Cold or Hot Water Jetter: Which one to chose

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We are often asked "which is better, cold water or hot water jetting?" Both methods can be good for unclogging drains that have been obstructed by grease, sludge or soap scum. However, each method has certain situations where it is more effective, and certain situations where it can be problematic.

Cold Water Jetting:

Pro's are the fact that cold water jetting will not cause damage to any adjacent water heaters or fixtures, and this method may be all you need as long as your pipe diameter isn't too large (12" or larger). Most of the time, this is "enough" to completely unclog most common household drain obstructions. Pro's are also the cost of using cold water jetting; it is much cheaper than hot water because no additional energy costs are added when pumping the mixture out at a sewage ejector station.

Con's would be that there is a potential for damage to the pipe if it is excessively gouged by the jet. Also, cold water will also melt more fats and oils than hot water will. Hot water may be a better choice in situations where fats or cooking oils have been poured down the drain, as they are generally solid at room temperature (so cold water wouldn't dissolve them) and they tend to stick to certain surfaces, whereas cold water jetting is less effective at removing solidified fats or cooking oils (and may be more likely to damage the piping).

Hot Water Jetting:

Pro's are that hot water jetting can remove larger pieces of debris (icebergs) than cold water. Hot water is also good for more "industrial" types of jobs; i.e. cleaning a grease trap, removing concrete buildup etc. Pro's are also that hot water jetting may be safer to the piping if there is any concern that it may be corroded or have excessive wear.

Con's would include (obviously) the fact that it uses more energy, and is thus more expensive. Also, hot water jetting causes "flash rusting" in metal piping (pipe will turn orange or red), which can lead to leaks if the Houston Plumbing Supplies system is old enough that it's made of metal and any cracks or fissures are present for the water to leak through.

Cold houston water jetters is generally a better choice for most residential piping systems. If you have a high possibility of damage to the pipe, or need to remove very large pieces of debris (i.e. "icebergs") hot water may be more effective. Use cold water if there is concern over corrosion and/or metal piping.

The choice between cold water and hot water should be made on a case-by-case basis; refer to the list below to help you decide which method is better:

-If you have thin pipes (under 12") and your debris is mostly ice or smaller, use cold water.

-If you have thick piping and nowhere for debris to go but the sewer, use hot water.

-If your piping is older and made of metal (or contains some metal), you might want to avoid hot water due to "flash rusting" issues.

-Generally, if you don't know which method to use or the situation seems anything less than clear cut, cold water is typically the better choice.

-If you have a large gas line running into your house, use cold water and not hot water.

It is also important to note that NONE of these methods can be used on grease traps or septic tanks (except in emergencies where there is serious structural damage). They cannot be pumped out like a traditional drain.

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