Plumbing Snakes and Drain Cameras

Nick's Plumbing & Air Conditioning Live Video Transcription:

On today’s show, super excited. Andrew Martinez with drain cables is here. This is the guy that’s extremely busy, mostly in the field. You will never see him in our studio. This has taken me about four months to get him here. Welcome. Thank you. Thank you for having me today. It’s great to be here. It’s pretty exciting times right now. Staying busy. I’m, you’re selling lots of equipment, right? And you’ve been with drain cables now for how long?

I’ve been with drain tables in this territory of 24 months. Um, I got into the territory in about 2002 and a

working for various other equipment companies, right? Yeah. Now what Andrew does is he is at our equipment provider, so we purchase all of our jet machines, sewer machines with cabling, a hand machines. We basically purchased everything from Andrew and his company. So super excited that you’re here today. And we spend a lot of money because remember, we’re Nick’s plumbing and Air Conditioning services. So we spend a lot and do a lot in the sewer department. Right? Which of course is Andrew’s department, right? So what kind of equipment are you guys providing to companies like mine?

So we provide a three major pieces of equipment that companies will use. Um, we provide a machine that um, unstopped blockages and what that machine does is it actually goes in and it will penetrate a blockage and allow water to flow. We also provide a third machine that is a jet machine. It actually goes in and cleans the drains and then we also provide a camera that goes in and does an inspection.

Yeah, that’s awesome. So a few minutes ago you and I were speaking and you said something fantastic that the audience is very much not aware of, right? They think a cable machine is something that cleans the pipes, right? Right. And you and I go ahead and finish that story that you’re telling me.

So what a, what a cable machine does. A cable machine comes in when you have a blockage and water has stopped flowing and you’re now you call a plumber or you try to put something down into the drain, which anytime you put a liquid into a heart blockage, it will not unstop it. If you put a liquid into a soft blockage, it will not unstop it, so what happens is you’ll have to. A plumber will have to come out with a snake machine and the snake machine will penetrate the blockage and allow water to flow down and move that blockage out of the way so that the water can flow again, but it will not clean the line. It’s not aligned cleaner. It penetrates the blockages. What a snake machine does.

That’s why we have two different machines. A lot of companies do not. That’s right, but we’ve got the high pressure jet machine for cleaning, right, and we’ve got the cable machine to bust that block, right?

And Nick’s actually runs three jetters. They run the three genders that you can run, which is the electric jet or the gas cart jetter, and they also run a trailer jetter. Each of those genders is specifically designed to clean certain size lines where you wouldn’t see an electric jetter outside of the house, but you would see an electric jetter inside of the house. In a hospital. In a school you wouldn’t see a gas engine running inside of a hospital for emissions reasons wouldn’t be a good idea would it? I would’nt recommend that one some serious stomach aches. Have you ever seen that before?

Yes, I have. I’ve walked in and seeing a jetter running inside of a Walmart and uh, I just told him, I said, we’ve got to get this out of here. And there’s a waiver.

You’re having to tell the plumbing company that you guys have to get out of here and can’t be doing this. Time cannot be doing this. You will get fined seriously by the city. They will shut you down because you’re running carbon monoxide inside of a building.

I saw one the other day and you guys are gonna Laugh in Montrose. I’m driving by and I should’ve filmed it. I didn’t film it, but these guys had a cleanout a in. I don’t know if you guys know what a clean is, but it’s a four inch white pipe where we stick our cable machines down. Right? These guys in Montrose, a plumbing company, they had a plunger on top of the cleanout plunging it. I couldn’t believe it. I, I stopped and watched for 15 minutes. It’s worth it. I’m like, this is so classic. You’ll never see that again. No, I’ll never see that again. I mean, it’s sad that it was a plumbing company, first of all. I mean, I wish it was like a handyman or something, but I’m like, oh my God, these guys are trained, right? Can’t be.

I’ve, I’ve seen them with coat hangers trying to not hitting anything. They’re just sticking coat hangers. Don’t clean outs. I’ve walked up on, on guys, uh, trying to show a fish tape down there.

The electrical fish tape. Oh, terrible. Terrible. Yeah.

Fishing rods, um, that the, that the, uh, guys used to fish wires inside of addicts. I’ve seen them trying to show that. And then what happens is that breaks in the line. So now you’ve got to unstop the blockage and you have to retrieve every single piece of steel and fiberglass that they put down there. And it just gets so costly. It gets so constantly. And that’s one of the things that I’ve noticed in Houston right now, there’s a lot of handyman operating as plumbers and when you call those guys out there and they damaged something, they don’t tell you about it, they just tell you there’s not going to be a charge and they leave and then get it unstopped I’m sorry, I’m, I’m leaving. Right? And literally they know they left half of a piece of metal, like a cable or something in your pipe and you are done. You’re right. That’s now turned into thousands of dollars to fix, right? Because the proper way to fix that is to dig the pipe up or to cut the concrete where the pipe is at and to go in there and actually remove that section of pipe that the broken materials are lodged in because they will become lodged at that point.

Let’s jump over for a minute to jet machines and why they are so important. Uh, you were already talking and we told everybody that, okay, there’s three different types of jet machines and we own all three. Um, but why are they so important? Why would somebody use that? Why do they need it?

So a lot of times people ask me what is the difference between a cable machine and the jet machine? Uh, the first, the first thing is, is the jet machine is, runs off an engine and water. And what happens when the water travels through the engine and the pump, it creates a pressure inside of the pump and it actually scales the wall. So when you start with a wall, it starts like this, and when you run the jet, the jet or over it, all of the trash off the walls collapses into the middle of the pipe. And so therefore it actually cleans the pipe. The pipe needs to be smooth for the debris to flow down it. And Go ahead, we can actually show you that. That’s right. Because what we can do is we can run that jet machine and then we’ve got cameras. That’s right. And from those cameras we can run in there and prove that, hey look, this pipe looks brand new now. That’s right. So if a company that you have hired should have the same equipment that we have, let’s say I’m or something similar where they can prove that this pipe is clean, right? And whenever you ask for a camera inspection, um, it’s my recommendation that you get your house cameras at least once a year. Get your drain lines camera out to the city or out to the, the, the pipe in the street. As some of you might say, the things that you want to do is you want to have a plumber run the camera in there from the clean, out in the back and from a toilet inside of the house. What this is called as drain maintenance. And by getting in the habit of drain maintenance, you’re gonna. Find that you’re able to see problems before they actually become problems. You’ll actually be able to see roots before they grow in your line and stop your grade. Nobody thinks that drain maintenance is important, but as we move into this, this 20 slash 20, we’re going to find that drain maintenance is a very serious problem.

Our last segment that John and I did were the topic was plumbing inspections, right? That’s exactly what we were talking about was proactive versus reactive. Yes. Drain maintenance. You need to be proactive. That’s gonna. Keep you from a complete shutdown. That’s right. And calling on emergency purposes, when you have all the family over and all of a sudden your kitchen sink is overflowing. That’s right. That’s what it’s going to fix.

After every hurricane season is a great time to get your cameras to get your lines inspected. If you call somebody like nick’s plumbing & Air Conditioning, what they will actually do is they will actually come out and give you a dated and timed a USB with a drive on it and it will show the last time you had an inspection. That way in the future, if you were to sell your house or you were to call somebody else out here and they say, well, you know, we, we see a break or something. You can actually go back to your previous inspection. Say the pipe looked good. You know, you’ll be able to have a little bit of an idea of what they’re talking about before they go off and charge you something that you have no idea what they’re talking about.

Yeah, absolutely. So in the last few minutes that we have today, let’s talk about some war stories. Let’s talk about some good stories. You’ve been around Houston a long time, right? You’ve seen some things erupt. I mean, we, we are in the sewer business. Yes. So let’s talk about some good stories around what’s happened that you’ve seen.

Um, some of the, some of the hardest stories are when I come to do an inspection when a, when a customer of mine is running a camera and they’ve come across a broken cable line that’s been left in a customer’s house, those are the best and the customers is wondering why they don’t have any flow. And the only option at that point is to literally take the entire pipe out from under the customer’s house or to cut concrete inside of the customer’s house or to reroute the whole line. So I’ve seen those a couple of times. I’ve come up on job sites and there is um, a hundred feet of, of, of jet hose that is sticking out at a commercial property that the guy just, he cut it and left because he, he ran the jet through a broken line. He did not properly run the camera. He didn’t properly clean the line before he ran the camera. Um, I’ve come on on places where I’m the customer, so insane that I want to add something to that. You guys went when we run that jet machine and there is a break, right? That the end of the nozzle has got so much power and force, it just drives out of that pipe into the dirt and get stuck. That’s right. We cannot pull it out. I’m in my career of almost 20 years. That’s actually happened one time. Right. We backed the truck up to it, tied it off to the bumper and had to. And we were fortunate enough to Yank it out. Yes. But there was definitely a problem. Right. But the thing is is we always tell the customer, hey, we got to do certain things. But on commercial jobs, sometimes it’s hard because our cameras can’t go all the way correct. So we can’t verify that something’s wrong. Right? And if it’s truly that stopped up the cameras black, right? And we don’t know if there’s a true break or not. Um, so there are some things there, but it does happen with training that we’ve given to nick’s. There’s a couple of things that will tell us if you have a broken line, I’m the first one is if you’re doing a remodel and you’ve never bought this home before, there’s a good chance that has a broken line. Correct. That’s a little bit of a joke, but it’s more true than you realize. The second thing is when the guys run the drain machine and it comes back with mud on the tips, we know that there’s probably going to be a broken line right there and we’ll try to clear the line to put the camera in and to locate the break. Um, so we can be precise when we replace that pipe. The other thing that happens with the jet machine is by the time we’ve run the jet machine, generally we’ve put the drain machine in there first and we’ve also put the camera in there so we have an idea if we’re going to do come to a serious problem or not. Um, and that’s our standard practice to write, right? You know, we try to get it unstopped. Then we try to run the camera to see what created the stop and then we wash the pipe, let’s call it the jet machine.

What the jet magazine and drain maintenance folks. That is something that you guys really want to be ahead of the curve on. So many people don’t. They just leave the drain pipes alone and by the time the roots have grown in there, you literally have to cut that section of pipe out because it’s impossible to get the roots out. Especially with all the water that we’ve had. All the pipes, when that water it, it shifts the pipes. The pipes are dry, it’ll belly. I’m up and then belly and back down. And at that moment there’s a crack in the joint. And roots begin to come in, all sorts of thing. Just come after that water.

Yeah, absolutely. Andrew, let’s talk now about drain buildup. Yes.

Okay. So a lot of people think that because you don’t put grease in the line that you’re not going to have drain buildup or you’re not going to have grease in the line.

Um, we always hear when we get phone calls that, oh, I don’t put anything in the sink. Well, if, if you scrape off everything that you have into the, into the Trashcan, that’s right. You still will get build up in your kitchen sink drain lines, period. There’s residual grease. Whether you notice it or you don’t notice it. Grease doesn’t have to be dark. It can be light. And once it hits those drains sticks.

So what happens is when you wash a dish and the dish in the sink and the water brings the food down or the grease down into the line, it begins to flow. You turn the water off. At that moment that the flow stops, the water continues to go and the sediment will settle on the bottom of the pipe. And you may not use that sink till the next morning. And so what ends up happening is it layers itself and it grabs stuff as it comes by it, and it creates a sticky surface on the bottom. And that’s drain buildup. You don’t have to put grease in the. I’ve heard a guy say, well, I’d pour all my grease in the flower bed. And then he wonders why he doesn’t have any flowers all year.

Yeah, that’s a huge no, no. And so, um, what ends up getting cut by the state of Texas or a city, you are going to get fined bad.

That is against the law. It is against the law. You’re better off pouring it in a can and you’re in, you’re in disposing of it in your trash can, but you will always have drain buildup in your drains. Whether it’s the toilet, whether it’s the bathtub or whether it’s the sink in the kitchen. And therefore, drain maintenance is huge. Um, if you’ll take a look at some of the pictures in the that we’re showing you guys, what has happened is the buildup has started from the outside. And it has worked his way as it always does, it closes the pipe and the only thing to break that blockage open is a snake machine. But the only way to clean it is the jet machine are snakes. What’ll happen is it will punch holes in it. That’s great, right? Just like you’re talking, but getting more layman’s terms for these guys at home, right? It will punch holes in it. And then we got to follow up back with a high pressure jet machine and that will grab it all and throw it out.

That’s right. And actually the guys that run the genders have been trained to run the jetters and when they run them, they know what to look for. They know what to look for as far as flow as a, when they open those clean outs, there is a certain amount of water that is supposed to be shifting through the pipes and they’re able to really zone in and um, see if the flow is correct.

You know, there’s a lot of, do it yourselfers out there. I would recommend not doing that if you listen to everything that Andrew has just said, this stuff is complicated and it takes a lot of training to be able to perform this type of work. That’s correct. Without breaking equipment. Our cameras or 10 grand. So it doesn’t take very much to break the camera and I can promise you when it breaks, you’re not getting out for 2,500. No, it’s, it’s typically more than that. That’s great. So I would tell you guys, if you’re thinking about, oh, I don’t need a plumbing company, I’m going to do it myself. I would recommend do something else yourself besides that. Go make money at what you do and let somebody like my company, a professional plumbing company do it. Equipment’s too expensive. Too much can go wrong. You can break things easily and you can hurt yourself. That’s great. So what are some of the mistakes that you’ve seen homeowners do purchasing their own equipment? I’ve seen homeowners buy a camera online and actually get it stuck in the line. Um, I’ve seen them have to reroute the entire plumbing of an entire house over a $3,000 camera they bought online that ended up costing them $10,000 to remove from the line that got stuck in and then to replace that line that was broken in a. The other thing I see a lot of home owners do is they buy your sewer machine and they end up hurting themselves because the server machines have so much torque. You have to realize when you run that sewer machine, it’s going to hit the blockage and that cable that is out of the pipe is going to grab onto your arm because you’re not really going to try to stop it and grab hold of it because it’s spinning so fast. And so I’ve seen a lot of homeowners get hurt renting sewer machines and I’m paying more money when they buy their own camera and try to figure something out on their own.

Well, guess what? When you get hurt running your own sewer machine and you rented it, and then you got to pay to get it fixed and you got to pay. You’re going to get charged and that we had a double whammy. Yeah.

Yeah, because you purchased it. Then you have to pay a plumbing coming up company to come out there and to just undo what you’ve done is going to cost you thousands of dollars and then for them to fix it is a. The charges go rather quickly. So those are two of the biggest mistakes that I’ve seen people. I’ve seen people rent machines break cables, break the machine, and they got to pay for that. That’s right. Anything thing, just take it back and walk away, Scott free. No, you pay for that. You have to return the machine the way you’re liable for that.

That’s right. That’s right. So those are two of the, just two of the many mistakes that I’ve seen homeowners trying to do when it comes to plumbing. Terrible, terrible stories behind them.

Well, tell us a little bit, how can we get in touch with you? Simple, simple and easy. Andrew Martinez, Houston, Texas, Richard Saad Nick’ plumbing. We’ll see you next week.

Able to be used with all rigid sectional machine drain cables, Direct Sectional Cable, rigid style fitting. It’s made us stronger raw material quality of the welds. Drain cables, direct sectional cable. Also have a solid rubber intercore that prevents debris and water from getting inside the cable.

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