How to Maintain and Optimize Vacuum Truck Performance

Vacuum trucks are machines used to collect, hull away, and break up debris or soil. They often come with pressurized water hose attachments. Basically, their designs include vacuum hoses connected to large collection tanks, which work simultaneously to break debris and remove them from work areas. The vacuum sucks materials into the tank under pressure to facilitate the execution of jobs such as roadway clearing.

There are various types and models of vacuum trucks, so when deciding which to buy, you need to understand their specifications. They come with different suction strengths, hose lenses, and tank sizes. Some are even designed specifically for collecting non-hazardous debris, while others are suitable for transporting hazardous materials. It’s best to choose a truck based on your job needs. Although there are various types in the market, most vacuum trucks can be classified as hydro excavators or dry vacuum trucks.

Hydro excavators tackle debris using strong streams of water and carry them away through the vacuum component. Many vacuum trucks use this technique and are applied in various industries. For instance, they are used to flush and clean sewers for public health reasons. Trucks with water recycling systems also contain separate clean water tanks to be used for final rinsing after excavation. And many are designed with water recycling systems to make sewage cleaning more environmentally friendly and efficient.

On the other hand, dry vacuum trucks do not use pressurized water streams to break up debris. Instead, the vacuum components collect small rocks, leaves, and other forms of debris. They are used mainly in street cleaning operations to get rid of dirt in places where waste accumulates typically, such as roadside curbs and ditches. 

Besides purchasing a vacuum truck that suits your needs, you must have the proper tools and accessories to make them perform optimally, saving you a considerable amount of resources, labor, and time. You must also know how to maintain your equipment properly.


Inspect the Vacuum Pump

The pumps of your vacuum truck need the right conditions to operate maximally. Otherwise, they could break down and cause a gridlock in your operations. Inspect the airflow around the pump frequently for any changes. If there are contaminants in the area, such as solvents, vapors, or acid, it could be a concern that can impact your pump’s performance and integrity. Inspect the pump with a sight glass for leakages. If your equipment has any of these problems or if you notice a drop in performance or hear unusual sounds coming from the unit, you may need to obtain pumper supplies for servicing. 

Furthermore, you need to do regular filter and oil changes. Dry pumps typically require yearly oil changes in the gearboxes. However, you might need to do this twice a year for heavy usage. Oil-sealed pumps may require filter and oil changes monthly, depending on their application and usage frequency. If in doubt about the timing of filter and oil changes in your unit, parts to use, or the process involved, refer to the owner’s manual for your equipment. When changing your filters, remove the drain plug and evacuate all fluid from the reserve and the tank. After draining the old fluid, refill with a fresh one and replace the plug. You can start up the truck briefly to check all your hydraulic systems and put the cylinders in the retracted position.


Install a Sewer Line Camera

Nozzle cameras can help you assess your pipe’s condition and locate collapses, infiltration, or offsets in it. You can document the state of your pipe before and after usage to ensure it is absolutely free of obstructions.

There are various types of cameras available. You can use a pole-mounted camera to quickly access the sewer lines from adjoining manholes to determine if there’s a need for further inspection, repair, or cleaning. Such cameras usually enable wireless control using WIFI to allow video sharing on multiple devices in real-time. Nozzle camera systems allow operators to record storm lines and sewers during cleaning.


Inspect the Electrical System and Body Hoist

One preventive maintenance for vacuum trucks that can pay big dividends is electrical system inspection. Check your electrical system on a monthly basis and look for damaged, frayed, or loose wires to ensure it’s in good condition. You wouldn’t want problems to pop up in the middle of a project simply because of damaged wires.

Also, inspect the upper and lower ends of your cylinders, frame, shaft pump, and valve. Check your hose lines for damages and ensure the hose ends are tight. Look at the pins of the cylinder packing for possible holes or long-term wear at the mounting bolts to identify any loose connections.