Myth vs Mystery: Understanding Jetting 101

The two biggest questions I get asked is “why is your Jetter different and why is it so expensive to jet a line”. There are a number of answers to that question but the simplest of the answers is that our Jetter Truck is the most powerful Jetting Truck on the market in terms of PSI (Pressure) and GPM (Gallons per minute) therefore a very expensive machine to buy and it costs a boatload in diesel to run. Our jetter is capable of 4000 PSI at 65 GPM. While companies advertise their “jetting” services they are careful not to tell you the capabilities of the Truck or Trailer Jetter for a number of reasons along with their limited selection of jetting nozzles that are carefully selected for the right pressure clog.

“But, aren’t all Jetter’s alike?” That’s the follow up question to the first and second question. NO all Jetting Equipment is not alike. We take great pride in how we selected and chose our Jetter Truck. We took our clients needs into careful consideration and we have created a dialogue of the differences in Jetting Equipment and how it affects who you hire.

So, when choosing a Jetter, what is more important: GPM or PSI?” When choosing a Jetter’s output in PSI and GPM, remember this hydrojetting rule: Pressure (psi) is “cutting” power, while gallons per minute is “flushing” power. Pressure cuts into blockages. “Thinner,” high-pressure waterjet streams from a good jetting nozzle will have the most “cutting” power if the PSI is adequate. Experience has shown that a 3,500 to 4,000 PSI jetter with 18 or more GPM and the right nozzle or tool will cut out root masses, chop up hard grease, and carve out hard settled dirt. We have cut out this kind of crud from 3- to 8-inch drains and sewers. Pressure cuts are why 4,000 PSI jetters are used to cut out blockages. This is also why the little 1,500-2000 psi electric-powered units don’t cut out much at all. Volume flushes out debris.

“Wider” waterjet streams shooting out of a jetting nozzle will have the most “flushing” action, and more volume also means more impact in the cleaning. If the GPM is adequate, the sheer volume of water will push and carry debris. If you want to move larger rock, bricks, grease-logs, etc., you’ll need more GPM. This is why city and county crews clean 8- to 12-inch pipe with 40 to 60 GPM, and larger pipelines with 80+ GPM trucks. This is also why little 2-10 GPM electric jetters don’t flush out much debris. The GPM you will need depends greatly on the pipe diameter being cleaned and how clean you expect the line to be or if you just need to penetrate a blockage to restore flow.

The following is a story about a contractor who was hired by a city to inspect an 8-inch pipe: When he got there, the city crew had been working for two hours trying to clear roots from the line with their big 65 GPM/ 2,000 PSI jetting truck. The contractor had a 6 GPM/4,000 PSI jetter in his van along with his TV system, and the city let him take a crack at the roots. Using a Warthog slow-rotating cutter nozzle, the contractor cleared the roots and then finished the video inspection. Notice that he got done with a 20 hp unit what the city could not do with a 100 hp unit. Why? Because a) he had the right tools/nozzles; and b) pressure cuts. The contractor said, “You should have seen their faces.”

In contrast, it is important to also realize that if we were talking about clearing rocks and debris (instead of cutting roots) then the story would be the opposite. The 65 GPM truck would run circles around the 6 GPM jetter, because volume flushes. Note: Using the right nozzle or tool also makes a huge impact. This is why we chose a high GPM and a high PSI truck. Because cuts and volume matters. We mostly deal with debris and grease in lines. We can turn up or down the volume and pressure as needed for the situation we are facing because our truck has the capability to do so. However, if you hire a company that has high pressure capability with low volume capability and you are faced with the alternative scenario of rocks and debris, you will be facing hiring another company.

Most contractors are in the job of re-establishing flow in drains and side sewers. You can break through blockage in 3-inch and smaller pipe with less than 6 GPM, while the 9 GPM to 18 GPM machines will do a better job of cleaning and are much better in 4- to 18-inch pipe. We most commonly deal with 4-12” pipe therefore we have a Higher GPM Truck with more PSI to re-establish flow.

Also, understand that a jetter’s GPM is always listed at maximum throttle, so if the engine speed is reduced then the GPM reduces. Therefore, since we have a higher GPM jetter then we can “slow it down” for use in smaller-piping. The pressure will be maintained because we have nozzles sized for the lower GPM in addition to our standard full GPM nozzles. We also have a smaller-diameter “mini” jet hoses for certain situations. Having the right personnel who knows what the proper ratio PSI to GPM also matters. Anyone can buy a jetter truck but do they have the experience to run it?

As you can see, there is not one right answer for each pipe and each situation. By hiring a company with the highest of GPM and highest of PSI capabilities such as ours with a full line of the latest engineered cutting heads and jetting nozzles upwards of $1,000 a piece, you are sure that your clog will be handled by the right truck and professional for the job! Do you want to have to guess what’s in your lines or what size pipe you are facing so that you call the right jetting professional or do you want to know that whoever you hire has the right truck with the right tools/nozzles with the right pressure and power to do the job the first time? Here at Solutions we have the RIGHT truck, with the RIGHT tools with the RIGHT pressure to handle any situation.

Get Jetting!