Hydrojetting has been around for a while but it has been growing in popularity for use by plumbers in recent years. It’s been growing as the tools and equipment required for effective hydro jetting have become more affordable for independent contractors and easier to load on the truck. When you call a professional plumber about a clog in your pipes, they might recommend hydro jetting. So, what is it?
What Is Hydro Jetting?
Hydro Jetting is the process of spraying highly pressurized water into your pipes to scour them. The pressure will hopefully wash away buildup on the pipes and break up clogs. To do it effectively, a plumber will likely access a cleanout somewhere on your property. That is an opening in the plumbing system that allows a plumber to easily access the pipes. They’ll then connect the hose to the cleanout. They’ll pump water through the pipes at as much as 5,000 psi.
It’s very important that the plumber choose the right pressure for the situation and the type of pipes. For example, clay pipes are more susceptible to cracking or breaking under high pressure; you wouldn’t use as much pressure for those old underground pipes. Also, a tree root will likely be unaffected by hydro jetting. So, if the plumber were to jet pipes blocked by a thick tree root, it could just create uncontrollable pressure and burst a pipe.
That’s why plumbers will often use a drain camera before they jet the pipes. They’ll work the camera through the pipes to find the source of the clog. Then they’ll blow it out with the hydrojets.
Who Needs It?
Hydro Jetting is best used when there is a clog far along in your pipes. It’s also most effective when the clog needs to be broken up. For example, a clog of fat and paper towels somewhere in your sewer main could be broken up with a concentrated blast of high pressure water. If you have a clog of hair in one of your sink drains, you wouldn’t go through the trouble of jetting it. In that case, you’d use a chemical to dissolve the hair or just fish it out with a drain snake.
Hydro Jetting can often eliminate the need to trench a yard. If a clog is far along in the plumbing, it could be under the backyard and not easily accessible. If you can’t access it, it will either have to be blown out or the pipe would have to be uprooted.
Of the many obvious dangers to your pipes, most of them come from inside the pipes. If you flush hard objects, fat, paper towels, or anything else that can clog a pipe, you could have a problem. A major danger comes from outside of the pipes, though; that danger is tree roots.
Tree Root Dangers
Tree roots are very slow-moving but they are very persistent. Pipes and septic tanks that are underground are in danger of a tree’s roots. The roots will grow over the course of years. They’ll slowly wrap around the pipes or septic tank. As the tree grows, the roots will throw thicker and thicker, creating a tighter and tighter squeeze on the pipes. Eventually, they’ll grow thick enough that they damage the pipes. In some cases, they’ll compress the metal of the pipe until water no longer flows freely. In other cases, they’ll actually just break the pipes. Oftentimes, you won’t even notice that you have a problem until sewage starts flooding your backyard.
Recognizing The Dangers
A general rule of thumb is that roots will grow as wide as the branches of the tree. So, if the branches of a tree hang over a septic tank or pipes, the roots might be burrowing into them underground.
So, what can you do about it? First, you should call a plumber to inspect your pipes. It could be that the pipes are deep enough that they’ll be unaffected by tree roots. It’s also possible that the tree is a type that doesn’t have a wide root spread.
Depending on the nature of the problem, the professionals will respond in different ways. If the roots are worming their way into the pipes themselves, a problem common to clay pipes, then they’ll likely bore out the pipes to clear the roots. If the pipes are crushed or cracked by the roots, they’ll likely cut the roots and replace the pipes. They might also coat the pipes in something that kills roots. It won’t kill the entire tree, but the roots will die when they come into contact with the pipes.
The pipes can also be coated in cement to prevent the roots from breaking through. This has been popular for years with commercial lines and has just begun to be used for residential lines.
These are a few of the options you have to remedy pipes endangered by tree roots. The first step is calling a professional.