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What is Hydro Jetting?
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Blog 04/23/19

What is Hydro Jetting?

Hydro jetting is an effective method of cleaning drains and main sewer lines. A hydro jetting machine has a water storage tank and hose attachments that will blast water into the drain lines from approximately 1500 PSI for kitchen jetters and 4000 PSI for main sewer line jetters. 

A professional plumbing contractor will use specialty jetting nozzles which will vary depending on the type of clog, size of the drain, and level of buildup in the drain. Specialty nozzles can redirect the spray of the high-pressure water to cut through even the heaviest tree roots and scale buildup, fully removing it from the pipeline.  

When Do You Perform Hydro Jetting?

Typically, hydro jetting of the main sewer line or kitchen line is not the first step to clear a clogged drain line. Heavy clogs that will not clear by routine snaking, area drains overflowing in the rain, in preparation of epoxy relining, or commercial preventative maintenance are ideal problem scenarios to consider hydro jetting.

What is Hydro Jetting Used For?

Hydro jetting is used to completely eliminate scale buildup and heavy root intrusion in main sewer lines, and heavy grease and scale buildup in kitchen lines. It is especially useful in commercial applications for restaurant lines due to excessive grease. When kitchen drain pipes get frequent use and have even minimal amounts of grease poured into them on a regular basis, they can quickly become full and close off the flow of water.

Additionally, the unique plumbing method of hydro jetting will rotate the high-pressure water in the drain lines, scouring the inside of the pipe and restoring it to optimal condition.

Kitchen Hydro Jetting Process

Hydro jetting for kitchen lines is an effective method of removing heavy grease buildup in kitchen drain pipes that snakes cannot clear. Plumbing contractors or drain specialists will attempt snaking the line with a kitchen snaking machine first to determine the cause of the clog. If the kitchen snake comes back with heavy buildup or hits a hard blockage further down the line, they may recommend a hydro jetter service to remove the buildup.

Like a main sewer line jetter, a kitchen jetter uses high-pressure water, but on a smaller scale to fit the 2-inch drain line. Kitchen jetter services can restore the drain to its full diameter and clean years of grease, fat, and oil buildup leaving clear drains and restoring full flow. Jetting a kitchen line will also carry a longer warranty. Homeowners can keep their lines clear by taking care to rinse plates and pans of grease before rinsing them in the sink.

Main Sewer Lines

Common causes of main sewer line clogs include tree roots, heavy scale buildup, low spots and deteriorating or broken plumbing pipes. Hydro jetting is a great way to expel scale buildup from mineral deposits and root intrusion, but is not effective on broken drain and sewer lines.

Prior to hydro jetting a main sewer line, professional plumbing technicians will first snake the line or assess the condition with a pipeline camera inspection. Because hydro jetting uses high-pressure water, it is important to view the line and make sure it is in good condition to handle the jetting service.

Inspecting the line with a camera will also let the specialist know the extent of the blockage to determine the scope of jetting services.

When the line has breaks, low spots, or other issues not suitable for hydro jetting services, Bill Howe plumbers can provide alternative options including digging up and replacing a section of the line or the whole line, or an epoxy relining solution to avoid digging.

Epoxy Relining Solutions

When choosing an epoxy relining service as a solution, hydro jetting will typically be used to clean the line in preparation for the lining solution.

Area Drains

Area drains can be tricky since they do not get regular use in San Diego. Area drains, or landscaping drains, handle storm water runoff and can become clogged with dirt, debris, rocks, leaves and other natural elements throughout the dry seasons. If an area drain is clogged when the heavy winter rains come, often it cannot be snaked and can overflow on properties, even causing water damage in the home.  

Snaking uses electricity, so most plumbers will hydro jet the area drain because the jetting machine is gas powered.

Hydro Jetting before the rain is also a great way to perform preventative maintenance on area drains. Plumbing contractors recommend performing an annual pipeline camera inspection of the area drain to view the condition, especially for properties located in valleys or flood plains.

Commercial Property Preventative Maintenance

Many commercial properties such as strip malls, medical facilities, high rise multi-use buildings, and corporate campuses have regular hydro jetting cleaning services performed to keep the main sewer lines running clear to avoid emergency backups. A backup of the main sewer pipe in a residential setting is an inconvenience, but in a high-frequency use commercial property, it could cost a business owner and property managers money if residents or business tenants are unable to use the facilities.

Preventative maintenance packages are determined by a thorough walk-through of the property and camera inspections to determine the right frequency schedule for each individual property.

The Difference Between Snaking and Hydro Jetting

The biggest difference between snaking a drain line and hydro jetting a drain line is how effective the clearing and cleaning of the sewer line is. Snaking will break through clogs, and with specialty cutter heads, can even remove root intrusion.

A hydro jetter service, however, cleans the insides of the pipes, thus restoring the full diameter of the pipe. The special jetter nozzles are the key to accomplishing a clean and clear pipe that will eliminate even heavy scale buildup on the walls of the drain pipe.

Is Hydro Jetting Safe?

Hydro jetting, even at the highest PSI is safe for most kitchen and sewer drain lines. It is especially important that the licensed contractor performs a camera inspection prior to hydro jetting to determine the pipeline condition. If the pipe is deteriorating, has cracks or holes, or looks frail in places, hydro jetting may not be the best immediate option.

Even regular snaking can break a drain line that is in poor condition. When hiring a drain specialist, make sure to choose a licensed, insured and bonded contractor to keep your property safe and protect the integrity of the lines as much as possible.

When homeowners are experiencing heavy drain clogs in San Diego, they call the experts at Bill Howe. Call 1-800 BILL HOWE (245-5469), book a service online, or message us through live chat to learn more about hydro jetting plumbing services or to schedule an appointment today.


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Very Satisfied. Michael is always on time, Michael has been doing all of the plumbing related to our remodel. He always does exactly what he commits to do within the estimated cost. He keeps me informed if any wrinkles pop up, and his plumbing skills are excellent as we have had no problems or issues arise after he has left. Very professional! Highly recommend.

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We had other companies come out for estimates on what was considered a major job with jackhammers and replacing cast iron pipes under the house… having been stung before, we wanted another estimate just to make sure we were making an informed decision. The prior estimates went up to $21,000!
Bill Howe sent us an amazing veteran plumber, Dashawn and his co- worker Anthony. Dashawn did a thorough check of the problem, explained what he thought was needed … he did a final check and we were able to see for ourselves what was the problem. He recommended a complete cleaning to de-scale the pipes, and not the major work we dreaded. Thanks to his solid analysis and patience in making sure we saw what he saw, the issue was resolved completely, and saved us thousands of unnecessary work. None of the other estimates included the cleaning; only the major repairs. Thanks to Dashawn’s knowledge, professionalism and honesty, we’re Bill Howe customers.

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