Quick, Easy-to-Operate Jetter, No Trailers Required

Ohio drain cleaner is sold on the merits of a truck-mounted jetter that frees up manpower

Quick, Easy-to-Operate Jetter, No Trailers Required

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In 2015, Charlie Evans bought his first Groundhog van-mounted waterjetting system from Easy Kleen Pressure Systems. In 2017, the president and owner of DrainMaster in Columbus, Ohio, bought his second unit.

“I’m going to put another one in the next van I buy,” Evans says. “These jetters definitely help us get jobs done faster — clearing blockages in larger sewer lines. Plus, we typically can charge more money for jetting. They’ve been a great investment.”

DrainMaster used to rely on a trailer-mounted jetter for cleaning larger-diameter pipeline clogs. But using a trailer posed challenges for technicians, especially when it came to city driving and parking in tight spots.

“The Groundhog is just as powerful as a trailer jetter, but we don’t have to train a guy how to drive with a trailer,” Evans says. “As long as they can drive a van, they can use this jetter, which is a huge advantage for us. We don’t run the risk of hitting something while trying to back up a trailer.

“There’s less liability, so we can carry less insurance than if we’re towing around a trailer. And if it’s cold outside, we can still use the Groundhogs because they’re enclosed, which keeps them warm enough to use.”

One-man operation

The skid-mounted unit is used primarily to clean 1 1/4- to 6-inch-diameter lines. It measures roughly 64 inches long by 42 inches wide by 45 inches tall and weighs about 900 pounds. It features a 35 hp Vanguard gasoline engine, a 200-gallon water tank with water-level sights, a water pump made by General Pump (12 gpm, 3,500 psi) and a swiveling reel that holds 300 feet of 1/2-inch-diameter hose.

The unit also offers an emergency shut-off valve and a fully welded, powder-coated frame made from 2-inch square tubing. In DrainMaster vans, Evans added a side-mounted reel that holds an additional 450 feet of 3/8-inch-diameter hose, he says.

Evans says the machine’s remote-control capability was a game changer, primarily because it made jetting a one-man operation instead of two. That frees up manpower to do more jobs, which boosts revenue and profitability.

“We can run the jetter remotely from up to 400 feet away.” The remote includes controls for throttling up and down, increasing and decreasing the water pressure and retracting the hose. “It’s wonderful to be able to do a jetting job all by yourself.”

Technicians usually use the jetters in conjunction with nozzles made by StoneAge and Enz USA, as well as RIDGID SeeSnake inspection cameras and Maxi Miller drain machines from Picote Solutions. “Sometimes we use the Maxi Miller to descale pipes in, say, large apartment complexes, then use the jetter to flush out the heavy scale,” Evans says.

Jetters drive growth

Evans founded DrainMaster in 1999 as strictly a drain cleaning company, then branched out into residential and commercial service and repair plumbing and trenchless pipe rehabilitation. He employs nine people and runs five service trucks, primarily Ford and Chevrolet vans.

As the company has grown, the Groundhogs have contributed better productivity and profitability. “We definitely finish jobs quicker and we’ve reduced on-the-job injuries (stemming from cable machines),” Evans says. “We don’t have to carry drain machines up and down stairs anymore either. We probably use the Groundhogs for 90% of our sewer work.

“In addition, the initial cost is a lot less expensive than a traditional van-mounted machine. They provide a great return on investment. I think they pay for themselves in less than a year.”


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