Hydro excavation is the process of excavating soil using pressurized water and a vacuum system, leaving behind a smooth-sided hole or trench. This method of extraction uses a hydrovac truck that excavates and moves tons of soil, debris, or mud.
Benefits of Hydro Excavation
Hydro excavation is a more cost-effective method of excavation compared to traditional digging methods. It causes less disturbance at the excavation site and has a lower risk of damaging hidden pipes or electrical lines underground. This excavation process is also much safer for workers because it does not require any worker to be in or around the excavation site as traditional digging does during the excavation process.
Hydro-vac service is used to reach underground utilities, install pipelines and cables, move pipes and sewers, and install electrical poles. Hydrovac trucks are also used to remove debris, excavate in colder weather, and excavate in tight spaces. They are versatile and durable when properly maintained.
Maintaining your Hydrovac Truck
Hydrovac trucks should be maintained regularly just as you would maintain your car. There are essential maintenance steps to be taken daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly to ensure your truck is working properly at all times.
At the end of each day, you should shut down your sewer truck. This does not mean just turn off the engine. Go through the proper shut-down process to get your truck ready for the next day. Besides shutting down your truck, open all your drain valves to let all the water drain out. There should not be any water left in your truck at the end of the day. This is especially important during winter months when any water left in the truck could freeze and cause more damage.
On a weekly basis, you should check your fluid levels to make sure none are low. If any fluids do read as low, fill them up as soon as possible. After filling them up, if they still read as low, that could be a sign of a leak and should be taken care of immediately. Additionally, check your air breather component to ensure proper function.
Every week you should also clean the debris body using a water handgun to spray from back to front on both sides. If you can, clean out the sludge pump every other week. Once the truck has been sprayed, let it run for ten minutes while it dries.
Every month your air and water separator cyclone needs to be checked. Remove any debris in the air access area. Clean the screens and coat the edges with a light layer of grease. Tighten the ball joint connectors as well to increase blower efficiency.
The electrical system needs to be checked as well. Look for loose, frayed, or damaged wires. Fix any wires that need to be replaced to prevent larger problems from surprising you down the line.
Inspect all parts of the body hoist for any signs of wear or damage. The intake hose should also be inspected. As these hoses are made from rubber and fabric, check them monthly to make sure they are functioning properly.
The hydraulic system needs to be checked monthly as well. If you notice any problems
with the hydraulic system, get it serviced immediately. Make sure nothing has contaminated the hydraulic fluid either.
Change your hydraulic filters at least once a year. Ensure that the correct oil is used. Additionally, while changing the hydraulic filters, flush the hydraulic system.
Some maintenance does not need to be done weekly, monthly, or yearly. It may depend on the job you are doing. For example, blower oil levels should be changed before each new job as it will depend on the amount of hours your truck is in use. It is recommended that the blower oil should be changed every 800 hours when using mineral oil and evey 1,600 hours when using synthetic oil.
Identifying Problems in your Hydrovac Truck
Even after properly maintaining your hydrovac truck each day, week, month, and year, things can still go wrong and you might not be able to catch them in time. If you are unsure when to replace your air filter bags, try running a restriction test.
A restriction test can be done by running the machine to pull air in without vacuuming any material. Check the reading on your gauge to determine if they need to be replaced. This does not need to be done weekly and usually depends on the amount of work and type of job you are doing.
Another rule of thumb for recognizing problems in your hydrovac truck is by watching the exhaust. If any material is coming out of the exhaust, that is a sign that your blower is being damaged and will need to be replaced.
Storing your hydrovac truck for the winter requires proper maintenance as well. It is important to thoroughly steam clean, prime, and repaint the interior of your truck. During storage you should also rotate the blower by hand every month that it is in storage to make sure that come spring, your truck is ready to go.
Cleaning your Hydrovac Truck
To clean the exterior of your truck first use a foam cannon pressure washer with a low pH level in the detergent. Next, apply a high pH detergent on top of the first detergent. Let both layers sit but don’t let them dry. After a minute, wash them off with warm water. Repeat these steps as many times as it takes to clean the truck to your satisfaction.
Maintaining your hydrovac truck on a regular basis will prevent larger, more expensive problems from popping up when you least expect them. Be prepared and diligent by following proper maintenance steps and get more life out of your hydrovac truck.