A Clog-Killing Nozzle Increases Productivity

Ripping through grease blockages quickly and efficiently with the Reaper means completing more jobs per day

A Clog-Killing Nozzle Increases Productivity

Hydra-Flex offers five different Reaper models; Midland owns a 9 gpm model with a 3/8-inch inlet connection, designed for 3- to 6-inch-diameter lines. The rotating front jet creates a 24-degree cone of coverage. 

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Lines clogged with grease offer a tough challenge for drain and grease trap cleaners like Justin Elge, a technician at Midland Pumping Service in Omaha, Nebraska. But the Reaper, a powerful jetting nozzle made by Hydra-Flex, helps knock those difficult jobs down to size — and improves productivity and profitability along the way.

“The Reaper helps us make more money because it gets through clogs faster, which allows clients like restaurants to reopen faster,” Elge explains. “And if we do jobs faster, we make more money because we can do more jobs per day.”

In addition, an effective tool like the Reaper also helps Midland build its business without spending a lot of money on advertising. The company employs six people, and it cleans grease traps and car wash pits and pumps out residential septic tanks.

“Customers generally want us in and out quickly, especially restaurants,” Elge says. “And when they realize we can really get after it, their word-of-mouth referrals help us build a reputation as a company that gets the job done quickly and efficiently.

“We don’t really advertise our business, but we still keep growing. And tools like the Reaper are a big part of that.”

Power and flow

Hydra-Flex offers five different Reaper models; Midland owns a 9 gpm model with a 3/8-inch inlet connection, designed for 3- to 6-inch-diameter lines. One of the nozzle’s key features is a rotating front jet that emits a zero-degree, straight water stream.

At the same time, the stream rotates to create a 24-degree cone of coverage. (Other Reaper nozzles provide 30-degree coverage.) The bottom line: With a blasting capability of up to 4,000 psi, the nozzle plows through clogs that others can’t, Elge says.

The single nozzle port in the front of the nozzle generates flow of 3 gpm and the unit’s four rear nozzles produce 6 gpm, for a total flow of 9 gpm. The rear nozzles create a 20-degree spray angle for maximum propelling and pulling power.

“That powerful cone pattern on the front of the nozzle really eats away at clogs,” he says. “It really cuts things up compared to a standard nozzle with just a straightforward stream. It’s a really good penetrating nozzle.”

For contractors who don’t clean grease traps, Elge notes that grease can harden to an almost concretelike clog that bonds tightly to pipelines. “On a scale of one to 10, with 10 being the worst, grease can easily be a seven or an eight.”

Punch through grease

As an example of the Reaper’s power, he recalls a 4-inch line he cleaned at a school cafeteria last summer. After he started cleaning the line with a different nozzle, he noticed water coming back up the line; the nozzle just wasn’t hacking it.

“I wasn’t getting anywhere, so I switched to the Reaper,” he says. “And it punched through the grease without any effort at all. It cleaned things up real nice and helped us avoid flooding on the top side.

“That often happens while jetting lines, so we sometimes take a pump truck along to vacuum up water. But with the Reaper, we don’t have to do that as often, so we save ourselves and our customers some money by not having to bring the truck along as much.”

In addition, only the stream of water from the front port rotates, not the entire nozzle. As such, the rotation doesn’t slow down if the nozzle encounters debris.

“It’s also a low-maintenance nozzle. You don’t have to periodically add viscous oil to lubricate the bearings.”

Elge also praises the nozzle’s durability, courtesy of a stainless steel housing and tungsten carbide nozzle tip and seat. And maintenance is simple: Just keep the ports clean, he says.

Go-to tool

For waterjetting, the company — which was established more than 25 years ago and serves customers within about a 40-mile radius around Omaha — uses two different jetters mounted on an International truck chassis.

One features a 1,000-gallon water tank, 700 feet of 1-inch-diameter hose and a water pump made by Myers (a division of Pentair) that generates flow of 65 gpm and pressure of 2,000 psi. The other jetter was fabricated in-house and features a water pump manufactured by Pratissoli Pompe that generates flow of 11 gpm at 3,000 psi and 550 feet of 1/2-inch-diameter hose.

The dual jetters, which use the same water tank, allow one truck to handle both mainline sewers and smaller grease trap and lateral lines. “It’s a one-of-a-kind machine.”

A Reaper nozzle costs about $620, which Elge says is a worthwhile investment. “It’s become my go-to nozzle. I’d definitely recommend it to anybody.”


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