All the waste we have at home normally ends up in two places: either in the garbage can or down the sewage system.
We clean our garbage bins whenever they get too dirty, but we can hardly say the same for the sewer lines.
Have you ever had your sewer lines cleaned up? Most homeowners believe that all the water that flows down the drain pipes will take care of it; all that water constantly going down the sewers is enough to make sure that the sewer lines are clean.
On this page:
- What is Hydro Jetting?
- Benefits of Hydro Jetting – Is it Worth It?
- Signs of a Blocked Sewer Line
- Hydro Jetting vs Snaking
- How Much Does Hydro Jetting a Drain and Sewer Line Cost?
- Cost to Repair or Replace a Sewer Main (and Dangers of DIY Work)
- Dangers of Working on Sewer Lines
- Getting Quotes from Hydro Jetting Services Near You
This is farther from the truth, however.
Chances are that you only get your sewer lines checked out when there is clogging somewhere, or you noticed that the water is backing up on your bathroom fixtures. And when you do, just hope that it will only be a simple cleanup job that will cost about a hundred dollars.
Severe sewer line issues can easily cost thousands of dollars to fix, and no one really wants that. This can easily be avoided if only homeowners practice the habit of getting their sewer lines to undergo regular maintenance.
And by maintenance, we mean cleaning. It really is just that.
But if you think this is no longer an option because you are already stuck with a clogged sewer line, you can still remedy this.
One of the best ways of doing so is through hydro jetting. If this is the first time you heard about it, then continue reading to find out why you should consider this not just to remedy the clogging but also for the maintenance of your sewer line.
What is Hydro Jetting?
If you have ever experienced a blockage in your plumbing system, it is very much a given that your plunger is the first tool you get your hands on to try and fix it. Sometimes it works, but sometimes it is not enough to unclog the pipes.
When the latter happens, it means that the clogging is a lot worse than can be handled by a plunger, and it is time to bring in the big guns. By big guns, it can either be the snake drain, hydro jetting, or chemical means.
Chemical means should only be used as a last resort, as it has a higher chance of doing more harm than good compared to using a snake drain or via hydro jetting. This is why many professionals will primarily choose between hydro jetting or snaking a drain to fix the issue.
Between the two, many homeowners would probably have no idea what hydro jetting is. After all, this is a method that only plumbers use, and should not be attempted by anyone inexperienced.
From the name itself, you can already assume that hydro jetting involves the use of water. This water flows at a very high pressure, often at 35,000 psi but reaching as much as 60,000 psi, and enters the drain pipes to dislodge or tear apart the debris that got stuck or hinders the sewage from completely flowing down to the sewers.
Using a typical garden hose, even at the highest setting, is not enough for proper hydro jetting. Plumbers use specialized equipment for it, which consists of a hose where interchangeable nozzles are connected, a vacuum pump that lets them control the water pressure, and a water tank that is connected to or installed on a trunk and is the source of the water released.
Hydro jetting typically involves these steps:
- A sewer camera should first be inserted into the clogged pipe to know what nozzle is appropriate for it.
- The hose, which is connected to the water tank, is then inserted to the cleanout
- Setting the pump to release the right amount of pressure, the plumber will then switch it on to release the water and unclog the pipes.
This should be done via the cleanout, as hydro jetting takes advantage of gravity. Water goes up the drain pipes, with enough pressure to break down the blockage. When it does, the debris will finally flow down the sewer lines, together with the water used to dislodge it.
Benefits of Hydro Jetting – Is it Worth It?
Given the numerous options to unclog a drain, you might wonder if you should try out hydro jetting to resolve your drain issues. And if you are used to resorting to chemical drain cleaners and already find it effective, should you even consider using other methods in the first place?
No matter how durable you may think your sewer lines are, chemical drain cleaners should only be your last option, as they can do more harm than good not just to the pipes but even to the environment. Not to mention, it needs to be handled carefully to avoid injury. And yes, this also includes the non-corrosive type.
Snaking, on the other hand, can some time to do. Even if there are a handful of different methods present when it comes to snaking a drain, all of them are time-consuming compared to hydro jetting. And, not all of them can completely fix the issue.
Hydro jetting is the most recommended method of plumbers for various reasons, such as:
- It does not really fail – because of the adjustable water pressure, there is a guarantee that pipes of all sizes will be unclogged. Plumbers can easily change the water pressure until the blockage gets completely dislodged.
- It is also for proper maintenance – since water is used, your sewer lines get cleaned at the same time that blockages are being broken down. This is not something that snaking can do, as snaking a drain still leaves residues on the pipes that can eventually create another blockage.
- It does not harm the environment – because it only uses water and does not involve harsh chemicals, hydro jetting is completely safe for the environment.
- It can be used for all sorts of sewer lines – due to the use of professional equipment, most would think that hydro jetting should only be done to commercial structures. The fact is, it can also be done in residential homes as well. Hydro jetting is versatile and can adapt to all sorts of sewer lines in both residential and commercial settings, especially with the different nozzles that can be used.
- It is hygienic – we know for a fact that sewage contains the nasty stuff we would never touch with our bare hands. With hydro jetting, the chances of the plumber getting into contact with them is lessened, as there is less time needed to unclog the sewer line. Hydro jetting gets the job done faster than snaking.
- You actually get to save some money – despite hiring the services of a plumber, hydro jetting will actually help you save money in the long run. This is not just a remedy but also a preventive maintenance measure. Since it cleans the sewer lines, potential issues are also eliminated early, and even completely if you get it regularly done.
- It is a time-saver – snaking a drain takes a chunk of your time, but this is hardly the case for hydro-jetting. Among all the non-chemical-based methods of fixing a clogged pipe, hydro jetting works the fastest.
From all these, it is not hard to see why hydro jetting is a favorite of plumbers when it comes to unblocking pipes.
Signs of a Blocked Sewer Line
At some point, every homeowner will experience getting a clogged pipe or a blocked drain in their homes. At best, water will go down the drain slower than usual. But in extreme cases, water will not even flow to your sewer lines due to the blockage present.
Fortunately, there are warning signs that indicate a blockage is present, or even starting to form, in your plumbing and sewer systems. Homeowners should keep an eye out for any of these signs, and get in touch with a plumber asap at the onset of the issue:
- At least one drain is not working properly – a lone clogged sink may not be due to a blockage on your sewer line, but if there are multiple blockages at the same time, a clogged sewer line is highly suspect
- Unusual sounds when water is going down the drain – you should hardly hear any sound when water enters the drain lines. But if gurgling sounds are present, it can indicate a blockage on your sewer lines
- The smell of sewage present – blockages along the sewer lines will trap other debris coming in. Over time, the organic matter will decompose and produce foul smells that can flow into your home. These smells are strongest in rooms with and near drains.
- Irregular functions of fixtures – if using the washing machine also lets water run on the toilet, or flushing causes water to back up on the shower or tub, this may indicate that you have a clogged sewer line.
At worse, wastewater can flow through the drains of your showers and tubs.
As soon as you observe any of these signs, have a plumber check it out. Moving too late can cause damage to your home itself, resulting in horrifyingly expensive repairs and replacements.
Hydro Jetting vs Snaking
If on the unfortunate chance you have a clogged drain line and your plunger does squat to resolve it, you now have to choose between getting your drains snaked or hydro jetting. Again, save the chemicals as your last resort if neither of the two resolves the issue, which is highly unlikely.
Since they are both very effective at removing blockages in the drains, most homeowners have no clue which particular method is appropriate for their case. Although they have the same function, they have their own advantages and disadvantages that you should be aware of.
- Not only clears up the blockage, this will also clean up your sewer lines, preventing clogging from reoccurring quickly.
- Works for both residential and commercial sewer lines, and for all types of pipes
- Only uses water, making it eco-friendly
- Can resolve clogging caused by tree and plant roots invading the sewer line
- Very effective and fast at removing blockages, no matter what caused it
- Stops wastewater from backing up
- Must only be done by professionals
- May cause further damage to weak or fragile pipes, because of the strong water pressure released
- Tried and tested method of removing blockages
- Risk of causing damage to your pipes, especially the older ones, is very minimal and easily preventable
- Can be done by both professionals and homeowners themselves
- Also useful in detecting if the blockage present is too tough to be removed just by snaking alone.
- Not as effective as hydro jetting, as snaking can leave behind residue that can result in another blockage
- There is a chance that only a section of the blockage, often of the same size as the auger, will be removed by snaking. Some of the debris will remain inside, and only a small section of that debris will allow wastewater to pass through.
- Only works on basic clogs; won’t work if the blockage is due to tree roots
- Effect is much more temporary than hydro jetting
Some plumbers may choose to use either one of these methods, but they ideally use both for a single sewer line. They start by snaking the drain, and move on to hydro jetting if it does not completely fix the problem.
Note that basic clogs can be removed by snaking alone. But for substantial blockages, hydro jetting is needed.
How Much Does Hydro Jetting a Drain and Sewer Line Cost?
Since hydro jetting entails hiring the services of a plumber, many homeowners expect to pay a lot for it. After all, hydro jetting involves paying for both manpower and special equipment, making it an expensive choice to some. They only consider hydro jetting when the plumber knows that snaking is not enough.
What you should know is that hydro jetting will only get very expensive when the blockage is too severe. And if you think about the long-term benefits, such as having a very small chance of having another clogging somewhere in your sewer lines in the near future, the payment is well worth it.
The cost of hydro jetting your sewer lines ranges from $250 to $600 on average for residential sewer lines, but it can also reach as much as $1000 or more for severe clogging. The price will depend on several factors, namely:
- Location of the blockage – the deeper the location of the blockage along your sewer lines, the more expensive it will be. Blockages near the drains or opening of the sewer lines are easier to access and would cost less.
- Kind of blockage – the debris that causes clogging will also affect the total cost. Hair, food, and other similar debris that are easy to remove will cost less to do so, while removing roots that cause the blockage are harder and will cost more.
Hydro jetting a commercial establishment, on the other hand, is guaranteed to cost more. Since they require more sophisticated equipment, this raises the average cost, starting at $3,000.
But because plumbers also have to check on the condition of the pipe and see what exactly is causing the blockage using a sewer camera before using the hydro jet, homeowners should also consider the cost of this inspection. As a standalone service, this costs $250 to $500, but some plumbers will already include this service as part of their hourly task.
Instead of asking for a flat rate for the entire project, some plumbers may opt to charge on an hourly basis for the entire task. For this type of work, plumber rates normally range between $45 to $150 per hour.
Although these numbers may seem high, they are just a fraction of the cost of a complete sewer line replacement. Hundreds of dollars for hydro jetting is nothing compared to thousands of dollars for a complete replacement of the sewer main. And, hydro jetting lessens the chance of prematurely having your sewer line replaced.
Cost to Repair or Replace a Sewer Main (and Dangers of DIY Work)
Sometimes, snaking the drain, hydro jetting, or even using chemical drain cleaners will not solve the issue. When this happens, you are looking at either a repair or replacement of your sewer line.
Plumbers know how expensive a sewer line replacement is, so they should first gauge whether repairing the damaged sections is still a possible solution or not to minimize costs. Just like for unclogging the sewer lines, a plumber should first use a sewer camera to inspect your entire sewer line, and then identify the best possible solution for your case.
Whether you are looking at a repair or replacement of your sewer lines, expect to shell out as much as $1000 at minimum. And, that price is just for simple repairs. The total cost can shoot up to as much as $20,000 if your entire sewer line has to be replaced with a new one.
Other factors that will affect the total cost include the following:
- Access to the sewer lines. Working on under slab sewer lines will cost more
- Method, whether using trenchless or traditional means
- Level of difficulty
- Length of pipe that needs to be repaired or replaced
- Whether it is considered as an emergency call to the plumber or not
- Cleanup of your yard or home after completing the sewer line repair or replacement
- Repairs needed on the affected structures of your home, such as your landscaping, walkways and driveways, flooring, and foundations.
Dangers of Working on Sewer Lines
People have this notion that any plumbing work can be done by just about anyone. However, they do not realize that some plumbing-related tasks should be best left to professionals, and that sewer line work is one of them.
Working on the sewer line itself is a very complicated task, and requires the expertise of plumbers. This is not something you should ever attempt to do on your own, even if you found the supposedly best step-by-step tutorials around from the internet. Trying to cut costs by DIY sewer line work is never worth the risks present.
This list should discourage you from picking up your shovel and attempting to work on your own sewer lines:
- Utility lines are likely installed near the sewer lines, and can be easily hit, especially if you have no clue where exactly they are located. Damaged utility lines are not just going to be a hassle for you but it will also become a safety hazard.
- Even if there is no wastewater currently flowing, remnants of bacteria and other harmful microorganisms remain in the pipes. You can get exposed to e. coli, salmonella, and giardia, among others, as your work. In turn, the exposure can affect your health.
- If you accidentally damage the natural gas line, not only can you get exposed to the gas but you also create a fire hazard that can potentially cause an explosion.
- Improperly digging and creating a trench can also cause the earth to collapse, which can cause injury if you are inside the trench when it happens.
- Breaks or cracks on the drain lines that are already present, or you accidentally created, can cause sewer gas, namely carbon dioxide and methane, present inside the pipes to escape and enter your home. You can also get exposed to it immediately, leading to respiratory complications.
- Botched work on your sewer lines may affect not just you but also your neighbors. In fact, any leaks may also reach their homes as well.
The chance of failure in this type of task is way higher than the chance of success of any untrained homeowner who attempts to do it. Instead of saving $1000 or so for the services of a plumber, they end up spending double or even quadruple that amount for it because of all the equipment they had to buy and the materials they keep repurchasing once they make mistakes.
Also, this type of work requires paperwork and other documentation in most states. And because you are working as an unlicensed plumber, this may cause further delays in the approval of permits, or even an outright rejection. And in some states, you may even be penalized and required to pay fines for it.
It is a guarantee that you will not be able to finish this task, whether successfully or not, in the same pace as that of plumbers. Sewer line issues will get worse the longer you put it off. And if you had to shut off your plumbing to prevent the problem from exacerbating, it means you have to put off using your bathrooms at home for a longer period.
Getting Quotes from Hydro Jetting Services Near You
With the potential repair and replacement costs we have shown you, you might wonder how you can save money without resorting to DIY work for hydro jetting or snaking, and if it can be done.
The good news is, saving money even if you hire professionals for this task is definitely possible – you just have to trigger the competitive streak of businesses.
And the best way to do that, not to mention the easiest, is by using our free service. This allows you to get as much as four free quotes from qualified contractors or businesses that are interested in the job.
You only have to fill out our form online and wait until they send you their quotes and offers. And because they know that they are competing with other similar businesses for the same job, expect to get the best rates and offers from them. They know that their rates will make or break your decision, and they will do their best to tempt you to sign up with them, and not with their competitors.
But, you should also still try to negotiate with them to get even lower rates than what they first quoted.
If all of their offers are disappointing for you or you are not satisfied with their quotes, you can always turn them down. We do not require you to hire one of those contractors who send in their quotes as payment for our free service.
Time is of the essence for sewer line issues, so get someone to hydro jet your drain line asap. This means saying goodbye to the time-consuming and gas-guzzling task of going around the neighborhood to find a plumber or plumbing service to ask quotes and negotiate with them.
Fill out our form now and fix your drain and sewer line issues soon!