Plumbing Repairs can be daunting especially when you are not sure exactly what is wrong. A clogged home drain represents an unknown problem until it’s fully explored. That’s because the resistance or blockage can be anything from small organic material to something much more challenging, like a lost toy or a root penetration. Because of the ambiguity when first trying to solve a plumbing blockage in a household line, identification of the right tool for repair makes a big difference. The two effective tools most plumbers have on hand involve the plumbing snake and now hydro jetting.

Plumbing Repair – The Facts About Hydro Jetting vs. Snaking

plumbing repair

Tools Are Better Than Chemicals

Plumbing repair solutions like Drano provide minor solutions that work on solidified grease, hair, and similar organic waste. However, these plumbing repair options don’t do much in the way of removing hard material problems that take a mechanical tool.

The Advantages of the Snake and Hydro Jetting

A plumbing repair for a hard material takes a tool that can break through it. The plumbing snake, for example, involves a cable apparatus that worms its way through the pipe, twisting and dislodging material to clear the line. The snake cable is twisted forcefully using an electric engine, and the force works its way through anything the snake encounters that can be moved. It also uses blades at the working end to cut up hard material as the cable twists. It’s the next step up when basic solutions don’t work.

The snake is not a new technology; created back in 1933 with the help of then-new electrical motors, the auger design proved very effective for plumbing repair in cutting up roots penetrating early plumbing. Since then, the snake has been a standard in plumbing repair and is even sold generically in hardware stores for consumers to use themselves.

The snake comes in different variations too, including a mini-rooter version, a large drain version, a mini-rooter, and a top snake. The differences have been developed over time to deal with different plumbing repair problems and pipe sizes.

Water Hydro Jetting Plumbing Repair

Hydro jetting, alternatively, also moves through the plumbing line being repaired, but it uses high-pressure water to dislodge blockages. The pressure is strong enough to move most materials in this plumbing repair method. Additionally, because water does not compress, the added force pushes water already in the pipe, creating more pressure. Eventually, the jet force can push most plumbing repair problems through and free the line. It tends to work better on tougher plumbing repair problems when comparing snaking vs. hydro jetting

Problems With a Snake Approach

Many of the concerns generated by snake tools come from the scale of power used to make it work. The snake motor can either be twisted manually or with a motor, as mentioned earlier. The torque involved, however, can make problems worse by damaging the inside of pipes if too strong. Other problems come with using the wrong size snake, such as a large choice that gets stuck in the line by wedging into the inside surface. That could even require the removal of the plumbing section. Many of these challenges occur because of the very first problem: not knowing exactly what caused the blockage until it is removed.

A snake tool is a poor choice when dealing with:

  • A catastrophic blockage of grease
  • A root penetration
  • Clearing a main line from the top of a house
  • Epoxy liner on the inside of the plumbing
  • Cast iron plumbing that has significant corrosion inside

Snake tools work very well when dealing with soft matter, whether that’s food, paper, loose matter, hair, spongy matter, and similar.

Hydro jetting is not a good choice for the following:

  • A clogged line that doesn’t have some kind of drain
  • A soft blockage
  • Heavy corrosion residue inside iron plumbing from corrosion
  • The plumbing is in a tight, compacted place which will fill quickly with the excess water involved

In conclusion, when faced with a stubborn clog in your home’s plumbing system, choosing the right tool for repair is crucial to ensuring a successful and efficient solution.

The debate between snaking and hydro jetting provides valuable insights into the advantages and disadvantages of each method. Plumbing snakes, with their long history and various adaptations, excel at tackling soft matter blockages but may pose challenges when dealing with more complex issues like root penetrations or catastrophic grease buildups.

On the other hand, hydro jetting, harnessing the power of high-pressure water, proves effective in dislodging tough blockages but may not be suitable for certain scenarios, such as soft blockages or compacted spaces.

Understanding the specific nature of the plumbing problem at hand is key to making an informed decision between these two powerful yet distinct repair approaches. Ultimately, with the right knowledge and choice of tools, homeowners and professionals alike can confidently address plumbing issues and keep their drainage systems flowing smoothly.

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About the Author: Patricia Davis Brown

Patricia, like her blog, is not a one-dimensional designer, which is evident in her accolades of 17 national design awards. Over a 38-year career in the industry, she has carved a niche in several areas of design. Licensed in interior design and certified in kitchen and bath design, she offers a full menu of design services ranging from whole house interior design, kitchen and bath design, lighting design, full remodels, commercial design and universal (ADA) design. Patricia is a sought-after speaker in the industry and has been published in many publications as seen on her interior design firm’s website, She writes for such publications as QuinStreetinc, Relaxed Remodeler, and talent offering design tips.