Air Vs. Hydro Excavations: Things to Know


Vacuum excavation is a successful, less invasive excavation method with numerous uses. It’s a powerful instrument for digging, excavating, and identifying utilities in building projects. Contractors and employees, on the other hand, keep debating whether hydro or air vacuum digging is preferable.

Both processes include breaking up ground and soil filled with water or air jets. These are subsequently drawn up and clear the area. The fundamental advantage of vacuum digging is that it uses pressured air or water instead of metal equipment to dig. Making it far safer for employees, buried utility lines, and the site’s integrity. The risk of on-the-job damage or injury to subsurface services and the job site is significantly decreased.

The only non-destructive option to dig round underground electrical, fiber optics, and fuel tanks is to use vacuum excavating.

However, there are a few key factors to consider when deciding whether to use hydro excavations or air digging for certain work. There are a few crucial considerations to consider when deciding whether the approach will excavate faster or accomplish the project more cost-effectively.

Air Or Hydro-Vacuum Excavation: Which Would Be Better?

Everybody in the industry appears to have strong feelings about this issue. They each have their own reasons for preferring air or hydraulic vacuum excavation methods. However, there is no definitive answer as to which is superior. It relies on a variety of elements, including the sort of job, working environment, and goals, as well as some site-specific details.

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On construction sites, protection is always the top priority. Air vacuum excavations are recommended when a job requires digging close to electrical wires. This is due to the fact that air, unlike water, is not a carrier. Workers can move away from the soil from subterranean electrical cables or other sensitive utilities with regular suction excavation without getting into close touch with them.

In regions where water could trigger a chemical process with the materials, air excavation must be used.


Hydro excavation is preferred by many contractors and laborers because it can move more debris faster. While this is frequently true during the excavation phase of the project. It is not always the case when it comes to site refilling. Hydro isn’t the greatest solution if the project necessitates exposing a utility line, mending it, and then reseeding the materials in a short length of time.

Although air excavation takes longer to remove the debris, it could save time in the long run. It’s crucial to factor in the resources and time required to carry and deposit heavy, muddy dirt. As well as the resources and time required to backfill with new soil.

Conditions Of the Soil

Each site is unique, and soil conditions play a significant role. Vacuum digging works best with weakly compacted dirt or sand, according to our experience.

In this regard, hydropower is more adaptable. It works well to break up damp or rocky soil, and also tough and dense clay and dirt. Hydro is beneficial in colder locations or even during the winter in northeastern states. Since hot water may be used to break through hard, frozen soils and permafrost.