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Hydro Jetting Versus Rooting

Commercial businesses must always have clear sewer lines to avoid business interruption. This is especially important for restaurant owners, who need also to clear grease traps to avoid problems with a backed up drain pipe and troubles with health department inspections. This is important in all of Arizona, in Maricopa County, and in the bigger cities like Phoenix and Tucson. It is equally important in the smaller towns of Mesa, Glendale, Scottsdale, Gilbert, Tempe, Chandler, Peoria, Surprise, Avondale, and Goodyear. Every place, big or small, has county or city health inspectors that check these things on a regular basis.

Sewer Line Maintenance is Important

Regular cleaning of sewer drains and the main sewer line prevents a backed up sewer pipe. A proper maintenance schedule of commercial drain cleaning makes sure there are no tree roots blocking the sewer lines. Frequent inspection, when flushing out drain lines, helps to identify problems with pipe breakage, leakage, or damage.

Drain Pipe Cleaning Methods

There are essentially two commonly used methods for unclogging a sewer pipe that are used for sewer clearing and sewer cleaning. These are hydro-jetting and rooting (also called “snaking”).

Comparison of the Techniques

Rooting essentially drills a hole through the blockage to open the sewer drain line, but leaves lots of debris behind. Rooting pushes some of the debris down the pipe, which has a tendency to get stuck and back up again at a joint or a turn in the pipe. Rooting is reasonably effective for soft debris like paper, but has more difficulty than jetting, when passing through tough debris like tree roots.

The jetting process starts by using a laser penetrating tip attachment to the water pressure hose. This tip is small (about the width of a pencil), so it moves easily down the pipe. It shoots 12 gallons per minute at 4,000 PSI. The water pressure is adjustable in the range of 2,000 PSI to 8,000 PSI. For most jobs, 4,000 PSI is the appropriate amount.

From the hydrojet tip one stream of high-pressure water goes forward and three streams go backwards to propel the hydrojetting tip down the pipe, while simultaneously pushing all the debris ahead of the hydrojet tip to flush them down the pipe.

There are other nozzles used for different challenges that have more reverse streams. Some have a larger circumference for use in larger pipes and for different conditions.

Hydrojetting opens and cleans the sewer line of all debris, flushing out the pipe, and washing the pipe completely clean. Hydro-jetting is faster and more efficient than rooting. It is not hampered when the hydro-jet tip reaches a joint. The hydro jet tip easily passes by any joints or turns in the pipe as well.


Rooting is a cheaper short term fix, but it is only a temporary solution and you get what you pay for, needing to repeat the procedure often to keep the drains flowing. Rooting drills a hole through the blockage, has trouble making turns to follow the pipe or getting past joint, and leaves plenty of material behind in the pipe.

Jetting is more effective, clears the pipes of all debris, easily passes through turns, and clears the joints. The effective sewer clearing done by jetting lasts longer, than rooting attempts.

The one caution is that the pipes need to be professionally inspected prior to jetting to make sure they are of sufficient strength to withstand the jetting pressure. Extremely old and weak sewer pipes may break under the jetting pressure. In that case rooting is safer. Jetting normally runs at around 4,000 psi. Adjusting the jetting to use less pressure of 2,000 psi is an option for more delicate pipes.

Competent hydro-jetting companies always conduct a pipe inspection before beginning the jetting process.

Of the two methods used to clear blocked sewer drains, hydro jetting is the vastly superior and preferred method.