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Should I Snake Or Should I Hydro-Jet?

When most people have a slow draining sink they pour a bunch of chemicals down the drain and hope for the best. Sometimes you get lucky and that will take care of the clog. Most times you probably need to throw a little more muscle at the problem.

So what is the definition of a little more muscle in the clogged drain world? Let's examine a couple of fixes that would require a plumber such asĀ JMS Express Plumbing.

Snaking Your Pipes

So what exactly is a plumbers snake or as it is known in the trade as a cable auger?

It’s called a snake because it is a long, flexible pipe that can be inserted into the pipes, slowly making its way down to the clog. The end that is placed into the drain has an auger – a drill bit or spiral screw attachment, sometimes with blades – which breaks up the debris clogging the drain. Plumbing snakes can range from about 25ft to 100ft in length.

The plumber slowly lowers the snake into the problem drain, until they feel resistance – this means they’ve found the clog. Now the plumber activates the auger, either with a hand crank or a motorized version. The auger pushes and cuts through the debris, eliminating the clog.

There are a few different types of plumbing snakes, from the manual hand crank type to heavy-duty models. However, for the bathroom sink plumbing, clogs are typically caused by a build-up of soap, hair, skin, and other organic waste flushed down the drain. Thus a simple hand crank snake will usually suffice.

Some of the motorized snakes with blades can be used to tear through roots and tougher clogs, but can also damage plastic or copper pipes. This is why it’s best to consult an experienced plumber such as JMS Express Plumbing to determine what kind of snake to use and to get the job done professionally.

Hydro-Jetting Your Pipes

Hydro-jetting involves a similar mechanism to the snake – a long, pliable pipe that is lowered into the drain. However, unlike the plumbing snake, this pipe has a specialized nozzle on one end and is connected to a water tank on the other.

Like the snaking method, once the plumber feels resistance, they’ve found the clog. However, unlike the snake, the hydro-jet breaks up the clog by releasing a high-pressure stream of water from the nozzle. Hydro-Jets are incredibly effective and can achieve about 4000psi (pounds of force per square inch)

Because jetting is so powerful, it’s perfect for destroying clogs caused by roots without risking pipe damage. However, if your plumber believes that hydro-jetting is necessary, they will usually perform a camera inspection beforehand to check the pipes for any cracks or damage that could be aggravated by the water jet.

Hydro-Jetting is great for removing the nasty build up of grease and minerals that line sewer pipes and drains. Commercial buildings, restaurants, condo and apartment buildings often have a regular service contract with a plumber such as JMS Express Plumbing to prevent unexpected problems.