Chris Swenson: This week, pretty exciting for my business. Ordered a brand new sewer camera, top of the line. Unfortunately, in life, sometimes the most expensive things are the best things. It’s about $10,000 worth of equipment I got on order. This is kind of going through an ideal of what it does and as far as looking inside of your sewer lines and all of that kind of good stuff. So let’s get this started.
Business Growth Innovators Member: This here’s a cleanout access.
Chris Swenson: It’s buried in the front yard, and it’s under the dirt or a bush. Pipe down over there!
Business Growth Innovators Member: What’s this?
Chris Swenson: This is the flat surface of the light of the camera shining on it. It’s a smaller pipe size and there’s a . . . well it looks like a half-inch to a 1-inch lip down at the bottom of it, and you can see the water puddling on it.
Business Growth Innovators Member: That looks like it could really stop something. It would cause big problems. Is that a problem, or is that typical?
Chris Swenson: No, this is not typical. This is really a bad installation here. You would never go from a larger pipe to a smaller pipe and have a lip like that. It creates clogs actually.
Business Growth Innovators Member: So how does a camera move?
Chris Swenson: You can see it jumping over the lip . . .
Chris Swenson: Like a sewer cable. . . which means anything could catch on that bottom lip.
Business Growth Innovators Member: So probably our clog was like right there before you cleaned it out with a snake, right?
Chris Swenson: No. This looks like your main clog.
Business Growth Innovators Member: Oh no, it’s still there.
Business Growth Innovators Member: I thought you cleaned it out?
Chris Swenson: Well, we cabled through it, and you can see off to the right- hand side that the water is flowing around it, but the clog is completely there.
Business Growth Innovators Member: So if you didn’t have the camera, we [inaudible 1:53] thought it was coming out, right?
Chris Swenson: Oh, yeah. This is where most plumbers . . .
Business Growth Innovators Member: What are you doing?
Chris Swenson: I’m hitting it with the camera head trying, like a battering ram, to push it or see kind of what it is or if it will move. But it looks pretty tough. There’s probably something growing in from the side. So that’s going to be the clog right there. It shows you the line can be clogged up.
Business Growth Innovators Member: Yeah, because we had the water was running pretty. . .
Chris Swenson: . . . halfway with the water still going around the clog. Yeah, that’s the deceiving part of drain clearing is if you really don’t go looking down in the sewer, the assumption is that it’s working because you’ve got flow, and you can clearly see that I got flow, but the obstruction was still there. Running a little more water to wash the camera head down and see if I can’t kind of flush it down by me pushing on it with the camera.
Business Growth Innovators Member: So this will be likely to clog again pretty quick. It looks like you got it. It’s clear now.
Chris Swenson: Well, what I did is I pushed through the right-hand side of it.
Business Growth Innovators Member: So it’s still back there.
Chris Swenson: And I’m going to go down and see if there’s any more. Before I go get my equipment, I’m going to go down and see what’s farther down the line.
Business Growth Innovators Member: How many feet down is it?
Chris Swenson: Those are more connections, more pipe joints. It goes down about 60 feet. You can see how important it is that the pipes are lined up together and that they’re not . . . So he’s gotten one problem. Now he’s just going down to check for additional problems.
Business Growth Innovators Member: How bad is this pipe? Is this typical?
Chris Swenson: No, this one’s pretty bad. You can see it’s actually where the pipe comes together. You have a lot of small intrusions which might not clog, but they will eventually. You can see the pipe is not really . . . If you had a different pipe size and you had a large object moving in there. So this one’s pretty bad. My recommendation would be is I could remove the things in the front yard from vegetation to cement, put your front yard back together as if we were never there. This is your city sewer main. This is what’s out in the middle of the street. So we’re out about 53 feet. That what connects to the sewer. All right. We’re coming down with the snake, and I have the camera head right behind the head of the snake and there I go. I can’t even get it through the little lip.
Business Growth Innovators Member: Yeah, you can see how that really could snag a lot of stuff.
Chris Swenson: Now we’re going to basically . . . without the camera being right here, there’s no way for any plumbing technician to find this exact location and really work this problem. So you notice the cutter on this cable is kind of small. This plumber doesn’t have a good sewer machine. This cutter is not big enough to [tear that done]. So [inaudible 5:00].
Business Growth Innovators Member: Okay. So you’ve been working this clog for like six minutes, and it’s still there. Is that pretty difficult?
Chris Swenson: This one’s a real tough one. You know, we had an improper installation. We have root intrusions everywhere, and this one was the worst. You can actually see the whole side of this pipe was right there. There’s no pipe right there. You know, we can dig up your front yard, pull your plants out, remove concrete, put in a new pipe, and put your front yard back together as if we were never there. That would be my recommendation for this sewer line.
Business Growth Innovators Member: So if you were to replace the sewer line, what would it be replaced with?
Chris Swenson: So this is another issue I’m always talking about is the fact that this plumber, that’s probably an $800 sewer machine. In life, 80 percent of the time, it all depends on how much money you spend on what kind of quality you get, unfortunately. So that’s really crappy. That’s probably a $600 sewer machine. The best sewer machine’s about $3,500. That’s the one I have. So you can actually change the cutters. You can go to 6-inch, a 3-inch, all the way down to a 2-inch. See, he just had some kind of crappy wire. Or I can do something like this. This one, on a 4- inch will actually scratch the pipe. I’ll put that in, and it will scratch the pipe and I’ll clean it totally. See, I can power right through that because I have the better machine. Now, I’m going to have the perfect camera. Basically, if you have any problems, like this one was clogging up, he said, every three months. Normally, you don’t want to go ahead and do a camera. If your line’s only clogging up maybe only once every two or three years, we wouldn’t do the camera, because the camera’s about a $275 service, just to put that in there.
But if you are consistently having problems, we can put the camera in, actually see that this pipe is broken right here. You can see this big hole, and so the roots are growing in and then that was toilet paper, and actually debris is clogging up from the kitchen sink, building down. You can have just a small hole in the pipe, and it’ll continually run, but eventually it’ll close up all the way.
So we can go in with the camera, put it there, set my camera right here and go, “Okay, that’s in the front yard somewhere.” Where is it in the front yard? Who knows?
I have another part of the three things I bought is a locator too. So I hit a button on my camera, which is all going to be on my computer. My computer is going to hook up to this camera that’s going to go in there. Hit a button on that, and then I have a wand and I can go in the front yard and go in, and it’ll actually show me where that is. I can walk over, put it down on the ground, “Okay, it’s right here.” It’ll actually test how deep it is too.
So it’s pretty exciting stuff. Definitely want to be a plumber for at least the next 10 years buying this expensive stuff. So, any questions?
Business Growth Innovators Member: So the really expensive camera helps show that it’s a really expensive job to replace the pipe?
Chris Swenson: You’re right on the dot. Hopefully, that camera over 10 years will me make a couple hundred thousand. So it’s going to be great. Next question.
Business Growth Innovators Member: What about that stuff you [inaudible 8:31] sewer [inaudible 8:33]? It’s that [inaudible 8:35] plumbing?
Chris Swenson: They actually have that. What they do is push it in there and they blow it up like a tube. But, anything, it’s a patch. The right way to do things is actually, just like, it’s like a stent in your heart. You then go stent it. It’s going to work, but the best way sometimes is to go in there and cut out the problem and put in a new piece in.
Business Growth Innovators Member: What about your machine? [inaudible 9:00] has that plastic liner. When somebody [inaudible 9:05] is that harming the liner?
Chris Swenson: Yeah, that’s the problem. The machine will go in there and actually cut the liner up or the city will come by. They go out to the city and they push it against the wall. It’s just not a good idea. You know? It almost cost just about as much to replace a sewer as it is to reline a sewer. I can probably replace a sewer for about $5,000. You’re probably looking at about $8,000 to $10,000 to put a liner in. Doesn’t make a lot of sense cost-wise. You’re not saving any money. Any more questions? Perfect. I did my job.