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Water-Jetting vs. Drain Snaking: What to DIY & What to Leave to the Pros

Man snaking bathtub drain

Water-jetting and drain snaking both stand to achieve the same goal: to clear your drain. The only difference is that water-jetting (AKA. hydro-jetting) is a method for clearing drains that should only be performed by trained professionals. Below, we’ll discuss the differences between water-jetting and drain snaking and what you shouldn’t attempt on your own.

Drain Snaking

A drain snake, also called a plumbing auger, is a hand-held device consisting of a bladed cable or corkscrew encased in a long metal tube and a crank on the back of the device.

The corkscrew end is placed into the clogged drain, and the crank is turned until the end of the cable reaches the clog. With the clog located, the user now turns the crank with force. This can either clear a hole through the blockage or ensnare the clog within the bladed cable to remove it from the drain.

Drain snaking is entirely doable by any homeowner. It is a fairly simple process that can be performed on any drain in the house with the correct equipment. The smallest and most basic drain snake will cost around $3 and can be found in most convenience and hardware stores. Some of the most expensive and efficient drain snakes you can purchase can cost up to $400 dollars.

The only downside to drain snaking is that its efficiency can only take you so far. It has the ability to unclog your drains; however, it won’t be able to clear the larger clogs. Drain snakes are normally meant to take care of the smaller blockages in order to get more of an instant result for your drain.

Drain snakes also do not permanently fix the issue in your drain, only taking out as much of the clog as can fit on the cable. For the full removal of drain blockages, water-jetting would be the more efficient option.


Water-jetting utilizes a specialized hose and nozzles to spray a focused stream of water from around 1500 psi, all the way to 5000 psi. This method of clearing drains is only meant to be performed by trained professionals because of the amount of force the water is sprayed with.

One factor that can hinder the process of water-jetting is the strength of your pipes. If your pipes are old and brittle, the force of the water can completely destroy then and make the clog the least of your worries. With this in mind, before your plumber is able to begin, they must first perform a camera inspection of the clogged drain to determine if the pipe is strong enough to withstand the force of the water.

Once the pipe has passed the camera inspection, the process can begin. With the water turned on, the nozzle is able to clear everything from hair, minerals, oil, and even tree roots from your system, all without using any chemicals.

Both water-jetting and drain snaking are efficient ways to clear your clogged drain, but only one is “DIY-able.” If your efforts to unclog your drain with a drain snake have been in vain, contact the professionals over at Nuckols Plumbing, Heating & Cooling by filling out a form online, or giving us a call at (804) 214-2077.