Top 11 Sewer Jetter Safety Tips

Posted by Spartan Tool on Dec 22, 2022

Top 11 Sewer Jetter Safety Tips

A hydro jetter is a heavy-duty piece of machinery. Regardless of its size, configuration, or level of power, it is most certainly not something that can be fooled around with or taken lightly. It is not a toy. There are a number of safety concerns that you must take into consideration and caution you must exercise when using a hydrojet drain cleaner for a sewer and drain cleaning job. To help keep you safe when operating one, Spartan Tool has compiled a list of the top 11 safety tips for you to keep in mind and abide by when out on a job.

Sewer Jetter Safety Tips

Although there are numerous potential hazards that can come along with the territory of hydro jetter operation, there are also plenty of practical ways to go about avoiding them and making the sewer and drain cleaning job a great deal safer. Like the common saying goes, ‘Safety First’. One of the most vital places for this to be kept in mind is with hydrojet drain cleaning. The following sewer jetter safety tips have been compiled by experts in order to help you do your best work while making sure that nothing gets out of control or goes awry at any point:

Spartan Tool Sewer Jetter

1. Always Use the Correct Nozzle for the Job

When you are in the process of carrying out a sewer and drain cleaning job, you need to make sure that you are always using the correct jetter nozzle for the particular work you are doing. This entails ensuring that the jetter nozzle that you use is sized appropriately for the diameter of the pipe that you intend to remove a clog from and then subsequently clean the walls of in order to prevent further build-up that could lead to more clogging.

Additionally, you want to make sure that the jetter nozzle being used is engineered to address the specific type of obstruction you are dealing with, such as grease clogs, hair, tree roots, etc. That being said, it is considered best practice to start with a penetrating jetter nozzle of a smaller variety and then work your way up to a bigger cleaning jetter nozzle (i.e. a flushing nozzle).

2. Keep Yourself Fully Covered

One of the most important aspects of conducting a sewer and drain cleaning job does not so much have to do with drain cleaning tools such as hydro jetters as it is with yourself and what you are wearing. Water from obstructed plumbing can often contain harmful bacteria that can end up doing some serious damage to your personal health and well-being. Because of this, when operating a sewer jetter, you want to make sure that every part of your skin is covered. You do NOT want to come into contact with any of this kind of water.

Examples of the kinds of covering you should adorn yourself with when you are operating a hydrojet drain cleaner include things such as: coveralls, safety glasses, heavy-duty waterproof gloves, rubber boots with metatarsal guards, hard hats, and possibly a full face shield, depending on the environment you are working in. This may seem a tad bit excessive, but it is most certainly not. Each piece of safety equipment is vital to preventing any health and safety related problems while out on a sewer and drain cleaning job. Make sure you never leave for any such operation without a single one of them.

3. Be Careful with Gasoline

When you are looking to refuel your hydro jet, there are a number of safety factors that you need to keep in mind. As you are likely well aware, gasoline by its very nature is extremely flammable and also explosive under the right conditions. Because of this, you want to make sure that when you are refueling your hydro jetter that you are doing so in an area that is well ventilated with the engine at a complete stop. Additionally, you should absolutely NOT allow any smoke, flames, or sparks into the tank or the area where the gasoline is being stored. You should NEVER smoke or ignite a lighter of any kind when you are refueling a water jetter machine.

4. Caution with Hot Water

If you are using a hydro jetter that uses hot water to aid in the process of removing an obstruction and cleaning the insides of a building’s plumbing, you want to take great care in how you handle your equipment. You will always want to be absolutely certain that you NEVER set the overall temperature above 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Setting the temperature any higher than that can cause damage to the plumbing as well potential serious personal injury to yourself as well as any other team members or other people who may be within the immediate vicinity of the hydro jetter.

5. Start Off Slow

An important thing to keep in mind when you are going about hydro jetting in a drain or sewer is that you do not want to start off going full speed. It is actually better if you begin hydro jetting at a lower amount of water pressure. The reason behind this is that if you are attempting to remove tree roots from a pipe, the roots will fold up and drop down again uncut if you start off too fast. If you give your jetter nozzle and root cutters a chance to do their job properly, you can get it right the first time. You just need to have a little bit of patience. In addition to that, you can conserve water by starting off with lower water pressure.

6. Pull Back in Short Bursts

One thing you need to avoid doing when you are using a water jetter machine to remove an obstruction from a drain or sewer is putting the hose down into the pipe for a considerable distance and then pulling the entire hose up completely. Doing this will pull all of the clog causing obstructions back to the plumbing fixture or cleanout. What will then happen is high water pressure can blow the obstruction as well as a significant amount of water out of the pipe and cause a sizable mess and possibly personal injury to you and others nearby.

In order to circumvent this, what you want to do is turn your hydro jetter off and back on many times during the procedure of removing the clog. The reason for this is that shutting off the water lets the water and whatever debris there may be in the pipe to seek a lower level and flow away from the opening of the pipe.

7. Work Upstream First

When you are pushing water through a drain or sewer using a hydro jetter, you want to make sure that you do not go with the flow at first. You want to work upstream at the start, and then pull any debris back downstream. The reason behind this is that if you go about things any other way, the water coming from your water jetter machine will begin to fill up the pipe until you are able to pierce your way through whatever blockage is clogging up the pipe. This is a risky situation due to the fact that when water in a sewer line is not provided with any other place for it to go, it might move down into service lines and come up through toilets or drains in houses or other buildings that are nearby where you are currently working. Needless to say, this is a situation you do NOT want to end up having to deal with.

8. Put Safety Markers on the Hose

There are a number of things you can do to help improve the level of personal safety during a sewer and drain cleaning operation. Some of these are simpler than others, such as putting safety markers on your jetter hose. The reason that you would want to do this is because it can alert you or anyone else on your team that is operating the hydro jetter that the head of the hose is about to emerge from the end of the pipe. One way you can do this is by putting a 15-foot section of red hose at the end, with the rest of the hose you are using being colored black. When the sewer jetter operator sees the red section of the hose coming out, they will know the end is near to the end of the pipe.

9. Check Your Trailer

From time to time, it is highly recommended that you make sure that you check and retighten all of the lug nuts and fasteners on your trailer jetter’s trailer. The reason behind this is that trailers can make a significant amount of vibration, and this can in turn loosen these things up. The last thing you need while out on the road to or from a sewer and drain cleaning job is for something on your hydro jetter’s trailer to fall out and have catastrophic failure of the entire rig. By doing the necessary checks and retightenings, you can avoid a great deal of time, stress, and money and instead get on another job to increase profit.

10. Avoid Water That is Being Jetted

While you are operating a hydrojet drain cleaning machine, you NEVER want to touch the water that is being jetted. That means not pointing it at yourself or others. Not only is the water being jetted full of bacteria and other health risks, but it is being pushed at such a high velocity that it can result in serious personal injury that can lead to hospitalization. Jetted water can move from anywhere between 2,000 PSI to 4,000 PSI, so it is best that you only aim the jetter nozzle in the areas that it needs to be in while the sewer jetter is being operated.

11. Jetter Hose Placement

Placement of your jetter hose is also an important factor to be mindful of when you are doing a sewer and drain cleaning job with a sewer jetter. When you are in the process of cleaning out a clog in a drain or sewer, you want to make sure that the jetter hose is placed into the pipe at a minimum of three feet before you engage the high pressure pump. Failure to do this can end up resulting in the jetter hose exiting the pipe prematurely, which in turn can cause serious personal injury to yourself as well as anyone else who might happen to be within your immediate vicinity. Such injury can lead to serious hospitalization and should be avoided at all costs.

In addition to this, you should also make sure that when you are turning off the water pressure and retrieving the jetter hose, the hose and jetter nozzle are within a minimum of three feet from the opening of whatever pipe you are in the process of cleaning out. Like with placing a jetter hose into a pipe and engaging the water pressure, this too can result in serious personal injury if you fail to abide by this safety procedure.

Additional Steps to Follow

Aside from the sewer jetter safety tips mentioned thus far, there are a few other things that you should keep in mind while you are in the process of conducting a sewer and drain cleaning job. These bits of useful safety knowledge can end up making a significant difference in the level of overall safety and can ensure that everything goes according to plan. These extra steps that you should follow when using a hydro jetter include things like:

  • Make sure that when you are using sewer jetters, you only do so in areas that are well-ventilated and do everything necessary to avoid breathing in any spray mist from any dirty drain pipes that you are working on cleaning. These can cause potentially life threatening infection, so you want to do all that you can to shield yourself from them.
  • When you are in the process of removing the water jetter machine from a drain or sewer after you have finished up the job, it is of the utmost importance that you stop the water flow from the machine long before the jetter nozzle gets to the opening of the cleanout.
  • Do not use a hydro jetter in pipes that have chemical cleaners in order to avoid having any burns inflicted on you or anyone else from the corrosive fluid.
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