Everything You Need to Know on Vacuum Trailers

Vacuum trailers are ideal for sites that can’t cater to a large hydro vac truck. These powerful machines are suitable for both non-destructive digging and drain cleaning.

They target a particular market like fiber optics, HDD, and municipalities for those that don’t have the budget for a larger hydro or combination vac. They come in various configurations, including dumping and non-dumping, code, and non-code operating models.

The vacuum trailer is designed to be pulled by virtually any tractor equipped with a drawbar hitch attachment. 

Before operating, survey the area to determine which direction is best to travel. Avoid backing up on a slope; it may cause bodily injury.


The pump is the heart of any vacuum trailer. It uses pressurized water to turn soil and debris into a slurry that can be sucked up. This process avoids damage to utility lines or tree roots while delivering the same benefits as traditional digging tools.

Depending on the type of work you’re doing, it may be best to keep the pump mounted on the truck so that it can use its engine for power. This is more efficient than relying on the trailer’s motor.

Vacuum trailers are typically smaller than machines mounted on trucks, making them more manageable when maneuvering in confined areas. For this reason, they’re perfect for jobs where a large truck isn’t appropriate. 

Sight Eyes

vac trailer needs air to function correctly, but if liquid gets into the sight eyes, it will impact how well it can suck up its load. Fortunately, you can check the load level without touching the pump by looking at the sight eye bowls.

Designed for septic vacuum trucks and portable sanitation contractors, the replacement tank sight glass assembly is shatterproof. The clear bowl is molded from polycarbonate plastic that is 200 times more impact-resistant than glass and can resist the effects of temperature and pressure fluctuations.

Secondary Shutoff

Vacuum trailers work differently from excavators, converting soil and debris into a slurry. This method allows for non-destructive digging and drain cleaning, eliminating the risk of damaging infrastructure or the environment. Air is the only thing that should go through the vacuum pump, and a secondary shut-off trap removes any liquid in the air stream after passing through the primary trap. 

Checking the Load

While a trailer-mounted vacuum excavation unit has the same power and capabilities as its truck-mounted counterparts, it is designed for smaller jobs. 

Like any other machinery, a vac trailer needs regular maintenance to keep it running smoothly. For starters, it’s essential to check the oil levels regularly and remove any clogs from the water/air tools on the unit. Additionally, grease points should be tended to at the end of each day. This prevents caking and increases longevity.


Regarding safety, it’s essential for anyone who operates or even near a vac trailer to read and understand all the recommendations and instructions provided in the manual. They should also be conversant with local, state, and federal regulations regarding handling waste materials. Operators must also take the time to inspect their equipment to ensure everything is working correctly. This includes ensuring all safety decals are clear and readable.


Vac trailers offer the same vacuum power as truck-mounted combination machines but are more portable and maneuverable.

Like any machinery, a vac trailer requires regular maintenance to run smoothly and efficiently. This starts with a pre-job inspection that includes checking tire pressure and any visible signs of damage or wear.

It’s also essential to clean air filters regularly. When dirt and debris accumulate in the filters, it can impact performance. Vac operators should regularly wash the tanks and hoses and clear clogged nozzles. Greasing the machine’s various grease points is a great idea, as well, and should be done after each use. It’s an easy way to avoid any costly downtime.