Blocked Drains – What’s The Best Way to Unblock a Pipe?

The best way to see inside your pipes is to hire a plumber that has a drain camera. A drain camera is a specialised video camera that is inserted inside a drain pipe and provides a live video feed of what is going on inside the pipe.

Once your plumber has determined where the blockage is inside your pipework and what it is being caused by they are then able to insert a high pressure water jetting machine inside your pipe which can clear out the blocked pipe in an efficient manner. If you hire a plumbing company that carries these tools your backed up toilet or blocked sink can be cleared all in one visit, quickly and with little disturbance.

So what exactly is a High Pressure Water Jetter?

A Water Jetter is a drain clearing machine that delivers water at very high pressure and volume inside your blocked pipes that cuts away what ever is in its way. It runs around 5000psi which is a high pressure speed perfect for clearing blockages within pipework.

What is better – A Water Jetter or an Electric Eel?

Electric Eels which are also referred to as a plumbing snake or a drain snake, is very abrasive to the inside of pipes. It operates by spinning its cable around on the inside of the drain pipe, which in turn rubs against the pipe. When the cable rubs in the same place for a period of time as it is pushed down the pipe work it can cut or crack the pipe and even punch a hole through the pipe.

A lot of plumbers today are still using the ‘old fashioned’ style Electric Eel method of clearing drains. Even though a High Pressure Water Jetter is overall much better technology and provides better results. You may be asking yourself, “what is a better choice for clearing blockages. An Electric Eel or a jetting machine?”

The advantages of using a Water Jetter are:

Cost Effective:

The cost involved to get a pipe cleared with a Water Jetter will mostly be cheaper than an Electric Eel because it generally takes less time to clear the blockage. The exact location of the blockage can be pin pointed with the drain camera and then cleared with the Water Jetter. This allows the blockage to be cleared much quicker so you won’t be paying for hours and hours of labour.

The costs involved to get a pipe cleared with an Electric Eel are usually higher because Electric Eels can be very labour intensive depending on the depth and location of the blockage and how bad the blockage is. The Electric Eel can not be used together with the drain camera and it does not flush the debris out while in operation. The clearing has to be done first, and then the pipe work needs to be flushed before the drain camera can be inserted to assess the cause and extent of the blockage. This means a lot of time wasted.

Saves Time:

The Water Jetter is much faster at clearing a pipe blockage. On average it usually takes around 45-60 minutes to clear a blockage. The usual time it takes to clear blockages with an Electric Eel is very variable and depends on different factors such as the depth of the blockage and how bad the blockage is. Some blockages can take up to a whole day to clear with an Electric Eel and often require hand or machine excavation to repair a badly blocked drain.

Better Quality Clearing:

The Water Jetter is very effective at clearing pipes. It only requires water to scrub the inside of your pipes and it clears tree roots so well that the drain camera can no longer see them. It also cleans the walls of the pipe, washing away built up waste, fats, oils and debris plus anything else that may have built up on the pipe walls. The Water Jetter can travel up to 140 metres and maintains its effectiveness right to the end which is long enough to clear the majority of buildings.

When a plumber uses an Electric Eel to clear a blocked drain or clogged drain it often leaves behind tree roots and other debris. This can lead to future debris and waste sticking on the uncleared roots and debris easily creating another blockage. The Electric Eel has a cable and cutting head that spins and smashes around in the pipe, banging and hitting the pipe walls. This can chip, cut and crack the pipes leading to further damage which can even collapse the pipes. The further an Electric Eel travels up a pipe it loses its effectiveness and is usually no longer effective after 25 metres.

Do you need an experienced plumber to operate a Water Jetter?

A Water Jetter is a specialised tool that needs to be operated by a licenced plumber that is experienced in using the correct cutting ends for each job.