Winterization is Key to Extending the Life of Your Hydrovac

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Winterization is Key to Extending the Life of Your Hydrovac

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Improper winterization can ruin your equipment’s water system leading, to burst water lines, cracked water tanks and damaged water pumps. Even a small amount of moisture can prove to be destructive to water lines and systems. Repairing the damage done by ice cannot only prove to be costly in parts and labor, but machine downtime cuts into productivity, which can often be an even larger cost. Proper maintenance of your machinery can prevent this, through a process called winterization. Blowing down the water lines on your hydroexcavation equipment means better productivity in cold-weather applications and ensures the safety of your equipment.

Winterization 101

Winterization is the process of removing water from all parts of the jetting system to avoid freezing while the equipment is not in use. Most hydrovac machines come equipped with one of two winterization methods: an air purge system or an antifreeze system. An air purge system uses compressed air to push water and moisture out of the system, preventing potential ice buildup in the water pump, lines and hoses. Most combo trucks or hydroexcavators utilize existing onboard air compressors, while a hydrojetter may have a fitting which allows an air compressor to be connected to the jetting system.

Antifreeze systems are generally considered more efficient for winterization than air purge valves, but having an air purge system is better than having nothing at all.

Antifreeze winterization systems pump liquid antifreeze through the water system, clearing out all water, as well as leaving behind a coating to even further protect against freezing. Many manufacturers offer this as an option, but the climate and conditions you work in during the winter months would indicate whether this method of winterization is right for you.

It is important to note that not all antifreeze is created equal; jetting systems require the use of RV (or “pink”) antifreeze as opposed to the green or blue antifreeze commonly used in cars and trucks. RV antifreeze is far safer to use with jetting systems, as its chemical composition will not damage the system’s internal components. Commonly, the appropriate ratio of water-to-antifreeze is 50/50, which will generally protect your machine up to 50 degrees below zero. If you are recirculating antifreeze through the system, you should keep the engine revolution and water pump pressure on the lowest setting possible to prevent damaging your equipment.

When should I winterize?

Winterizing is vital when working in freezing conditions to maintain productivity and keep your equipment safe. It’s recommended to winterize between job sites if you have to drive further than 10 minutes.

Any time weather conditions come close to freezing, it is recommended to winterize your hydrovac machine if it is not going to be in immediate use. Generally speaking, this means every time you put the machine away you need to blow down the water system. Whether you are parking your hydroexcavator for the night or for the winter season, you should always winterize. Operators working in freezing climates even winterize between jobs via an air purge valve or recirculating antifreeze through the system while driving to the next job site. An additional feature that aids against water system freezing is enclosing all system components within a heated shroud, which is standard equipment on all RAMVAC vacuum machines. A heated enclosure is recommended for contractors or municipalities who experience multiple months of freezing temperatures.

Which method of winterization is right for me?

The answer to this question largely depends on your climate, the capabilities of your machine, your budget and personal preference. If you live in a region that rarely sees temperatures drop below 32 degrees or your equipment does not work in freezing temperatures, an air purge system may be all you need. Most contractors prefer to have an antifreeze recirculation system due to its higher efficiency and reliability, providing not only water removal but also a protective coating to the entire water system against freezing. 

To learn more about the winterization and other great features available on RAMVAC hydroexcavation trucks, visit RAMVAC by Sewer Equipment. You can find rental and used inventory at Rock Rental.


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