge to be good. Store parts properly and know your shelf life.