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Digging 101

Digging 101

Digging with a backhoe or auger attachment is one of the most popular ways to excavate a backyard or other large space.  The good news is digging with heavy construction equipment does not require special training or experience. This is a project you can do yourself without having to be a construction expert on operating a backhoe to dig large holes.  If you have ever operated a skid steer before, then you are already more than halfway there. All you have to do is hook up an auger attachment and you can quickly tackle your outdoor home improvement projects in no time.

Backhoes come in different sizes and its important to pick the right size for the right skid steer or compact loader. Larger spaces can accommodate medium to large backhoes or digging buckets, whereas small tighter spaces may require sub compact equipment with smaller buckets to dig with. If the backhoe or auger is not compatible with its power source, it will not function properly. Many augers are hydraulic based and if the attachment is not compatible, the hydraulics will not flow properly which can cause the attachment to not work properly and internal backpressure will be placed on the auxiliary hydraulic system. Therefore, remember to always go with the flow and ensure that your skid steer has the proper hydraulics and pressure ratings to get the job done. Make sure to also check the screw bit and teeth of the auger attachment to make sure it is capable of performing at its best. This is important to review at the rental dealer so that other arrangements can be made before signing on the dotted line.  If the screw bit or teeth of the attachment are worn or broken, there’s nothing that will allow the auger to track straight and dig properly. This will result in a decrease in performance and a hole dug improperly. When you are on site getting ready to dig the first hole, perform a test lift before beginning your project.  This will make sure the machine is adequately equipped for the task at hand. 

Be mindful as an operator to not push the backhoe or auger too hard.  Smooth operation is key, but occasionally issues will arise. Always practice safety first and avoid pushing too hard to prevent from blowing the hydraulic system or damaging the motor.  Use all safety attachments such as safety chains, seatbelts, and stabilizers to protect yourself and others while digging. Don’t forget to call your underground locating service before digging to identify the whereabouts of any buried cable lines or pipes. Digging with a backhoe or auger is almost as easy as digging with a shovel. As long as you follow instructions and adhere to safety provisions, you can successfully dig as many holes as you need for your next project.  

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