Hot Water Jetter Gives Colorado Contractor an Edge When It Comes to Clearing Tough Grease Clogs

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Source: Cleaner Magazine : Bringing The Heat by Ken Wysocky

Marcus Rodriguez often finds himself in hot water with customers — and he wouldn’t have it any other way. That’s because his trailer-mounted Hot Jet USA water jetter, made by Power Line Industries and outfitted with optional hot-water capability, makes short work of tough drain cleaning problems.

“Most times, it does a job about twice as fast as using cold water,” says Rodriguez, the owner of Umbrella Plumbing & Drain Cleaning LLC in Aurora, Colo. “It’s especially good for cleaning out grease-trap lines.

“The hot water, which gets heated to a temperature of 180 degrees, liquefies the grease,” he explains. “I’ve used both cold and hot water and there’s a big-time difference. With cold water you can spend a lot of time working in one small area and it can create clogs in the rest of line … chunks of grease hook up together farther down the line and form another clog.

“But by using hot water, that doesn’t happen because it’s liquefied,” he says. “So by doing jobs twice as fast, we gain time, and time is more valuable than money. Even if we get in just one more job a week because of that, we’re making $1,400 to $1,600 more revenue per week.”

Rodriguez bought the Hot Jet unit in 2009. The unit features 300 feet of 3/8-inch diameter hose, a 350-gallon water tank, a pump that generates 3,500 psi at 12 gpm, and a tandem-axle trailer, which enables him to tow the jetter with a full water tank.

“That saves me about an hour a day because I don’t have to fill the tank at a job site,” says Rodriguez.

Umbrella crews use the hot-water feature to clean residential lateral lines, too, when needed. Sometimes cable drain cleaners aren’t powerful enough to do the job, especially if it’s a sludge buildup. But the hot water usually does the trick.

Rodriguez makes the Hot Jet unit more versatile by using a third-party detachable reel that carries 100 feet of 1/4-inch-diameter hose. A quick-connect adapter connects the 1/4-inch hose to the unit’s 3/8-inch hose, and Rodriguez or another technician can then carry the reel into, say, the basement of a home. The reel combines the brute power of the Hot Jet jetter with the portability and maneuverability of a cable drain cleaning machine.

“It saves us a lot of setup and breakdown time, too,” Rodriguez notes. “If we need to bring a couple hundred feet of hose from the trailer jetter into a house, we need to take time to coil it up nicely so it doesn’t get tangled as we feed it into a clean-out. Then when we’re finished, that hose is covered with whatever you were just in.

“With the detachable reel, we just wind up the hose and put the reel in a garbage bag and clean the hose later, which saves us about an hour of cleanup time. It’s almost a must-have piece of equipment.”

Umbrella also owns three Spartan 2001 heavy-duty cable drain cleaning machines, made by Spartan Tool LLC; three Spartan 100 cable drain cleaners for smaller lines; three Spartan 81 drain machines for bathtubs, toilets and sinks; RIDGID SeeSnake and RIDGID SeeSnake microDrain pipeline inspection cameras; and three custom-built mini-jetters (2,000 psi at three gpm). The company also owns three GMC 2500 trucks outfitted with 14-foot Morgan box bodies, and a Ford 550 cab-over service truck.

The hot-water jetting capability is a big selling point with restaurants because minimizing downtime at such establishments is critical. As Rodriguez notes, the last thing a restaurant owner wants is several hours of downtime at a peak business time. If business owners are ambivalent about using hot or cold water, Rodriguez shows them a brochure he developed that shows lines cleaned with a cable machine, a cold-water jetter and a hot-water jetter.

“It’s a pretty obvious choice when they see the difference,” he says. “And I don’t charge any more for hot-water jetting — just one flat rate no matter if it’s hot or cold water.”

Rodriguez is so confident in the Hot Jet unit’s ability to clean thoroughly that he provides customers with a six-month guarantee against another clog. “We’ll do it for free as long as there’s no evidence of abuse,” he says. “The Hot Jet jetter gives us a great degree of confidence.”

Another benefit: Rodriguez is expanding into excavating and sewer-lateral repairs, and the Hot Jet unit provides customers with a feeling that Rodriguez has done everything possible to clean a line before he suggests digging up a yard and replacing a lateral.

“They see that if a big trailer jetter and 3,500 pounds of pressure can’t open up a line, then nothing will,” he says. “It’s just like with car repairs – you don’t want a mechanic to look at your car for five minutes and then tell you it needs a new engine. He may be right, but as a customer, you want to see that he’s done everything he can before resorting to putting in a new engine.”

Andrew’s Plumbing Tackles a Tough Drain with their Drain Line Jetter

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Big Red jetted right through this grease drain line and now it looks new again! Thanks Hot Jet USA. We made the right choice buying a jetter from you!

-Andrew’s Plumbing

This is a fantastic example of the power of a Hot Jet USA Drain Line Jetter. The investment of a drain line jetter from HotJet USA will pay for itself in just a few jobs. The return on investment is huge and will benefit your customers for many years.

Sewer Jetting Safety

Warning-Signs

It’s imperative that all operators read the safety and operating instructions before using any HotJet USA product. Drain and sewer cleaning can be dangerous if proper procedures are not followed and appropriate safety gear is not utilized. Read the engine owner’s manual for instruction and safety precautions on engine operation.

SEWER JETTING SAFETY

Sewer jetting is a serious business that can result in serious injury or death when proper safety precautions are not followed. Awareness of common jetting hazards, knowing how to protect oneself from them, and learning and practicing the proper safety procedures can greatly reduce the chances of disaster striking at unexpected moments.

COMMON JETTING HAZARDS

When water is pressurized to 4,000 PSI, it becomes a potentially deadly force that can easily result in serious injury when the water jet comes into contact with skin or eyes. The impact of a high pressure nozzle, leaky hose or being hit by contaminated waste can cause potentially life threatening injuries. When jetting is performed in confined spaces other OSHA rules for confined space entry and personal protective equipment must be followed.

PERSONAL PROTECTION

Proper dress is also important when performing high-pressure water jetting. Coveralls should be worn. A heavy duty raincoat should also be worn to keep technicians dry and to help provide a barrier in the event there is contact with debris flying from the pipe.

Safety goggles should always be worn to protect the eyes from a high pressure jet of water. Water pressure above 2,000 PSI requires a full face shield, and at 4,000 PSI the water jet can literally tear an eyeball from its socket.

Heavy duty, waterproof gloves (insulated, if running hot water) are needed to protect the hands. Rubber boots with metatarsal guards are highly recommended. Hard hats are necessary in environments where falling objects are a potential hazard.

HAZARDOUS BACTERIA AND MATERIALS

Drains and sewer can carry bacteria and other infectious micro-organisms or materials which can cause death or severe illness. Avoid exposing eyes, nose, mouth, ears, hands and cuts and abrasions to waste water or other potentially infectious materials during drain and sewer cleaning operations. To further help protect against exposure to infectious materials, wash hands, arms and other areas of the body, as needed, with hot, soapy water and, if necessary, flush mucous membranes with water. Also, disinfect potentially contaminated equipment by washing such surfaces with a hot soapy wash using a strong detergent.

GASOLINE IS EXTREMELY FLAMMABLE AND IS EXPLOSIVE UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS

  • Refuel in a well ventilated area with the engine stopped. Do not smoke or allow flames or sparks in the area where the engine is refueled or where gasoline is stored.
  • Do not overfill the fuel tank (there should be no fuel in the filler neck). After refueling, make sure the tank cap is closed properly and securely.

CARBON MONOXIDE DANGERS

Carbon monoxide exhaust and/or gasoline fumes from this equipment can create a hazardous atmosphere in confined spaces (which may include, but are not limited to, manholes and septic tanks), closed garages or other areas which may not be properly ventilated. In particular, excess gasoline fumes can create an explosion hazard. Such hazardous atmospheres can cause death or severe injury. Do not operate this equipment in any confined space or area with inadequate ventilation. Operate this equipment only when located outdoors or in an open, well ventilated area.

HOT WATER PRECAUTIONS

With the hot water on, it is highly recommended not to turn the water thermostat above 120° degrees… to prevent possible burn/scalding type injury.

TRAILER SAFETY

It is recommended to retighten and check all fasteners and lug nuts on a regular basis. Trailers create a lot of vibration and fasteners can come loose.