How to Use a Hydro Jetter

Posted by Spartan Tool on Dec 22, 2022

How to Use a Hydro Jetter

A hydro jetter is an extremely powerful and effective tool for sewer and drain cleaning. Should you come across a particularly tough obstruction in a line, hydrojet drain cleaning machines provide you with some of the most powerful punch available to help get water flowing properly once again. That being said, when operating a hydro jetter, it is important that you be aware of all of the proper procedures involved. This will not only make your job go smoother and easier, but also keep you and anyone else involved safer as well. Spartan Tool is here today to help provide you with the necessary information on how to use a hydro jetter.

Spartan Tool Portable Jetter

What is a Hydro Jetter and What Do They Do?

A hydro jetter, or water jetter, or sewer jetter, or hydrojet drain cleaning machine, or hydro jet, among other names is a high powered machine that uses water propelled by considerable amounts of force to remove blockages in drain or sewer lines, clean the insides of plumbing, among numerous other types of tasks. These are the kinds of drain cleaning tools that are brought in when other more conventional approaches and tools for getting water flowing properly again have failed to get the job done. Hydro jetters come in a variety of forms and styles, depending on how much power, mobility, or utility you are in need of.

Sewer jetters come in a wide variety of different types, as each of them has their own unique strengths and advantages that make them preferable for a number of different applications that you might run into when you are out on a job doing sewer and drain cleaning. Some hydro jets, like skid mount jetters and trailer jetters may provide more power than others, but some can access drains and locations that some cannot. Some hydro jetters, like portable hydro jetters or cart jetters are also easier to move and transport than others. What kind of hydrojet drain cleaning machine will be right for you will depend entirely on what your typical job needs, transport needs, and budget will require of you.

What Hydro Jetters are Used for?

Sewer jetters have a wide variety of different plumbing and non-plumbing related applications, which makes them an incredibly versatile drain cleaning tool to invest in. They make clearing a drain or sewer of a seriously tough clog a total piece of cake when other tools might be having more difficulty getting the job done in an efficient and effective manner. Depending on the type of hydro jetter you have at your disposal, the following things are just some of what you can do in order to make sure that water starts flowing properly through a drain or sewer once again:

  • Scouring pipe walls
  • Washing out sand and silt
  • Flushing out a stagnant system
  • Smashing through clogs of ice
  • Pulverizing oil and grease
  • Removing calcified scale
  • Breaking up tree roots
  • Clearing out debris and sludge

Safety Procedures for Using a Hydro Jetter

One of the most important aspects of using a hydro jetter of any type is being sure that all necessary safety procedures and precautions are followed to the letter. Safety protocols are put into place to prevent a drain obstruction removal job or other type of hydro jetting job from going wrong in any way. Any kind of negligence of these could lead to a variety of different undesirable outcomes, such as property damage, damage to your plumbing equipment, personal injury, and much, much more. It is because of such considerable risks that you will want to make sure that you go about everything you need to.

Safety procedures that operators should follow when operating a hydrojet drain cleaner include the following:

Proper Electrical Grounding

Being mindful of electricity while on a sewer and drain cleaning job involving a hydro jetter is of vital importance. If you are not careful, severe injury or even death can occur. This is why you must make sure to always check a building’s outlets to ensure that they are properly grounded before getting to work. Additionally, you will want to make sure that your hydro jetter’s plug has a grounding prong on it. This will help prevent issues related to lack of proper grounding. Additionally, you will want to keep the electrical cord out of any areas that are wet.

Proper Work Attire

In addition to ensuring that all electrical aspects of a sewer and drain cleaning job are properly tended to before starting a sewer and drain cleaning job, it is also of the utmost importance that you come to work in proper safety gear. You will want to be wearing high quality protective waterproof gloves, safety goggles, coveralls, a hard hat, rubber work boots, a heavy duty raincoat, as well as other well covering attire that leaves as little skin exposed as possible. The dirty water from such jobs can end up causing some serious health problems later on for you if you are not properly protected, as it is full of various contaminants that can cause illness.

Follow Proper Usage Procedures

Once you have taken all of the necessary precautionary steps for going about a sewer and drain cleaning job with a hydrojet drain cleaning machine, you need to be sure to follow the proper procedures for usage. By following these steps, you can avoid a number of serious problems that could pop up while you are working on freeing a line of whatever obstruction is currently blocking the free flow of water:

  • Turn off hydro jetter several times during usage: In order to prevent injury from high water pressure blowing an obstruction and a great deal of water out of a pipe due to a hose being pulled out, it is important to turn off the hydro jetter many times throughout the sewer and drain cleaning procedure.
  • Turn off hydro jetter when within three feet of pipe opening: Make sure that when you are retrieving the hose when using a hydro jetter, the machine is turned off when a minimum of three feet from the opening of the pipe. The reason behind this is that there is a serious risk of the hose coming out of the pipe under full pressure and causing severe injury to yourself, a team member, or anyone else within close proximity to your work area.
  • Put an anti-turn around leader on the end of the hose: When you are in the process of cleaning out the larger sewers with a hydro jetter, you should put an anti-turn around the leader set at the end of its hose. The reason for this is that the anti-turnaround leader when attached to the jetter nozzle will keep the jetter hose from going into the service lateral pipe and then potentially causing serious damage.

How to Use a Hydro Jetter to Clear an Obstruction

Knowing the proper usage of a hydrojet drain cleaner is one of best ways to get the job done efficiently, effectively, and in as little time possible. It enables you to get more sewer and drain cleaning jobs in a day, rather than spending all day or multiple days at the same one.

Spartan Tool Jetter Nozzle

Understanding Jetter Nozzle Importance

One of the most important things that you can be aware of when it comes to using a hydro jetter is that the jetter nozzle is one of the key parts of getting various jobs done. Understanding a jetter nozzle and the way it works will help you get the most out of your water jetter. In addition, knowing what nozzle is best suited to each application will help you even further, as each kind is designed to be able to take on its own individual function with ease and efficiency. Should you use the wrong nozzle for a certain purpose, you will have a much more difficult time ridding the pipe of the obstruction you are dealing with.

To get things started, it is important to understand the importance of flow to pressure ratio. When using a hydro jetter nozzle for general cleaning, you need high flow and low pressure. While you are in the process of washing the inside of a drain or sewer, as you accumulate various forms of debris, you will want to be able to have enough flow to be able to get it moved down the line. Once you get further in and start dealing with harder material such as mortar, encrustation, or possibly solidified grease, you will want to be able to operate at a higher level of pressure with a lower flow in order to remove the material. Because of this, it is common for a sewer and drain cleaning job to require you use more than one kind of nozzle to get things unobstructed once again.

What Jetter Nozzles to Use for Each Application

  • Breaking Blockages: For breaking blockages, you will want a penetrating jetter nozzle. These nozzles have a low-degree jet pattern that provides a significant amount of thrust in order to give as much penetrating power as possible to break through a blockage. Most penetrating jetter nozzles also come equipped with forward jetters – increasing their effectiveness.
  • Cleaning Up Debris: When you need to clean up debris that has been broken up inside a line, a jetter nozzle that is able to move debris down the line is a must. Such nozzles have a low-degree jet pattern and will provide multiple angles. However, their primary purpose is to get heavy sediment moved down the line as efficiently as possible in order for all of the material to be able to be vacuumed.
  • Radius Cleaning: When you have bends in the pipes that you are cleaning, a nozzle capable of radius cleaning is necessary. The reason behind this is that many types of jetter nozzles often leave debris on the inside of the radius. To effectively clean this up, you need a radius jetter nozzle that has 45 degree jets to remove debris from the pipe wall. You then need to follow it up with a 10 degree nozzle to move the debris completely out of the pipe.
  • Grease Cleaning: If you need to cut through grease in a pipeline, there are a wide variety of jetter nozzles available to get the job done. One of the best options however, is a spinning nozzle. Most spinning nozzles come equipped with 30-75 degree jets to do the cutting as well as 10-20 degree jets for thrusting. In addition to that, chain flails do a reliable job for knocking off grease from a pipe wall. Once the chain flail has been put to use, a cleaning nozzle will then be required to get the grease down the line.
  • Light to Medium Roots: When you need to clean and cut through light to medium roots, a slow rotational spinning nozzle will get the job done with efficiency and reliability.
  • Heavy Roots: If you are fighting heavy roots, then you will need to use root saws and chain flails. If you are able to, you will want to use a camera to be used in tandem with these tools to make sure that the pipe does not get damaged.

How to Use a Hydro Jetter Effectively

  1. To get things started, you will first need to find out where the sewer opening in the yard is located. Each home and building typically has one that can be found on the property. You need to find the one for the building you are working at and then remove its cover. This can be done by using a crowbar or a wrench.
  2. Should you be unable to locate the exact location of the obstruction, one of the best places for you to get started is the drain in the building you are working at that is closest to the outside sewer line. Often times, this is the drain on the floor of the bathroom.
  3. Once you get to the opening, you will want to start inserting your cable into the sewer line. From here, you will want to begin turning the handle. This extends your cable down further into the sewer line. The cable will help you start removing whatever obstruction is keeping water from moving properly.
  4. At this point, you can get your hydrojet drain cleaning machine ready to go. Depending on the type and model you have, you will want to follow the specific directions provided to you in the user manual for the one you have. Once you have completely filled up the jet, you will want to turn on the pressure and wait until the gauge gets to the pressure level that your water jetter machine’s manufacturer recommends.
  5. When you get to this point, you will put your hydrojet drain cleaner’s nozzle into the sewer line’s opening. You will start by carefully spraying from the hydro jetter into the line. You will need to be prepared to deal with some back spray – as when you hit whatever obstruction you are up against, it will cause the water to spray backward toward you. One major thing you want to keep in mind is that this water contains bacteria that is considerably harmful, hence the protective gear mentioned earlier. Once all of the back spray has stopped and the water is now freely and easily flowing through the sewer line, the obstruction has been gotten rid of.
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