06 December Plumbers hydro jetting a pipeline

Snaking vs. Hydro Jetting: Which Should You Choose?

Posted by PlumbWize

At some point in the life of being a homeowner, you’ll have to deal with clogged drains. Unfortunately, this issue can’t be completely avoided.

Hair, soap, toilet paper, dirt, food waste, small objects, and other debris getting stuck in toilets, sinks, or shower drains are usually among the common causes of clogging.

But even without these elements, minerals dissolved in hard water and oil from hygienic products like body scrubs and hair conditioners can form an insoluble mass that can eventually block your drain.

Good thing there is a variety of ways to fix this plumbing issue. In this blog, we’ll be taking a closer look at two popular options: hydro jetting (hydro flushing) and snaking.

Snaking Method

Also called a plumbing auger, the snaking method uses a long flexible metal tube called a “plumber’s snake” (also called a drain snake) to break up clogs.

This type of tube has a cable inside. Attached at one end of the cable is a corkscrew auger (it looks like a coiled spring or drill bit). You’ll find the crank handle at the other end.

The tube is inserted into the drain and hand-cranked to push through the clog. The auger—combined with the twisting, pushing, and pulling action—enables you to catch the clog and pull it back out of the drain.

Advantages of Snaking

Snaking is the best option in clearing basic and minor clogs. It’s also the most suitable choice for homes that don’t have a modern plumbing system. Older homes usually have fragile pipes that are too weak to endure the powerful pressure of hydro jetting.

Disadvantages of Snaking

Snaking has been used for many years and is proven to be effective in clearing clogs—but only temporarily.

As we explained earlier, the plumber’s snake pushes through the clog to remove it, however, the hole it makes is too small to have enough power to thoroughly clean your pipes.

What often happens is, traces of the blockage are left behind which can cause your pipe to clog much faster the next time around.

Another disadvantage of snaking is that the tip can scratch your pipe and damage the coating. This can lead to cracks and rusting that open the door to major problems later on.

Hydro Jetting Method

Hydro jetting or hydro flushing is a method of drain cleaning that uses pressurized water to get rid of clogs.

A hydro jet nozzle

A machine is used to pressurize the water which is then fed into a drain with a high-pressure hose. The powerful stream of water—which can reach anywhere between 3,000 to 8,000 PSI—is what’s used to clear clogs.

Advantages of Hydro Jetting

Hydro jetting has a lot more advantages compared to other methods of clearing clogs:

  • It’s highly effective
    Unlike the snaking method, hydro jetting doesn’t leave traces of debris behind. From grease and limescale to hair and leaves, it can remove the toughest and most stubborn of debris—even tree roots!
  • It saves money
    It may be a bit more expensive than snaking upfront. However, since it gets your pipes squeaky clean, you won’t be needing the service of a plumber anytime soon.
  • It’s hygienic
    If you use traditional methods in clearing clogs, you run the risk of sewage coming in contact with surfaces in your home. Hydro jetting is a quick, mess-free process that means less contact with contaminants.
  • It can be used both in commercial and residential settings
    Most people have the impression that hydro jetting is only for commercial or industrial use. But it’s an effective method in clearing domestic sewer lines too.
  • It’s non-invasive
    When the clog is within your sewer line, plumbers who opt for traditional methods often have to dig to gain access to the pipes. This can be messy, not to mention time-consuming.

    With hydro jetting, this isn’t necessary. Access can easily be obtained through the cleanout.

  • It’s safe
    No chemicals that can harm your health are used in hydro jetting—just pressurized water; nothing more, nothing less.
  • It’s environment-friendly
    Because it doesn’t use any chemicals compared to other methods, hydro jetting doesn’t harm the environment. Even people who live near rivers and lakes can safely use this method.
  • It prevents future plumbing problems
    Hydro flushing doesn’t just unclog your pipes; it also cleans the insides of your pipes. When done at least once a year, it significantly reduces future plumbing problems and the need for emergency call-outs.

Disadvantages of Hydro Jetting

While hydro flushing offers a lot of major benefits, it also has a few disadvantages.

You need to know that professional plumbers must first do a video inspection of your pipes to assess their condition and age. This is important because as we mentioned earlier, old pipes might not be able to withstand the powerful stream of water from hydro jetting.

When this step is skipped, there’s a possibility of causing further damage to your pipes. This is why a hydro jet can only be used by professional plumbers and can’t be DIY-ed.

How Do I Pick a Method?

Whether to use snaking or hydro jetting depends on the severity of the clog and the current condition of your pipes.

You can always give the plunger a try, but if that doesn’t work, then try snaking. Just note, though, that this method won’t work on grease or heavy sludge.

A pipe clogged with thick fats, grease, and oil

The Safest Solution: Contact a Plumbing Expert

To avoid making the situation worse and causing further damage, it’s always a good idea to contact a professional plumber. They can evaluate the situation and give expert advice on the best steps to take.

If you need help in getting blocked or slow drains fixed, we can help. With over 60 years of combined experience, our professionals at PlumbWize are experts in hydro jetting and other plumbing services.

Our team of skilled plumbers will be glad to discuss the best options for unclogging your drains and pipes. Contact us today.


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