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There is nothing worse than coming home from work to find you have a clogged drain. Or perhaps you get up one Saturday morning to cook breakfast for your family, and you find out your sink isn’t draining at all. If you live long enough, you will encounter a clogged drain. Sometimes you’re lucky, and you can unclog your drain with a plunger or a liquid drain cleaner. However, if you have to call a plumber, he or she may tell you that they need to use a hydro jet or a snake to unclog your pipes. What’s the difference? Let us explain. 

Why Do My Drains Clog?

Drains clog for many different reasons. Usually, it is because grease or oil from cooking or bathing gets snagged with hair, skin, or food particles. Over time, that mixture of grease, fats, oils, and other particles can become large and blog your drain. These clogs happen whether pipes are new or old–although older pipes are more narrow and tend to have more clogs. 

What Is The Difference Between Snakes and Hydro Jetting?

Plumbing Snakes

Plumbing snakes look like their namesake. They have a long tube made of metal, and there is a cable attached to the tube with a blade or a corkscrew attached. Some of the snakes are hand-cranked, while others are electric or battery operated. Plumbing snakes range in sizes and diameters from ¼ to 9/16, and lengths from 5 feet to 100 feet and longer. They can also come in straight designs, which are used for sinks and a curved one for toilets. 

Plumbing snakes are pushed down the drain until they meet resistance. Then the plumber turns the crank or pushes a button to grab the clog. The plumber is then able to pull on the clog and remove it from the drain. 

Hydro Jetting

Instead of using blades to get rid of a clog, hydro jets use a pressurized hose. A machine creates water pressure. Pressurized water acts like a powerful tool to bust a clog out of the drain and allow water to flow again. Hydro jets can also blast tree roots out of your pipes as well, which makes hydro jetting an essential tool in a plumber’s toolkit. If the pipe is damaged, however, the hydro-jet cannot be used. In many cases, the plumber will use a small camera to look down your drain to make sure it isn’t damaged before they use this tool. 

When Is Each Tool Used?

Plumbing snakes are usually used when a clog is minor or when a homeowner tells the plumber that something, such as a ring, a toy, or other objects went into the drain. Snakes can also be a warning that more severe issues with the plumbing exist. Hydro jets are used when there is a significant clog in a pipe. They can also clear your pipes of material such as minerals, grease, and tree roots. While plumbing snakes are temporary, hydro jets are a more permanent solution. 

If you are having a plumbing problem, give us a call today, and let us help you get rid of that clog. 

Billy Henley
Billy Henley is the Vice President of Operations for BHI Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning. Before becoming vice president, he worked six years in the field as a service technician and has over ten years of experience working in the industry. Billy often shares his knowledge about plumbing and HVAC issues on industry publications.