Clogged pipes are a homeowner’s worst nightmare. Even a small clog leads to bigger issues down the road. Fortunately, removing a clog is usually a straightforward process. Some homeowners even tackle basic clogs themselves.

At PlumbPRO Services, we know the types of clogs impacting pipes and plumbing in your area. We often get questions from customers about the best way to clear pipes. This comes down to snaking and hydrojetting.

Here, we’ll walk you through the process of each and describe snaking and hydrojetting in greater detail.

What is Snaking?

The snake, or electric auger, was designed in 1933. It was meant to remove tree roots from city sewage pipes. Today, augers are used in all kinds of ways and come in electric and manual operations.

The snake is a long wire-like device that is fed down the drain. The end of the snake has a claw or hook to snag the clog. The wire is rotated as it enters the pipe, slowly breaking up blockages as it presses in.

You can purchase a snake from most hardware stores. Some are small and lightweight. These are called mini-rooters and are good for removing surface-level clogs near the drain. Clogs involving toilet paper, hair, or similar items are easily managed with a mini-rooter.

For deeper clogs, you need a heavy-duty snake. There are also large snakes used for mainline sewage systems.

Sometimes a snake won’t get the job done, for example:

  • Large compact grease clogs
  • Drains that have undergone repairs in the past
  • Tree roots in the drain line
  • Old drain lines made of cast iron
  • Main drain line clogs that require clearing from roof level

Knowing the difference between snakes is important. Choosing the wrong tool could damage the delicate plumbing setup in your home. Before you begin any project with a snake or rooter, consult a professional to ensure you have the right tool for the job.

What is Hydrojetting?

Hydrojetting is an older practice than the snake. It was invented right here in the U.S. in the 1800s, but it wasn’t used for what you might think. Hydrojetting was originally a tool of miners. Water was pressurized and used to clear minerals and debris from mine shafts.

Modern hydrojetting is used regularly to clear pipes in homes, businesses, and city sewage systems. Like a snake, you can purchase a hydro jet in different sizes depending on the job. The hose and nozzle are customizable for the length and size of the drain and clog type.

Hydro jets aren’t appropriate for some types of plumbing jobs, including:

  • Simple clogs that could be better solved by a mini-rooter snake
  • Clogged drains that have no cleanout
  • Old cast iron pipes
  • Pipes in crawl spaces that risk flooding

Unlike the snake, which rotates down the drain to break up the clog and pull it out, a hydro jet forces pressurized water down the pipe. It pushes through the blockage rather than attempting to pull it up.

The Risks of Both Tools

Both hydrojetting and snaking can cause damage if used improperly. This is one of the biggest reasons we recommend calling a professional to manage most clogs. Even if a clog appears to be small and surface level, there could be a larger blockage or buildup beneath the surface somewhere.

Using the wrong tool for the wrong job could have a negative impact on your home. Both snakes and hydro jets risk pushing clogs deeper and lodging them more firmly in your sewage system. There’s also a chance that old or already damaged pipes could be damaged further in the process.

Price Comparison: Snaking and Hydrojetting

A basic mini-rooter snake can be as little as $30 to purchase at a hardware store. Electric augers with more power and reach run closer to $500. Professional snaking services vary by provider but cost $100 to $250 on average, depending on clog and location.

A hydro jet costs $6,000 to $16,000 to buy. This isn’t a tool many homeowners own and for good reason. Using a hydro jet requires training and know-how. You can purchase hydrojetting services for somewhere between $300 to $1,000. Price varies by service and clog type.

Call a Professional

If you live in Ambler and are dealing with a clogged pipe, we can help. Our team at PlumbPRO Services deals with clogs of all shapes and sizes. We have the right tools to tackle jobs big and small. Call today for an estimate and speak to one of our knowledgeable professionals.