What is a Wet/Dry Vac?
Vacuums can be found in nearly every home today and are one of the most useful devices in every household, yet few of us understand how they work. In particular, the concept of the models that fall under the wet/dry category can be a bit confusing to understand.
How exactly can a vacuum suck up water in addition to dry debris, without running the risk of running into a safety hazard? After all, these vacuums are powered by electricity like their standard counterparts, so what is it about their construction that prevents this from being an issue?
Wet/dry Vacs Can Do Jobs Regular Vacuums Can’t
Otherwise known as shop-vacs, vacuums designed for dry and wet suction are understandably much more versatile than those which are only made for dry use. Not only can they suck up liquid spills safely and quickly, they often feature a much higher rate of suction force as well.
In addition, since they are designed for tougher jobs, the hoses on wet/dry vacs are more rugged and durable, thus making it easy to pick up screws, nails, glass shards, and many other items.
Now that we have discussed the difference between regular and shop style vacuums, how exactly do the wet/dry vac types operate?
A (Slightly) Different Kind of Vacuum
To keep things simple, shop vacs actually consist of three distinct parts. These are the motor and hose, collection chamber, and bucket. The motor is positioned directly over the collection chamber, and powers a fan that generates the suction needed to bring air into the housing.
The amount of speed and suction increase when the air moves through the hose; the opposite occurs once the air reaches the larger collection chamber, where dirt and debris are deposited. The final step in the suction/collection process is the removal of the air via the vacuum’s upper area.
Due to the fact that none of the incoming materials come into contact with any of the vacuum’s components (other than the hose and chamber), there are no safety hazards when sucking up wet debris. The motor is kept wholly separate for this reason.
However, since the power cord is left exposed, shop vac owners should always remember to plug the device into a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). In the event of a ground fault, all power will be instantly cut off as a failsafe.