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How Sewer Cleaning and Repair Gets Done


Harts Author

Harts Plumbers, Electricians, & HVAC Technicians

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Sewer cleaning is one of those tasks that you may put on the back burner and hope that it never has to happen. And in many cases, sewers will run free and clear for decades without so much as a blockage or back-up.

But the sewer is the main drain line of your dwelling, so when the sewer gets plugged virtually every drain in your house or home is plugged too.

In most cases, a plugged sewer can be something minor that even a simple snake can punch through, allowing the sewer to be functional again, at least for a short time anyway. But in many instances, when a sewer line gets plugged, it may need to be professionally cleaned, and if the actual line has been compromised by a broken pipe, or by tree roots which have invaded the sewer line, the pipe itself will need to be repaired.


There are 2 major types of sewer cleaners employed professionally, and each of them will give a good account of themselves, depending on the type of clog there is.

  • The first, and most common method of cleaning out a sewer, is by using a mainline cable machine. Essentially, this is like a giant-sized motorized snake that comes with its own motor and power supply. The difference between a consumer snake and a mainline cable machine are the different types of heads that can be added.These heads are called “cutter” heads, and they do just that. They cut through the clog or blockage in your sewer and effectively remove anything that gets in the way. There are double cutters, saw-toothed cutters, 4-blade cutters and others. A professional plumber will determine which head is right for your type of sewer drain, and in most cases, these heads will cut through and eliminate the clog.
  • The other type of drain cleaner is called hydro jetting. This employs a specialized water nozzle that blows high-pressure water into your sewer. The nozzle shoots water forwards, backwards and sideways, and the pressure is so great that the water jets will literally cut through anything in its path. Hydro jetting is used only for the most problematic and toughest clogs, but it is incredibly effective.


In the good old days, the only real way to repair a damaged sewer line was to get a trenching machine and dig up the sewer line for hands-on repair or replacement. Although effective, it is intrusive, expensive, tore up any grass or lawn, and generally makes a big mess. For extremely large sewer pipes or when there is no real alternative, trenching is still an accepted way to repair or replace sewer pipe.

Modern techniques with modern materials are quite a bit different. With even some of the most damaged pipe, sewer repair can be done without using a trenching machine and digging up the pipe. It’s called trenchless piping, and here’s how it works.

Most pipes that are clogged or leaking can be repaired without using a trencher. For clogging, leaking or corroded pipes, the interior can be cleaned thoroughly, and a cured in place, or CIPP liner, can be inserted and run through the pipe. This liner is considered a permanent solution and it will not corrode like a metal pipe will over time.

If the sewer pipe is damaged or broken, the best way to lay in a new pipe is by “bursting” the old one and threading a new pipe in its place.

A specialized bursting head runs through the old pipe, literally expanding and bursting the circumference, while a new flexible pipe is dragged through behind the head. In this way, the only hole that needs to be dug are an entry and an exit, which does minimal damage to the surrounding landscape while allowing access to the original pipe.


Using these new sewer cleaning and pipe repair methods can reduce overall sewer drain cleaning cost and repair. For more information about sewer cleaning or sewer repair, call the professionals at Harts Services. We do both residential and commercial visual inspections, cleaning, and plumbing repairs, covering all of the Tacoma and Pierce County, WA areas.

Ready to Make the Change? Call Harts Plumbers, Electricians, & HVAC Technicians!

Whether it’s innovative plumbing solutions, efficient electrical repairs, or reliable HVAC maintenance, trust Harts to handle your home essentials with precision and care. Contact us today to discover the Harts difference and enjoy peace of mind in your home maintenance endeavors.

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Harts Plumbers, Electricians, & HVAC Technicians

We’re a local company proudly providing affordable sewer and pipe repairs, installations, and maintenance to help make our community a more comfortable place for all.


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