We all get drain clogs. We all get lines that won’t run. We don’t all know what sewer jetters are or what they do. So this is today’s focus: what is a sewer jetter, how does it work, and why use that instead of a plumber’s helper, chemicals, or a drain snake.
Sewer jetters—in our case, we call it a hydro jet—are tools that plumbers can use to help clear clogs from pipes. Let’s go over the tools of the trade and talk about what each does.
First, a plumber’s helper, also known as a plunger. That long-handled tool with a suction cup on the end is great for toilet clogs that are really in the bowl itself or just starting down the pipes. Also great for in-sink disposals that are clogged. The suction forces the clog to move around enough that it isn’t in one spot, which allows it to pass through the pipes.
Second, chemicals. These you usually buy from stores and they are often harmful to the drains. Even if they say, “Won’t harm pipes” on the label, these are corrosive chemicals that eat through a clog. Anything that can do that can also eat through the material your pipes are made of.
A drain snake is a long coil that has clippers or a catcher on the end. Some are purely manual—you uncoil them and feed them down a drain by rotating a wheel that controls how much of the long coil goes in. Others are motorized. The idea is that they can either grab the stuff in the clog or cut through it.
Sewer jetters use water at high speed to blast through the clog. They also feed down the line until they get to the clog, then the high-speed water cuts through and simultaneously washes the debris away. No chemicals to harm pipes and far more efficient than coils and cutters.