What is hydro jetting?
Hydro jetting uses highly pressurized water (up to 4000 PSI) to break up and remove grease, sludge, and even tree roots from sewer drainage pipes. Water this pressurized can clear away just about any obstruction. Think of hydro jetting as pressure washing for the inside of your pipes, only more powerful.
The hydro jetting system consists of a hose, nozzle, and a machine that creates the water pressure. Oh, and the water. Hydro jetting doesn’t use any chemicals, just a lot of water.
Prior to hydro jetting your sewer repair contractor will do a CCTV video inspection to make sure your pipe is in good condition. This is because water under high pressure can damage or even break frail, older pipes. The contractor will also want to make sure your drainage pipe isn’t collapsed instead of clogged. If it is, no amount of hydro jetting will fix it. The pipe will need to be replaced instead.
The contractor accesses the pipe via something called a ‘cleanout’. This is a section of pipe with a cap on it that provides easy access to your drainage system. The nozzle and hose are inserted into the pipe via the cleanout and whenever the nozzle encounters an obstruction, the jetting system shoots pressurized water at it until it breaks up and washes away.
An experienced hydro jetting contractor will know the precise amount of water pressure necessary to break up and dislodge obstructions without damaging the pipe. This is why hydro jetting is not a DIY project. Only experienced contractors should hydro jet your pipes.
Hydro jetting pros and cons
Hydro jetting pros
Hydro jetting unclogs everything
There really isn’t any obstruction that hydro jetting can’t handle. It easily pushes through and washes away the most stubborn blockages.
Hydro jetting does more than just poke holes in the sludge
There’s nothing wrong with using a plumbing snake on a clogged drain. It’s a tried and true method of breaking up obstructions. However, a plumbing snake can only poke holes in obstructions, enough to get the wastewater flowing again. They can’t clean the inside of your pipes the way hydro jetting can. Hydro jetting removes everything. Afterwards, your pipes are as squeaky clean as wastewater pipes can be.
Hydro-jetting is non-invasive
Hydro jetting is a non-invasive procedure. No digging is required to get at the clogged pipe. Access is easily obtained via the cleanout.
Hydro jetting is safe
Hydro jetting removes blockages and gets your wastewater pipes squeaky clean using nothing more than highly pressurized water. No chemicals necessary. No chemicals used.
Hydro jetting is environmentally friendly
Because it’s just pressurized water, hydro jetting is a green technology that doesn’t harm the environment.
Hydro jetting can break up smaller tree roots
Tree roots are one of the main causes of broken sewer pipes. They make their way inside and if they aren’t removed while they’re still small, they will continue to grow and eventually destroy the pipe. Hydro jetting easily breaks up small tree roots before they have a chance to do serious damage.
Hydro jetting Cons
When it comes to easily breaking up and clearing away obstructions, nothing beats hydro jetting. However, there are still a few drawbacks to consider.
Hydro jetting can damage frail, older pipes
Unfortunately, sewer pipes don’t last forever and the older they get the more susceptible they are to cracks and breaks. This means that pipes of a certain age and condition should not be hydro jetted because pressurized water at 4000 PSI could seriously damage them. If that happens, you’ll have an even bigger problem.
The only way to know if a pipe shouldn’t be hydro jetted is to do a CCTV video inspection first.
Unlike snaking, hydro jetting is not a DIY project
Sorry, this is one plumbing job you can’t do yourself. Only experienced hydro jetting professionals have the equipment and training necessary to hydro jet your pipes without damaging them.
All professional sewer repair contractors will conduct a CCTV video inspection prior to hydro jetting. They do this for a couple of reasons. First, they need to make sure the pipe is clogged rather than collapsed. Second, they need to make sure the pipe is in good condition and strong enough to handle the highly pressurized water. Never hire a plumber who doesn’t perform a video inspection prior to hydro jetting.
Hydro jetting uses a lot of water
Earlier we said that hydro jetting is a green technology and that’s certainly true. It doesn’t use harsh chemicals, just water. The problem is it uses a lot of water. That means it’s probably not going to be the best solution for removing obstructions during a drought.
When should you use hydro jetting?
A plunger is usually the first thing you should reach for when you have a clogged drain. If that doesn’t work, give snaking a try. It’s usually very effective at removing occasional obstructions caused by things like food and toilet paper. If that doesn’t work, call a professional and have them come out, perform a CCTV video inspection, and then hydro jet the line. Hydro jetting works very well on stubborn blockages that don’t respond to other methods.
However, you might want to consider…
Hydro jetting your sewer line on a regular basis
Some property owners hydro jet their sewer lines as part of a scheduled maintenance program. This is because while some old pipes out there have never been jetted and are still functioning, others might need it yearly or every other year.
It all comes down to the amount of buildup, fats, oils, grease, tree roots, cracks, etc.
Kitchen lines and drains from restaurants typically need the most maintenance. If you use a garbage disposal or rinse out a lot of very greasy pans in your sink you might need to hydro jet your line one or more times per year.
Of course, if you follow best practices for daily sewer maintenance you might never experience a major sewer blockage. This includes things like not dumping fats, oils, and grease down your drain and always tossing “flushable wipes” – or anything other than toilet paper – into the wastebasket. Anything that’s too heavy to float down your sewer pipes properly will often get snagged and cause a blockage.
We’re Sewer Pros, a licensed and insured sewer repair and replacement contractor performing hydro jetting for customers in both Los Angeles and Orange County. Give us a call 24/7/365 at (800) 481-3707 and find out how we can save you both time and money!