What is Hydrojetting? A Clear Guide to High-Pressure Drain Cleaning

What is hydrojetting? It is a process involving high-pressure water jets, designed to clear pipe clogs—from kitchen sinks to main sewer lines—without chemicals or extensive digging. As a safe and efficient method employed by professionals, it serves multiple settings and applications, which we’ll explore throughout this guide.

Key Takeaways

  • Hydrojetting employs high-pressure water jets for cleaning clogs and debris in pipes, effective in various settings yet requires professional handling and is not a universal fix for all plumbing issues.

  • Despite its efficacy, hydrojetting may not be suitable for all pipe conditions, particularly older or weakened pipes, and should be complemented by regular pipe inspections to determine suitability.

  • Professional plumbers should perform hydrojetting due to the specialized knowledge and equipment needed; while the initial cost might be high, it can lead to long-term savings by preventing future plumbing issues.

Understanding Hydrojetting

High-pressure water jet in action during hydrojetting process

Hydrojetting, interchangeably known as sewer jetting, employs high-pressure water jets for clearing clogs and accumulated debris in pipe walls. This technique involves blasting water through a directional spout at the end of a long hose, forcing material blocking the pipes to flow down the sewer system and out of the property. With water pressure in hydrojetting ranging from 7,000 to 60,000 pounds per square inch (psi), it’s understandable why such a powerful procedure needs to be in the hands of professionals.

Moreover, hydrojetting doesn’t offer a universal solution. It’s versatile enough to be used in a variety of settings. Whether it’s a residential property dealing with a stubborn kitchen sink clog or a commercial establishment battling a major sewer line blockage, hydrojetting stands ready to tackle the challenge.

The Hydrojetting Process

Prior to activating the hydrojetting machine, a comprehensive process is followed:

  1. A high-resolution video camera inspection is carried out to determine the location and cause of the plumbing issue, and to ensure pipes are in good condition.

  2. With the problem identified, a jetting hose with specialized nozzles is inserted into the plumbing line.

  3. The water pressure is carefully adjusted based on the size of the pipes and the nature of the blockage.

Using forward and backward-directed water streams, the hydrojetting process effectively washes away debris, clearing clogs and restoring the plumbing system to its normal function. This is where the high pressure of the water comes into play, breaking up the most stubborn clogs and ensuring your pipes are left as clean as can be.

Benefits of Hydrojetting

Environmentally friendly cleaning illustration

In addition to its potent cleaning capabilities, hydrojetting presents a range of other advantages. Here are some of them:

  • It significantly improves the function of your plumbing system by breaking up clogs and cleaning the walls of the pipes with high-pressure water.

  • It can remove hardened grease, waste materials, or even invasive tree roots.

  • It is a highly effective method for clearing out stubborn blockages.

  • It is a non-invasive solution that does not require digging or excavation.

  • It is environmentally friendly, as it does not involve the use of harsh chemicals.

So, whether you’re dealing with a minor clog or a major blockage, hydrojetting is up to the task.

However, its merits extend beyond its remarkable cleaning capabilities. Hydrojetting is an environmentally friendly solution as it:

  • Uses only water to clean the pipes, thus avoiding the use of any harsh chemicals that could harm the environment

  • Provides short-term relief and helps in preventing future clogs, resulting in long-lasting results

  • Can be cost-effective in the long run

Hydro Jetting vs. Traditional Methods

While traditional methods like power rodding and snaking have their place in the plumbing world, advanced techniques like hydrojetting are often more effective.

Here are some reasons why hydrojetting is a superior method:

  • Traditional snaking can be limited in range and may pose a risk of damaging pipes.

  • Power rodding employs a flexible cable with a cutting head to clear clogs but may fall short in removing all debris.

  • Hydrojetting delivers a more comprehensive clean.

While hydrojetting is indeed effective, it may not always be the most appropriate choice. For instance, older or weakened pipes may not be able to withstand the high-pressure water jets used in hydrojetting. Therefore, hydrojetting emerges as a necessary step when snaking proves inadequate for removing persistent clogs or debris in drain lines.

Effectiveness Comparison

In terms of effectiveness, hydrojetting stands unparalleled. Unlike power rodding and snaking, which may leave behind some debris, hydrojetting:

  • Eliminates all traces of blockage

  • Prevents quicker reformation of clogs

  • Makes your plumbing system more efficient

  • Makes your plumbing system less prone to future issues

Hydrojetting is highly effective in removing tough and stubborn debris such as:

  • grease

  • limescale

  • hair

  • leaves

  • tree roots

It does so without leaving any residues behind. Its superiority over other methods is most apparent when dealing with large-scale clogs, including those caused by tree roots. By clearing these significant blockages and preventing future build-ups, hydrojetting proves to be a worthwhile long-term investment for your plumbing system.

Suitability for Various Pipe Conditions

Despite being highly effective, hydrojetting isn’t suitable for every pipe condition. Pipes in homes built more than 50 years ago, particularly those made of cast iron and clay, may be more vulnerable to the effects of hydrojetting due to potential corrosion and foundational issues. Furthermore, hydrojetting may not be suitable for older pipes in poor condition, as the high-pressure water can exacerbate existing weaknesses.

For basic and minor clogs, traditional methods like snaking may be considered a better option, especially for older plumbing systems with a clogged drain. Power rodding may be more suitable than hydrojetting for older plumbing systems and is particularly effective in clearing clogged drains, including sewer drains and tree root intrusions.

Regardless, a trustworthy plumber will always conduct a video inspection before hydrojetting to evaluate the pipes and notify about any potential risks or threats.

Signs Your Pipes Need Hydrojetting

Blocked drain causing slow drainage

One might ponder, “What are the signs that my pipes require hydrojetting?” Well, there are several telltale signs that your pipes may need a high-pressure clean. If you’re dealing with slow drains, recurring clogs, or foul odors, hydrojetting might be the solution you need. Additionally, noisy plumbing, such as hissing, bubbling, or gurgling noises, can suggest problems within your plumbing system that may require hydrojetting.

More alarming signs hinting at the necessity for hydrojetting include fixtures backing up into other drains. For instance, if flushing a toilet causes water to appear in the bathtub or shower, it may indicate a main sewer line blockage that warrants hydrojetting. Furthermore, a sewage backup inside the home is a critical sign of a severe blockage that needs immediate professional attention and possibly hydrojetting.

Identifying Problematic Pipes

Recognizing problematic pipes potentially necessitating hydrojetting is key to preserving a robust plumbing system. Some signs to look out for include:

  • Slow drainage

  • Recurring clogs

  • Foul odors

  • Consistently rising water bill

If you notice any of these signs, it may indicate a plumbing issue that, if left unaddressed, may necessitate professional intervention like hydrojetting.

Nonetheless, it’s crucial to acknowledge that hydrojetting is not suitable for collapsed pipes, which demand replacement. This underscores the importance of a professional plumber’s assessment before the procedure.

Preventative Maintenance

While hydrojetting presents a highly efficacious solution for stubborn clogs, you can also implement preventative measures to maintain your pipes in prime condition. Addressing minor clogs quickly and performing regular plumbing maintenance can reduce the need for expensive hydrojetting procedures in the future.

Maintaining clean pipes involves best practices such as:

  • Not disposing of harmful substances like food, coffee grounds, oil, and grease down the drain

  • Installing hair catchers

  • Periodically cleaning drains with vinegar and baking soda

These practices can go a long way in preventing blockages.

Experts typically recommend hydrojetting sewer lines annually, but this can vary based on sewer pipe condition, usage frequency, age, and waste disposal habits.

Cost of Hydrojetting Services

Residential hydrojetting cost comparison

You might wonder, ‘What is the average hydro jetting cost?’ On average, residential hydro jetting typically costs between $350 and $600, but it can go up to $1,300 depending on the type and severity of the clog. For commercial properties, the hydro jetting cost ranges between $800 and $2,500, with the price varying based on the scope and severity of the clog.

Although these costs might appear high, it’s crucial to bear in mind that the severity of clogs and the specific requirements of the plumbing system are the main determinants of hydrojetting service costs. Therefore, assessing these factors is crucial for homeowners and businesses to understand and anticipate the potential costs for hydrojetting services.

Factors Affecting Hydrojetting Costs

A variety of factors can impact the cost of hydrojetting, including:

  • The scope and severity of the clog

  • The time and effort required to clear the clog

  • The availability of hydrojetting equipment

  • The expertise required to use the equipment properly

These factors can vary from plumbing company to plumbing company, so it’s important to get a quote from a professional to determine the specific cost for your situation.

Moreover, hard-to-reach sewer lines can increase hydrojetting costs due to the additional effort and time required to access them. Therefore, when considering hydrojetting, it’s important to take into account the location and accessibility of your sewer lines.

Long-Term Savings

Despite the substantial initial costs, hydrojetting can lead to long-term savings. Hydrojetting is a cost-effective solution that can prevent recurring clogs and other plumbing issues, reducing the need for constant maintenance.

Moreover, hydrojetting provides a thorough pipe cleaning that eliminates problems for an extended period, sparing the need for frequent maintenance. By averting future plumbing repairs, hydrojetting can result in significant monetary savings over time. Thus, the extended period of effectiveness provided by hydrojetting diminishes the necessity for additional services, enhancing its long-term cost-efficiency.

Hiring a Professional Plumber for Hydrojetting

Professional plumber performing video camera inspection

Considering the complexities and potential risks of hydrojetting, hiring a professional plumber to conduct this procedure is fundamental. Professional plumbers have:

  • Extensive training and a deep understanding of plumbing systems

  • The ability to diagnose issues accurately and efficiently

  • The expertise and specialized tools to effectively clean out debris from plumbing systems and sewer lines

They are well-equipped to handle complex plumbing jobs such as hydro jetting service.

Not only does hiring a trained plumber prevent costly mistakes that might arise from incorrect DIY hydrojetting attempts, but it also guarantees that all hydrojetting work adheres to plumbing codes and regulations, maintaining the system’s safety and efficiency. Furthermore, customers often receive guarantees and warranties on hydrojetting work, accompanied by liability insurance when they hire professional plumbers.

Expertise and Equipment

The execution of hydro jetting necessitates specialized hydro jetting equipment and expert knowledge. A hydro jet machine comprises a motor, a large water tank, and a hose with various nozzles, capable of pressurizing water up to 3500 psi or more. The nozzles play a critical role in hydro jetting and come in various forms, including chisel-type for breaking through tough clogs and directional nozzles for specific jobs.

Professional plumbers bring not only their expertise to hydrojetting projects but also access to specialized tools and equipment that are cost-prohibitive for homeowners to acquire for one-time use. Plus, technicians performing hydrojetting must wear protective gear such as:

  • Helmets

  • Face shields

  • Goggles

  • Gloves

  • Protective clothing

to ensure their safety.

Assessing Pipe Condition

Prior to executing hydrojetting, it’s vital to evaluate the condition of the pipes. Older or fragile pipelines can break under high-pressure water impacts of up to 4500 PSI. Therefore, regular inspections, including camera inspections, are common practice to determine if pipes can withstand hydrojetting or require replacement.

Experienced hydrojetting professionals use their expertise to accurately determine the necessary water pressure to clear obstructions without harming the pipeline structure, ensuring the procedure is safely administered. This is why hiring a skilled plumber is essential, as they can make these crucial judgments, protecting your pipes and your wallet.

Common Hydrojetting Questions

It’s perfectly normal to have questions about hydrojetting. It’s important to remember that hydro jetting damage can occur to the plumbing system if performed incorrectly, such as breaking pipes. Therefore, when in doubt about the necessity of hydrojetting, it is advisable to consult with a professional and consider getting a video line inspection.

An experienced plumber can:

  • Answer all your questions

  • Guide you through the process

  • Help determine whether hydrojetting is the best solution for your plumbing issues or if a different method would be more suitable

Remember, every plumbing system is unique, and what works best for one might not be the best for another, including sewer systems.


In conclusion, hydrojetting is a powerful and efficient method of clearing stubborn clogs and debris buildup in plumbing systems. Its effectiveness, versatility, and environmental friendliness make it a preferred choice over traditional methods for many property owners. However, hydrojetting is not a DIY task and requires professional expertise and equipment. It’s crucial to hire a professional plumber who can assess pipe conditions, perform the procedure safely, and ensure long-lasting results. So, if you’re dealing with persistent plumbing issues, why not consider hydrojetting? It might just be the solution you’ve been looking for.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can hydro jetting damage pipes?

Yes, hydro-jetting can damage pipes, especially if they are old or in poor condition due to the heavy water pressure used during the process. It’s important to assess the condition of your pipes before considering hydro-jetting.

Is Hydro jetting better than snaking?

Hydro-jetting is better than snaking for deep sewer line clogs, as it can thoroughly scour the inside of the pipe, while the snake might not completely clear the problem.

Is water jetting expensive?

Hydro jetting can cost between $600 and $1,300 for residential needs and $800 to $2,500 for commercial use, while the average national cost is around $700.

Is Hydro jetting worth it?

Yes, hydro-jetting is worth it as it clears the entire pipe and prevents future problems, saving you time and money in the long run.

What is hydrojetting?

Hydrojetting, also known as sewer jetting, uses high-pressure water jets to clear clogs and debris buildup in pipe walls. It is an effective method for cleaning pipes.

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