Air Vacuum and Hydro-Vacuum Excavation: A Comparison

Vacuum excavation allows you to expose buried utilities without causing any damage resulting from heavy machinery or conventional hand tools. However, there are options for the type of power used for the vacuum that directly impacts the job at hand. Air vacuum excavation and hydro vacuum excavation offer two viable methods of dealing with water pipes and sewer lines — but which option works best for your next project? Let’s discuss:

Air Vacuum Excavation

Air vacuum excavation involves utilizing compressed air shooting into the soil to disturb the area around the underground lines you are currently servicing. The disrupted earth gets transferred via a vacuum into a separate debris tank. Air excavation is used to safely expose underground utilities and enable you to refill the area once the job is completed. The compressed air represents a safer and more efficient alternative to hand digging. A downside to using an air-powered vacuum comes during the initial digging process. Compressed air moves the soil at a slower rate than a hydro vacuum excavator. 

Hydro Vacuum Excavation

Hydro vacuum excavation involves using high-pressure water and a high-speed vacuum to quickly and safely move soil so you can access underground utilities. Let’s take a look at some advantages:

The speed that hydro-vacuums provide work crews is the most efficient option for vacuum excavations. The water quickly loosens the soil as it begins digging the hole, with the vacuum taking the wet loose soil and depositing it into a tank. 

In contrast to traditional methods of excavation, hydro vacuum excavations are less invasive. They offer a degree of precision that other techniques lack, which gives you more control over the cleanup of the site when the job is done. Hydro vacuum excavation is ideal for situations involving plumbing, sewer pipes, and unknown water lines. 

When it comes to the debate between air vacuum excavation and hydro vacuum excavation, the details help inform your decision. If you are working near underground electrical lines, go with the air vacuum. For jobs that require speed, precision, and dealing with plumbing-based problems, hydro-vacuum excavation is your best bet.

For more information regarding hydro vacuum excavation or our other services, contact our team today!