Is A Water Jetter Safe For All Pipes, And Other Frequently Asked Questions About This Drain Cleaning Option

One way plumbers clean drains is by using a water jetter, which is essentially a specially designed power washer that uses a high-pressure water spray to get gunk off the walls of plumbing pipes. People who hear about this drain cleaning option typically have a lot of questions about it, so here are the answers to three of the most common ones to help you determine if this service is right for you.

Are Water Jetters Safe for All Pipe Types?

Water jetters are safe to use on PVC plastic and metal pipes, but they're not a good option for ceramic or Orangeburg (a type of wood composite) pipes. The latter two materials aren't really strong enough for use as plumbing pipes in the first place (which why it's typically older homes that have them), and they are more likely to collapse if the force of the high-pressure water from water jetters aggravated existing damage (e.g. cracks).

Be aware, though, that water jetting may not be appropriate for even PVC or metal pipes that are old or already damaged extensively by environmental factors, such as tree roots or rust. If your plumbing system is pretty ancient, you may want to have the lines inspected before signing up for water jetting services to ensure the pipes are healthy enough to withstand the high-pressure.

Can Water Jetting Clear Tree Roots?

The force of the water pushed through a water jetter is strong enough to clear out clogs caused by grease, toilet paper, sediment, and other soft sources and remove the gunk sticking to the sides of the pipes. Unfortunately, it's no match for tree roots. The water jetter may clear out some of the smaller and more fragile pieces of the roots invading your pipes, but the stronger branches will have to be removed using a snake drain that has blades attached.

Is It a Good Option for Fixing Frozen Pipes?

If winter put a chill on your pipes and caused the water inside to freeze, leading to blockages, a water jetter can be used to clear out the ice. Most water jetters are designed to handle high-temperature water, which will melt any ice in the line. If heat isn't appropriate for the job, the constant flow of water itself will also help melt ice blockages, though it may take a little more time than if heated water was used.

To learn more about water jetting or to schedule an appointment for drain cleaning service in your home, contact a local plumber.


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