Sewer Jetter Guide

Sewer Hydro-Jetting Beckley WV 

Call 304-877-1254

Grease, sludge, sand and debris are the main causes of commercial drain line blockages. Our high-pressure water jetting service can help you clear this sediment by:

  • Penetrating and emulsifying grease

  • Breaking up sludge and debris

  • Pulverizing roots

  • Cutting out hardened scale

  • Flushing out the system

Cable machines are used to remove tree roots and break through solid obstructions. However, they are less effective in removing softer blockages such as grease, scale and other buildup. Cable machines will bore holes through sludge but they can’t clean and push the debris out of pipes as effectively as a water jet machine.

How to Unclog Drains with a Hydro Jetter

Use Mountaineer Plumbers To Unblock Your Drain:

 

  • Learn how a sewer jetter works

  • Find out if a sewer jetter can help solve your plumbing problem

  • Choose the right hydro jetter and sewer jetter for the job

  • Get tips to make drain cleaning easier

How a Sewer Jetter Works

 

A sewer jetter is a slim, high-pressure hose with a jet nozzle on one end. A sewer jetter hose is lighter and more flexible than other pressure hoses so that it can slide more easily through drains. The jetter nozzle uses the force of pressurized water to pull the jetter deep into drains, break apart clogs, scrub off sticky debris on the sides of pipes, and flush out residue.

 

In most cases it’s easiest to attach the jetter to the discharge fitting of your pressure washer trigger gun so that you can control the flow of water with the trigger.

 

Can a Sewer Jetter Solve My

 

Plumbing Problem?

 

A sewer jetter can be a good choice if:

• More than one plumbing fixture is backed up, or you suspect there could be a clog deep in the main drain;

 

• Water drains too slowly from some areas, so there could be buildup or a low spot in the drain;

 

• Your outdoor drains or septic field lines have accumulated sediment that must be removed.

 

A sewer jetter could be the right solution to these problems because it can break apart clogs that are far from the drain opening and flush out dirty residue. And, unlike a drain snake, sewer jetters can scrub the sides of your pipes to clean away debris that’s been stuck on for a very long time.

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If you are concerned that a sewer jetter could damage an older pipe, before buying a sewer jetter you can spray an exposed portion of pipe with the strongest spray from your pressure washer. If this erodes or scores the pipe, you could damage the pipe with a sewer jetter that’s powered by the same machine.

 

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A hydro sewer jetter is usually not the right choice if:

 

• You need to unclog only a single fixture, or the clog might be close to the drain opening;

 

• Huge tree roots, large rocks or other hard objects have entered the pipe;

 

• The drain is damaged by foundation problems, a collapsed pipe, or other structural issues.

 

• If you live in an older home with ceramic (clay) or asphalt (Orangeburg) pipes you should con- sult a licensed plumber to inspect the drain before attempting to clean it.

 

Choose the Right Pressure Washer

 

The gallon per minute (GPM)


flow of your pressure washer determines how much force your sewer jetter can produce. Nozzle force increases roughly with pressure washer GPM squared, so a midrange gas pressure washer can give you much more cleaning and pulling force than an electric machine, and a larger com- mercial-sized gas pressure washer can produce even more force.

 

Pressure washer GPM also determines the maximum length and diameter of pipe you can clean. When you use a properly sized sewer jetter:

 

  • An electric pressure washer
    rated from 1.2 to 1.5 GPM can usually power the jetter between 20 and 50 ft. into most drains up to 4” ID.

  • A residential gas pressure washer rated from 2.0 to 2.9 GPM can usually power the jetter at least 100 ft. into drains up to 4” ID.

  • A commercial gas pressure washer rated from 3.0 to 4.0 GPM can usually power the jetter at least 100 ft. into drains up to 6” ID.

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Very old pressure washers, custom and rental machines, expensive direct drive electrics, and hot water pressure washers can operate at too low a PSI pressure to work with most sewer jetters. If in doubt contact the sewer jetter manufacturer before you buy.

 

Choose the Right

 

Sewer Jetter

 

When it comes to choosing the right sewer jetter one size doesn’t fit all. Choose a sewer jetter with a hose and nozzle that are matched to your pressure washer.

 

• Smaller diameter jetter hoses move much more easily through drains for better distance, but if the hose is too small to handle your pressure washer GPM it will overload the machine and you’ll get zero nozzle force.

 

• Look for a quality-made, stainless


steel nozzle that maximizes cleaning and pulling force while working within the PSI pressure limits of your machine. Avoid inexpensive nozzles with lower-grade materials or improperly con- figured jets that could reduce cleaning effectiveness or overload your machine.

 

Lastly, choose a jetter that has the right type of adapter to fit your pressure washer trigger gun. You can find more information about adapters to fit different machines on the sewer jetter manufacturer’s website.

 

Tips to Make the

 

Job Easier

 

Plan the Job

 

It’s usually easiest to clear your main drain starting from a downhill drain opening and working in an uphill direction, toward the clog.


That’s because:

 

  • Any larger diameter elbows downstream of the clog can be easier for the jetter to pass through,

  • When starting downhill there’s usually a clear path for debris to flush downstream,

  • You can often look into the cleanout, see the sediment flushing out, and know when the drain is clean.

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Plan the Job (continued)

 

Locate both a primary drain opening such a main drain cleanout outside your home or in a basement, and an alternative opening upstream of the clog should it become necessary, such as an indoor drain opening under a sink or a roof vent.

 

When using a sewer jetter always wear thick, fluid- resistant work gloves and eye protection. Use your sewer jetter in well ventilated locations, and avoid breathing any dirty mist from drains.

 

If you’re using the jetter indoors prepare a few old towels and a bucket to keep near the drain opening. The volume of flow from a pressure washer isn’t much more than what you’d get from a drinking fountain– so as long as you take a few precautions you should be able to handle any spills.

 

And finally, allow yourself plenty of time to complete the job without rushing through.

 

Check Your Pressure Washer

 

Before connecting the sewer jetter, test your pressure washer by spraying with the highest pres- sure setting for at least 15 seconds. The machine should be ready if it can spray steadily, without the engine stalling and without the unloader valve cycling off and on. If not, it’s time to check the fuel supply, air filter, and other service parts.

 

Flush and Protect Hoses

 

A small amount of dirt inside your supply hoses can plug the jetter. Before connecting the jetter to your pressure washer always connect your supply hoses and run water through the hoses, pressure washer and trigger gun until you are sure that the water comes out clean. And if you’re using the sewer jetter indoors check all hose connections for drips before bringing the hoses inside.

 

Then connect the jetter hose and once again run water through at low pressure, without starting your pressure washer.

 

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Flush and Protect Hoses (continued)

 

Before starting the pressure washer, check that all nozzle jets are clean by confirming that you seeconstant, solid water streams from all nozzle jets when you squeeze the trigger gun.

 

If you’re working outside, roll the jetter out and back to the cleanout opening, away from foot and ve- hicle traffic, before starting the job.

 

Thoroughly Clean the Drain

 

If you’re starting from a downhill location use care to insert the jetter nozzle in the direction of the clog. You can gently twist the hose a few turns to help snake the nozzle through the first elbow.

 

After you insert the jetter at least a foot into the drain, start your pressure washer and squeeze the trigger. You should feel a firm tug as the nozzle starts to pull the jetter through the pipe. Con- tinue to guide the jetter into the drain as you squeeze the trigger. For more effective cleaning, every few feet pull the jetter back about halfway and then continue moving forward.

 

Should the nozzle reach a corner or other transition and the jetter stop moving forward, pull back slightly and then allow the jetter hose to move forward again until the nozzle passes through. You can also briefly release and then continue squeezing the spray wand trigger to create a pulsing action to help the nozzle move forward.

 

If you’re clearing a clogged main drain, listen for a surge of fluid as the clog clears, and then briefly move a foot or two back from the cleanout to avoid any splashing liquid.

 

After you have finished cleaning the drain, pull the high pressure line out. Use care to release the spray wand trigger to stop the flow of water before the nozzle reaches the opening.

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Always protect the jetter hose from foot or vehicle traffic, and keep the hose away from hot engine manifolds and sharp metal objects.

 

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Clean and Store Your Jetter

 

Disconnect the jetter from the pressure washer trigger gun and then coil up the jetter hose, starting with the nozzle end in your hand so that water drains out of the open inlet end. Lay the coiled line on a flat surface and wash it clean with the gentle nozzle of your pressure washer. Inspect the line and fittings and replace if damaged or worn.

 

Be sure to store your jetter away from direct sunlight, children and pets.

 

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For easier cleaning of the nozzle ask your sewer jetter supplier about purchasing a miniature nozzle cleaning tool.

 

Troubleshooting

What can I do if one of the nozzle jets doesn’t spray?

 

Nozzle jets can sometimes be blocked by sediment and small particles that enter the lines when you store or assemble the supply hoses. To clear a blocked jetter nozzle insert a tiny pin into the blocked nozzle and, using care not to break the pin, check to see if this clears the blockage.

 

To clear out larger sediment, remove the jetter nozzle by securing the collar of the jetter hose with pliers and loosening the nozzle with a wrench or pliers wrapped in a cloth. Take care not to twist the steel collar against the hose. Carefully rap the nozzle opening squarely against a clean, hard surface to dislodge any sediment. Then spar- ingly apply removable thread sealant, replace and re- tighten the nozzle.

 

What if I can’t get the jetter to attach to my pressure washer?

 

Your sewer jetter supplier can provide help and additional fittings if needed to attach your sewer jetter.

 

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Got questions?

 

You can call or email us.

 

304-877-1254 (9-5 M-F EST) info@mountaineerplumbers.com

Or visit us online.

 

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