7 Tips for Using a Pressure Washer Sewer Jetter

Every day, America relies on more than 1 million miles of piping to deliver water to its homes and businesses. Even more, piping then takes that water into all the places in our buildings that we need and use it. 

With so many miles of twists and turns, there’s lots of room for things to go wrong. Sooner or later, clogged drains become an inevitable part of life for every property. 

When clogs strike, a pressure washer sewer jetter can get things flowing again in no time. But, like any tool, jetters only work when used correctly and safely. Here are the top 7 things you need to know to make a sewer jet work for you. 

1. Act Sooner Rather Than Later

Small clogs are easier to dislodge than big ones. Thinner layers of grease and other buildups are faster and easier to pressure-wash away than thick encrustments.

When you start to notice slow drains, backups, and other signs of clogging, don’t wait. Get out your pressure washer sewer jetter and tackle the problem sooner rather than later. 

You’ll save yourself time, money, and hassle by acting early.  

2. Check Your Water Source

Often, when people learn how to use a sewer jetter, one important piece gets missed — water pressure. 

Without high enough water pressure, even the best jetters and the best technique won’t get the results you need. Yet water pressure is far from consistent. Municipal water systems, wells, and tanks can all have different flow rates.

Worse, if you’re using a limited water supply you can risk damaging your pump! Running out of water in a tank or other water source while operating the jetter can lead to expensive pump burnout and replacement. 

To prevent this, check your water flow rate before you start. If the flow is less than five or six gallons per minute, consider using an alternative source. Alternatively, install an auto-shutoff to protect your pump. 

3. Use the Right Pressure Washer Sewer Jetter Nozzle(s) for the Job

Choosing the right pressure washer drain cleaning nozzle is a key part of achieving success with a jetter. Depending on the reason for the drain clog, you may need:

  • Low pressure but high flow
  • High pressure but low flow

The angle of the jets on a given nozzle also matters. 

Jets with angles between 0 and 10 degrees are ideal for breaking up tough clogs and cutting through debris. Jets with angles between 15 and 20 degrees can work for pipe wall cleaning and washing out debris. Jets with angles between 10 and 45 degrees are best for pipe wall cleaning.

Some nozzles may feature jets at several different angles, improving their multi-tasking ability. Nozzles may also be available in spinning varieties designed specially to cut through thick or troublesome materials. 

4. Check Your Hose Size

Sewer jetter hose comes in numerous sizes. Thinner hoses are necessary for smaller drains. They can also be a good choice for larger drains in which you need maximum flexibility. 

Thicker hoses are typically less flexible but can bring higher water pressure to bear on tough clogs. This can make clearing a drain go much more quickly and easily. 

Using a too-thick hose, however, can be a disaster. If your hose gets stuck in your drain, you can end up with even worse problems than you started with. 

Always do your homework when selecting your hose size. When in doubt, use a smaller one!  

5. Keep an Eye on the Temperature 

In temperate climates or good weather, this may not be a common concern. In colder or intemperate climates, however, freezing or burning out your pump can be a very real risk! 

Because your sewer jetting machine will often be in use outside or in places like basements, it may be exposed to unusual heat or cold while you are working. Water freezing in your pump or hose before, during, or after use can ruin your machine and its accessories. 

Keep an eye on the temperature and take steps to prevent freezing or overheating. Always store your equipment promptly and responsibly after use to keep it in good working order. 

If necessary, use anti-freeze to protect your pump or an air compressor to drive any lingering water out of equipment before storing it. 

6. Keep Things Moving 

Sewer drain cleaner hoses aren’t meant to sit still. Use a forward-and-back motion to push the pipe in, then drag it about half as far as you pushed it in. Repeat the movement consistently throughout the job. 

This two-steps-forward, one-step-back rocking motion has several benefits, including:

  • It prevents hoses from getting deeply wedged or stuck in the piping
  • It allows nozzle jets to work the same space from multiple angles
  • It prevents new buildup from happening behind the nozzle, stopping new clogs before they start
  • It makes the job go faster

Additionally, consider getting a machine (or accessories) which gives you the option of vibrating or pulsing the nozzle while the jetter is in use. While it may sound strange, hoses and nozzles that are always in motion are less likely to become stuck or jammed in piping. 

7. Put Safety First

Pressure washers and sewer jetters are serious pieces of equipment. Using them unsafely or incorrectly carries very real risks. 

You could damage the equipment, the drains, or other building infrastructure. Worse, you could seriously injure yourself or someone else. In either case, the situation is likely to get expensive fast. 

Take the time to:

  • Review all instructions and safety features for your equipment
  • Inspect your equipment to ensure it is in good working order before you begin
  • Learn which nozzles to use in which situations
  • Install safety features, such as auto-shutoffs, where appropriate
  • Don appropriate personal protective equipment, where appropriate
  • Verify that your work area is clean and free of hazards before beginning 

These simple steps protect you, your building, and your equipment every time.  

Tackle Tough Clogs Today

Now that you have these 7 insider tips, you’re ready to get the most out of your pressure washer sewer jetter. Review the safety features, check your equipment, and start putting your jetter to more effective use today! 

For more advice to help your home, be sure to check out the rest of this website.