Using an Outdoor Vacuum

billygoat outdoor vacuumWhether you’re cleaning up a construction site or a leaf-covered lawn, an outdoor vacuum takes the work and complexity out of debris removal by letting you collect and deposit materials with a single machine. No matter where you’re working, these tips can help you get the most out of your Billy Goat vacuum.

What’s the Difference Between an Outdoor Vacuum and an Indoor Vacuum?

The vacuum you use at home has a height-adjustable nozzle, a motorized brush that lifts up carpet, a motor with a fan that creates suction, and either a cyclonic system that uses centrifugal force to separate out dirt or a bag that lets air pass through it while keeping dirt inside.

An outdoor vacuum has a lot of mechanical similarities to an indoor vacuum, but it’s built to pick up heavy debris instead of fine dirt. Instead of a fan, it uses an impeller that can withstand impacts and can chop up debris for more compact storage. There’s no brush, and the nozzle is built to withstand heavy abrasion. There’s always a bag to store debris, even if the vacuum uses cyclonic filtration, and that bag is reusable.

What’s the Difference Between Hard Surface and Lawn Vacs?

Billy Goat makes vacuums designed for lawns, hard surfaces like driveways, and both hard and soft terrain. The difference between these two main types of vacs influences the design. Casters are more common on surface vacs since they need to maneuvered around walls, while lawn vacs use fixed wheels to stay on track when rolling long distances. Lawn vacs have a higher nozzle height to stay above the grass, while surface vacs are built to withstand occasional abrasion against cement. Multipurpose vacs split the difference, offering more flexibility with the nozzle so it can be effective anywhere.

What Your Vacuum Can and Can’t Pick Up

Your vacuum will have a maximum debris size it can handle, which should be clearly stated in the instructions. However, there are a few more considerations you should make when vacuuming.

A litter vacuum can handle cans, metal, glass and other trash, but only in small amounts since they can be hard on the impeller. Likewise, while you can pick up some sand with an outdoor vacuum, its abrasiveness can cause serious wear. Never use a vacuum on gravel: the rocks can cause major damage and can become wedged between the impeller and the housing.

Before vacuuming, you should look over the area and pick up any objects that are too large for the vacuum, including bottle and limbs. Some Billy Goat models have a built-in wood chipper to take care of limbs as you work.

The cutting and compaction done by the impeller works best on dry materials. If you vacuum wet leaves and clippings, you’ll fill up the bag far more frequently.

Using and Cleaning the Bag

All the air that enters the nozzle eventually makes its way out of the vacuum through small pores in the surface of the collection bag. Over time, these pores clog with dirt, limiting the movement of air and the suction power of the vacuum. How long this takes can vary a lot depending on how dusty your work area is. If you notice a drop in performance, wash the bag and let it dry before using it again. If you frequently work in places with dust or sandy soil, it’s a good idea to have an extra bag on hand so you can have one ready to use while the other one is being cleaned. Still having air flow problems after cleaning a bag? The pores can be flushed out using a pressure washer.

Overfilling the bag can also keep air from getting out. As a general rule, the bag should be unloaded once it’s about 3/4 full.

Engine Maintenance

With all the dust flying around when the vacuum is operating, it should be no surprise that air filters get dirty faster on these machines than just about any other type of small engine equipment. Always inspect the filter before each use and clean it frequently. Likewise, oil should be changed more often to deal with contaminants that make it through the air filter.

Getting Parts to Maintain Your Billy Goat Vacuum

Whether you need an extra bag or some engine parts, you can get it from We’re a certified dealer for Billy Goat as well as the manufacturers of the engines used in their equipment so we can provide you with everything you need to maintain your vacuum. Our site makes it simple to find parts by integrating factory diagrams and descriptions so you can see exactly what you’re ordering. We ship to both the U.S. and Canada.

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