Traditionally, sewer lines clogged by tree roots have had the roots physically removed through a professional extending a rotating blade along a cable known as a plumbing snake. More recently, however, a process known as hydro-jetting has been gaining in popularity as an alternative means to clear a blocked pipe. Hydro-jetting equipment sends a highly pressurized stream of water down the sewer line, blasting stubborn grease and roots as it goes. But while hydro-jetting has its advantages, there are also times when plumbing snakes are still the superior choice for tree roots. These are four factors to consider when choosing between the two options.
Checking the Lines Beforehand
As you might expect, all of that pressure behind the water used in hydro-jetting can be risky if the pipe itself is broken. When a plumbing snake encounters an obstacle it can't overcome, it will stop. A wall of water with thousands of pounds of pressure pushing it forward will simply keep pushing. Because of this, it is necessary to insert a camera down the line prior to hydro-jetting to make sure things are otherwise in good order, and this can increase the cost of the service significantly.
Blasting Tree Roots or Cutting Them
Hydro-jetting is regarded by many as a clearly superior tool for clearing out grease, but the performance of hydro-jetting is roughly equal to that of a snake when it comes to tree roots. The advantage of hydro-jetting is that it is relatively easy to adjust the pressures as needed, depending on the thickness of the roots in question. Even the most stubborn roots can eventually be destroyed through the persistent application of pressurized water. When a snake isn't up to the task, it must be retracted, swapped out for a more powerful model, and then re-inserted so the plumber can try again.
As hydro-jetting becomes more widespread, the costs associated with it should continue to decrease. In most areas, however, plumbing snakes are still the more economical option. On the other hand, the improved cleaning efficiency of hydro-jetting could save you the expense of another sewer service call later on. If you have a limited budget, a snake can usually get the job done for slightly less, but hydro-jetting may be the wiser investment in the long run.
Scouring Your Pipes Clean
The reason why hydro-jetting can reduce your maintenance costs later is its ability to completely scour pipes clean. Snakes break up roots and may pull some of the obstruction out with them, but they often simply drag grease and twigs along to another part of the line. Pressurized water solves this problem by blasting the debris continuously, shoving it down to the larger public sewer lines and leaving your pipes fully opened. If you are still unsure about which option will be best for your current sewer problems, contact a sewer service such as DBR Plumbing in your area for a professional opinion and an initial estimate today.