Hydro jetting is when plumbers used specialized equipment to push very high-pressure water down pipes. Usually, the intention is to clear blockages in the pipes, especially major ones like sewers and water mains, but those aren’t the only uses. Does hydro jetting your sewer line also get rid of tree roots? Yes, sewer jetting can be an effective way to flush out tree roots. But it won’t always work. Here is what you need to know.

When Is Hydro Jetting Right for Tree Roots?

Hydro jetting can produce amazing pressures, up to 4,000 PSI. However, tree roots can grow very thick. Hydro jetting will work best on newer tree roots that are thinner and have had less time to grow. Thicker roots are unlikely to be broken up by sheer water pressure, even at 4,000 PSI.

Hydro jetting also works best when most of the pipe remains intact, otherwise, the pressure of the hydro jet can do further damage to the pipe and mean that you need to replace more of it. Some pipes, such as thin PVC, cannot withstand any hydro jetting even when they are in good condition.

Other Ways to Clear Roots in Your Sewer

When your plumber cannot use a hydro jetter to clear out roots, what will they do? First, they’ll take a look down into your sewer line with a scope. If they find that the roots are too thick for the sewer jetter, or that they pipes are too damaged, they have some other options they can consider, this includes:

  • Rooter: Your plumbers’ first step is likely to be taking a rooter to the roots. This is a specialized tool that can go into the pipes and cut up the roots. After the larger, sturdier roots are cut up, the plumber can then use the sewer jetter, which will then just flush the loose material away.
  • Linings: Sometimes after the roots are removed a plumber will choose to simply line or repair the pipes with an epoxy or other product. Ideally, they should do this when they’re using other methods to control the root growth, or the roots will likely get into the pipes again.
  • Replacements: Sometimes the pipes are in such a condition that there is no choice but to replace them. Hopefully your plumber is using the trenchless removal technique to target only the part of the sewer that was damaged by the tree.
  • Chemical treatments: Plumbers may employ chemicals that can kill off tree roots. Or they may place copper shielding on the pipes, as copper kills tree roots on contact and they will avoid it.

Preventing the Sewer Tree Root Problem

No one enjoys having a plumber over to inspect tree root problems with their sewer. So, what can you do to avoid this? Mostly, it’s about knowing where your sewer lines are, and avoiding planting trees so close to it that their roots can touch. Look up the size your tree will be when mature and you can plant more confidently.