You may have heard the term “hydro jetting” before.  Maybe it was even recommended as a way to service a drain line at your home or business.  In this article we will look at the benefits and drawbacks of high pressure hydro jetting, as well as the different types of jetting (high pressure and high flow).

What is Hydro Jetting?

The concept of hydro jetting is pretty basic.  You start with a water source.  Then you find a way to increase the pressure and/or flow beyond what would normally flow down the pipe, and feed it into the line (via a long hose) to “flush it clean”.  At the end of the hose is a nozzle that usually directs the high pressure spray in front of the hose to “blast away” debris.  There are also holes in the nozzle that point backwards, at an angle, to clean the sides of the pipe, and to help propel the hose down the line.

Hi Pressure vs High Flow

While both methods do increase the pressure beyond normal limits (and can technically be called “high pressure), high flow jetters sacrifice some of the pressure for more flow.  High pressure jetters do the opposite… sacrificing flow for higher pressure.

As a rule, high pressure jetters are usually smaller, and can get their water source from a hose bib (or similar source).  They are usually best suited for smaller drain lines (2” lines).  An ideal scenario for a high pressure jetter would be a kitchen sink line that is filled with sludge or grease buildup.

Floor drains, floor sinks, and small grease trap lines can also be good candidates for this, but can be a bit more challenging.

Hi pressure jetters can send out a spray of over 2,000psi, and often get up to 3,500psi or more.  This is ideal for doing a good job of cleaning smaller pipes.

As drain lines get bigger, flow needs to increase to make up for the drop in the amount of pressure it is possible to pump through.  As a rule, the bigger the pipe, the more water flow is needed.  While a high pressure jetter is fine with 6-8 gallons per minute, a high flow jetter can require much, much more (up to 35GPM or more).  These require their own water tank to be able to keep the flow high.

Sewer main lines, storm drains, and other large drain lines are the ideal candidates here, and it is not unusual to see these guys using as low as 1,500psi, or even less.

Pros and Cons

Water can be very strong.  In fact, a 2,000 psi water blast can peel the paint right off of a car.  Still there are specific times when using a jetter is ideal, and others where it is not.

Hydro jetters, whether high flow or high pressure are meant to “clean” sludge, debris, mud, etc.  If you have a buildup of any of these, or similar substances, a jetter is the ideal solution.  They are especially effective with grease buildup, and storm drains, or other drains that accumulate a large amount of debris.

Where hydro jetters fall a bit short is with root problems.  While a jetter will get rid of a lot of the smaller roots, and can often find a way to get through a tough blockage that a cutting blade just cannot handle, it will do a poor job of completely clearing a root blockage.  The best use of a jetter, in this case, is to use it to “punch through” the blockage, and get the inside of the pipe clean enough to do a camera survey (and prepare for a repair).

At Allstar Plumbing we have high pressure and high volume hydro jetters, and some of the most, experienced and qualified plumbers in the industry.  Give us a call, and we will take a look at your situation and see if getting a high pressure hydro jetting (or high flow) is right for your needs.

Call Allstar Today