When a simple plunger or snaking approach fails, the best approach to freeing up your clogged sewer line is hydro jetting. Hydro-jetting sewer lines is a plumbing technology that makes it easier to deal with lateral sewer obstructions, which saves you the trouble of excavating your front yard. When your sewer line is plugged, your home’s plumbing system is effectively inoperational. One of the big risks involved here is that a clogged sewer line can lead to sewage back up inside your home, which can be very costly to repair. 


Your home’s sewer line connects your home to the street, where it meets up with the municipally owned sewer mainline. When your line (a private side sewer) can no longer deliver waste to the mainline, there are two methods commonly used to attempt to restore flow. One of these is the hydro jetting method. It is highly effective and less risky to the sewer pipes, especially if they’re old. At NW Sewer & Drain, we mostly prefer hydro jetting. We often remove roots in a 6” sewer pipe while working through a 4” cleanout or access point.


Indications that You Have a Problem with Your Side Sewer


Many signs reveal issues with your side sewer. Typically, before we begin any work, we will ask you questions to help us understand if it is a mainline sewer backup. This will also help us determine which clearing method would be best. Generally, here are the signs that indicate you have a problem with your private side sewer:



  • Sewage is backing up into the lowest drain, like into a bathtub or shower.
  • More than one drain is not draining.
  • Running water in any faucet results in having water come up into the tub/shower or raises the water level in the toilet.
  • Your drains are not draining or are very slow draining.
  • The sewer is backing up and/or overflowing.


Additionally, we may inquire to know if any work has been done on your sewer line. A general rule of thumb is “The older the home, the higher the risk.” That’s because the older the home is, the older the pipes are. Many of the old sewer lines have gaps where one piece of pipe connects to the next.


So, What Happens Next?


If, after the initial inspection, we determine that your main sewer line is likely the cause of the problem, there are a few steps to take. If your line is problematic but still functioning, we usually start by recommending a scope or video (CCTV) inspection of your sewer line. This allows us to view the inside of your sewer line (pipes) to pinpoint the problems. 


If repair is needed, we can electronically determine the precise location and depth of the damage. Scoping the line often lets us get a look at what is causing the problem. Here are some things that could be causing the blockage:



  • Roots growing inside the sewer line.
  • A soft blockage where the line is blocked up with large amounts of toilet paper or other soft debris.
  • Out-of-grade plumbing, which eventually causes improper draining of water.
  • Grease build-up.
  • Scale that has formed inside the pipes
  • Breaks in the sewer line, erosion holes, offset between pipe sections, collapsed pipe, or worn-out pipe. We have even found old sewer lines that were made of paper and pitch.


Rooter and Hydro Jetter Basics


The other method of dealing with difficult sewer backup is the rooter method. We either use the rooter or hydro jetter method to clear your private side sewer line. The rooter method incorporates a rotating spring steel wound cable with cutting heads. This cable rotates inside the sewer pipe, sweeping away debris and pushing through blockages. Larger rooters are usually electrically driven by motors.


The hydro Jetting method, on the other hand, employs highly pressurized water instead of a physical object to blast through clogs. We recommend a minimum of a 50-horsepower engine that produces 4,000 PSI at 18 Gallons per minute for a four-to-six-inch pipe. Underpowered jetters may not effectively cut through tree roots or clear your line if the clog is fairly large. 


Why Hydro Jetting is Better Than Rootering




Hydro Jetting is the best alternative when rootering doesn’t work. Sewer lines are often backed up mostly because of “soft” items like toilet paper that collect inside the line and tree roots inside the sewer. A rooter simply stirs the soft blockage and just won’t clear the line. The hydro jetter approach uses high-pressure water and liquifies this soft blockage, blowing it further down the sewer line. Besides, hydro jetting is less risky as we use a camera that allows us to identify and focus on the precise location of the problem.


At NW Sewer & Drain, we have been in the sewer and drain business for nearly 20 years, using our years of experience to make the best recommendations. Our goal is to restore the flow of your sewer line so you can get on back to everyday life. If you’re dealing with a clog or would like to have your plumbing system cleaned out, hydro jetting may be the right solution for you. Call us today at 206-931-7728 to learn more.


Skip to content