It doesn’t matter what you call it, hydro jetter, sewer jetter, or even water jetter, as long as it clears that annoying blockage that’s all that matters. Gone are the days where you need to call out a professional to bring their powerful machines to clean your obstructions. With regular cleaning, you will prevent the big issues from occurring, and you can forget about paying contractors to snake or hydro jet your drains forever. The best thing about this is, with just a simple attachment, you can turn your pressure washer into a sewer jetter and clean your own drains and sewer lines with ease.
How Does a Sewer Jetter Work?
Pipe blockages are usually caused by simple things, such as a big chunk of paper material, hair, grease, sludge, sometimes even tree roots manage to entirely obstruct drainage pipes. Other times it’s just time, as time has gone on, debris has stuck to the walls of the pipe, which gradually narrows down the free passage, which then something big goes down the pipe and blocks all the free space.
When a blockage such as this happens, the majority of plumbers will try a process called sewer snaking as a first port to call, this is a reel of a long cable that wiggles about through the pipe. Snaking is a fantastic plumbers tool, but all it does is merely open up the drain line. Sewer jetting, on the other hand, not only opens the drain line, but it also cleans the lines, removing that built-up debris, giving you a longer-lasting and much better result.
Undoubtedly, you’ve seen your pressure washer in action, so you know exactly how powerful cleaning with pressurized water is. A sewer jetter has a long hose with a nozzle at the end, which lets out between 3 and 6 super-pressurized water streams.
As you snake the hose through your pipes, it’s these powerful jets (which is why it’s called a ‘jetter’) blasts the internal walls of your pipes with such force, that any built-up debris is broken down and flushed away. These powerful streams are what make cleaning blockages easy and long term. Having used a sewer jetter, I can’t tell you how easy it was.
Can I Use a Pressure Washer as a Sewer Jetter?
A sewer jetter used by a contractor is essential, just a high-pressure pump and a long hose, with a very specific nozzle design. This is why DIY-ing the pipe cleaning job is so simple, all you need is an attachment for your pressure washer.
Though do bear in mind that these professional sewer jetters come with an incredibly powerful high-pressure pump. For the most part, your domestic/residential pressure washer won’t be a match for them. These things are big, trailer-mounted sewer jetters which are operated by a pressure pump can work with up to 25 gallons of water per minute. Our little pressure washer pumps out ~10% of that.
So your home-use pressure washer is definitely nowhere near as powerful, but that’s not to say you can’t use it to clean smaller obstructions and by using it for result maintenance of your pipes and sewer lines. Actually, by doing regular maintenance, you can potentially avoid having to ever call out a contractor and their expensive and large machines. Though we do still need a lot of pressure and a strong stream of water, so not every pressure washer is going to be right for the job.
So, how does your pressure washer compare to a sewer jetter, and what does that mean?
1. PSI and GPM Requirements
Sewer jetters aren’t a one size fits all, they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Their pounds per square inch (PSI), you know, the pressure rating, are usually within reach of a domestic-use pressure washer, even the smaller electric models. A sewer jetter pump will pressurize water somewhere between 1500 and 4000 PSI.
It’s the gallons of water per minute (GPM) rating, which are drastically higher than your standard pressure washer, even in the smaller sewer jetters. Gas pressure washers will typically have a GPM rating somewhere between 2 and 4 GPM, while a sewer jetter will start at around 4 GPM and rise up to 9 GPM for the small, portable models, the larger ones can reach up to 30 GPM for the trailer-mounted versions.
The rule of thumb is that for every 1 inch of the pipe’s internal diameter, you need 1 GPM. However, if your pipes are wider than your pressure washers GPM rating, that doesn’t mean you can’t use a sewer jetter conversion kit unless there is a heavy build-up of grease or tree roots, it’s still worth a try to clean it out with your affordable attachment.
Basically, cleaning your pipes regularly with a pressure washer, and a sewer jetter attachment is perfect for the smaller diameter pipes. Your gas pressure washer will work well to clean pipes between 3″ and 12″ of internal diameter. Most domestic models can produce 2000 to 4000 PSI or more. However, if you have a really tough build-up of tree roots, grease or sludge, your pressure washer isn’t going to help, so get a professional out, once they’ve cleaned the pipes, you just need to use regular maintenance to prevent the build-up from happening again.
2. Hose and Nozzle Attachments
It’s the hose and nozzles that make a sewer jetter a sewer jetter.
A jetter hose is typically very long so that it can reach as far down the pipes as possible. These hoses are also incredibly light, flexible, but yet resist abrasion well, they are also kind of slippery. The holes at the nozzle tip can handle a maximum PSI of around 3000 to 4000 PSI. The hose actually drives itself down the pipe, thanks to the nozzle’s design and the strength of the jets of water flowing from it.
The market has several different sewer jetter nozzles, the main difference between them is the angle of the backward-facing jet holes.
The nose of the nozzle, and it doesn’t matter if it’s the butter type or the ‘jet’ nose, can have a front-facing, 0-degree stream of water that pierces through blockages and build-up, making way for the rest of the jetter to come through.
The jetter is jetted through the pipe by the backward-facing holes that can be set to different angles. If the angle is between 15 and 20 degrees, the nozzle produces a large amount of thrust and penetration power, but won’t clean the walls thoroughly.
Nozzles with a 30 to 35-degree angle are ideal for more regular use, as they provide a nice balance between thrust and wall cleaning.
Nozzles that are 40 degrees or more in their jet angles are often referred to as flushing nozzles, as they are ideal for a thorough cleaning, but lack the thrusting power, these are used in runes that are longer than 100 feet.
Some nozzles even feature a rotation action, these provide great thrust, while the rotating action agitates any build-up.
Kits that Convert a Pressure Washer into a Sewer Jetter
If you want your pressure washer to turn into a sewer jetter than you can use at home, then you will need a special hose and nozzle to attach to the spray gun of your pressure washer. These are very simple, and usually only differ in their length, the maximum Pressure (PSI) that they can handle, and the number of different nozzle tips included in the kit.
Here are some of my suggestions:
TOKHAROI Sewer Jetter Kit for pressure washers is my first choice, this comes with a 100-foot long hose capable of handling up to 4000 PSI of pressure. It also comes with both a button nozzle and a rotating nozzle, two types of plugs that mean you can connect to either a spray gun using the quick connect adapter, or directly to a high-pressure pump using the M22 coupler, you also get a roll of seal tape. This is my go-to jetter conversion kit.
RIDGE WASHER Sewer Jetter Kit comes with the same accessories that you get with the Takoharoi kit, except you don’t get a roll of seal tape. You do get the M22 coupler, a quick connect pressure washer connector, a button nozzle, and the rotating nozzle. The hose can handle up to 4000 PSI, the seal tape isn’t the only difference, the largest difference between this conversion kit and the Tokoharoi is that this only features a 50-foot long washer hose.
M MINGLE Sewer Jetter Kit, if you are looking for a sewer jetter conversion that features a super-long hose, then this is the kit for you. It does cost a bit more than the others, but this kit features a 150-foot long hose that can handle up to 4000 PSI. You also get an M22 coupler, a quick connect adapter, a button, and a rotating nozzle.
If you happen to own a Karcher pressure washer, you need to check out the XZT L04-K3 Sewer Drain Jetter Hose for Karcher. This has been designed to fit the Karcher K series (models K1, K2, K3, K4, K5, K6, and K7). Karcher has its own unique connector, and this kit is aimed at that. The washer hose of the kit comes in a range of sizes from 25 to 85 feet. It can handle water pressures up to 2300 PSI and comes with a single button nozzle without a front-facing water jet stream.
Keeping your pipelines clean is no longer a task that requires you to call out a plumber. With a sewer jetter conversion kit, you can quickly convert your own pressure washer into a sewer jetter. Meaning that your drains and sewers will be blockage free and work flawlessly without the need for those costly unclogging services.