Don’t Let Your Hose and Nozzle Leave You Reeling

Hoses, Nozzles and ReelsA jetter hose with 35-80 gallons of water pushing through it each minute can look like an out of control snake. Like a snake, it can come back to bite you if you don’t use proper safety procedures.

Out of all of the things that can be written regarding hoses, nozzles, and reels, safety is the most important. Accidents don’t happen often, but when they do, they are life-altering to the victims.

Take this case of a young public works employee who died when he was struck in the head by the nozzle of a jetter hose. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE), the young man’s coworker radioed the victim to say that he heard the nozzle approaching his end of the line. So, the victim started reeling in the nozzle back to the truck. His co-worker heard the truck idle down and could tell that the young man had turned off the water.

However, the young man, who had completed hundreds of jobs and was well-trained, “removed the hose from the tiger tail assembly and put the hose back into the manhole and turned on the water pressure, possibly to clean out some debris.”

After hearing screaming, the co-worker arrived back to the truck to find the victim laying on the ground with massive head injuries. According to the report, “when the co-worker turned the water and pump off, he did not note the setting, but remembered that it sounded like the usual operating level of noise. The water was therefore at 1100-1200 psi immediately at the nozzle.”

Unfortunately, his story is not the only one of death or dismemberment. No matter which hose, nozzle or reel you choose from, remember to follow proper safety procedures.

There are lots of options available for vacuum hoses, jetting hoses, nozzles, and reels. When shopping for a new product, it’s important to keep in mind what your needs are since there are a wide variety of options available. Personal preference, need, and money will determine what you get.


When looking for a secondary or utility reel, you should identify your needs and what is available. There are reels for almost every need: sewer, septic, and portable toilet cleaning; high-pressure washdown; vacuum/suction; video pipeline and sewer inspection; jetting; and water blasting. There are options for grounding to reduce static electricity build-up; manual, spring, or power rewind; heavy-duty, high-pressure reels for jetting; and much, much more.

There are many advantages to using a reel. Using a reel reduces wear and tear on hoses and increases your productivity by not having tangled hoses. It also reduces tripping accidents and lost work time.

Reelcraft offers many reel options from the new Series CT hose reels for high pressure wash hose to custom jetter reels designed to various specifications including turn-key solutions. The reels feature a balanced brass swivel and brake assembly attached to the main shaft to eliminate de-spooling when the reel is not in use. Steel components are individually powder coated to virtually eliminate corrosion.

Reelcraft’s reels also have multi-position guide arms for versatile mounting and reinforced steel stampings for increased strength. Swivel and hose inlet connections seal against leaks.

Vactor Manufacturing has a telescoping 180-degree rotating boom and 270-degree rotating hose reel for increased efficiency. The hose reel can rotate to any angle to track the boom coverage area.

Vac-Con also offers an articulating hose reel that allows you to work in a 180-degree arc. The reel can extend beyond the width of the vehicle for position over manholes, catch basins or other areas.


Tigerflex has a new, abrasion resistant, polyurethane lined suction hose called the Amphibian, specially designed for both wet or dry applications. “On most sewer trucks the hoses wear out fastest in the bends, where all the material hits. The Amphibian is specially designed to resist this type of wear better than similar rubber hoses, leading to less down time and lower operating costs,” says Timothy O’Neill, Tigerflex product specialist. It has a special cover to help prevent static electricity build-up and “cold-flex” materials that allow the hose to stay flexible in sub-zero temperatures.

Jetter hoses can be found in a wide variety of colors, lengths, and psi in a number of temperature ranges and diameters. At Piranha, orange covers are for 2,500 psi; blue covers are 3,000 psi; green covers are 4,000 psi; black covers are 4,000 psi high burst; and red covers are for 5,000 psi. Stock lengths are available in 400, 500, and 600 foot rolls, and custom lengths are available.

Parker Industries recommends that hoses should be routed so that they are not kinked, stretched, or compressed to assure maximum service life and safety.

Whichever hose you choose, inspecting and caring for it properly will prolong the life of your hose and ensure the safety of your crew. Remember to keep the hose wound on a reel to reduce the wear and tear, to maintain a good operation, and to run your business safely, productively, and profitably.


NozzTeq has added the BL Swiper, which combines the cleaning efforts of the water flow from the high pressure pump as well as the jet streams produced by the BL Swiper. The jet streams create thrust through a number of channels. BL Swiper comes in two sizes: 4 stream and 6 stream. In performance tests, the larger 6 water jet BL Swiper was used with an idle speed of 1,250 psi to clean a 64″ pipe. When cleaning the pipe, the flow in the nozzle was approximately 65 gpm and the pressure at the truck was 1,600 psi.

NozzTeq will go onsite to test the nozzles and make sure they work properly. Scott Paquet, president and CEO of NozzTeq teaches proper procedures. “You should always use a hose protector, such as a tiger tail and a leader hose,” says Paquet. “The leader hose of a different color is so that you know the difference between the hoses. You don’t want it to come back and hit you. Also wear a hard hat and other safety gear.”

Paquet recommends you test the nozzle to ensure that its jetted correctly. You need to make sure that you tighten them properly. Make sure the ends aren’t rusted and the hose isn’t braided or torn. You also want to check the nozzles to see if they are worn out because they could blow apart.


“The hose can be a great tripper, so watch out when you are walking around it,” says Paquet. “Also make sure that you clear a path for the hose so that it doesn’t snag on something and break or tear if you have a power rewind. You’ll want to have proper gearing so that it doesn’t rewind too fast. The added feature of an auxiliary rewind is that there is less wear and tear on the hose compared to the breakage you get when you weave it back and forth on the truck.”

“Wrapping it with duct tape will not prevent it from bursting,” says Tripp Amick, owner of A&H Equipment. “I’ve heard of guys trying to prolong the life of their hose that way and it’s just not a good idea. You need to inspect the hose for any deep cuts.”

“It’s important to replace fittings with the proper replacements,” says Amick. “So, if you have a Piranha, then they will have the proper fitting for it. If you have Aero-Quip, then go to Aero-Quip. Don’t mix and match, because it may not get as good of a fit.”

“Most people know what they are supposed to do,” says Amick. “But, it’s like trying to mow on the side of the hill, people start getting tired and just want to get it done so they cut corners. If you don’t use safety when mowing, then you can cut your toes off, and a jetter can be the same way.”

For more information on increasing or reducing spring tension on reels: or

Story by Jennifer Taylor


For more information:
Reelcraft, visit
Tigerflex or Piranha, visit
NozzTeq, visit
Vactor, visit
Vac-Con, visit

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