Drain Machines’ Pipe-Descaling Ability Key for Company’s Pacific Coast Service Area

Thick rust and scale are prevalent in cast iron pipes of homes near the ocean, making it imperative that Colepepper Plumbing & Drains has a consistent solution for customers

Drain Machines’ Pipe-Descaling Ability Key for Company’s Pacific Coast Service Area

Picote Solutions' Super Midi Miller drain cleaning machine

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It’s not unusual for technicians at Colepepper Plumbing & Drains in San Diego to encounter thick rust and scale in cast iron pipes, especially in homes near the Pacific Ocean.

“Anything close to the beach, where there’s a lot of sand and moisture, tends to have more corrosion,” says Dylan Moya, a lead salesman at the company and a former drain cleaning technician. “These pipes get damaged faster than pipes we see farther inland.”

To efficiently fight this problem, the company deploys a two-man crew equipped primarily with two machines: a Super Midi Miller (designed for 3- to 6-inch-diameter pipes) and a Mini Miller (designed for small-diameter pipes and P-traps), built by Picote Solutions. Moya says the machines’ grinding-chain attachments are particularly effective in restoring pipes to their original diameter — without damaging the lines.

In fact, the machines often succeed on jobs where other technologies have failed. Moya recalls a recent job where a restaurant owner initially hired a contractor with a water jetter to unclog a 100-foot-long, 3-inch-diamer cast iron mainline running through the establishment.

“The jetter couldn’t clear it,” Moya says. “But we ran the Super Midi Miller in, descaled the entire pipe and got it to flow again. Then we inspected the line and found it was bottomless for about 38 feet. That’s where the jetter had problems. But the Midi Miller kept itself level enough to descale it anyway.”

In the end, the line needed replacing. That brings up another benefit of efficient drain cleaning and subsequent inspections: They can reveal deeper problems that lead to larger pipe replacement or rehab projects, Moya says.

“We’re big on providing customers with options,” he says. “Just like with a doctor, people don’t want to have major surgery until they absolutely know they need to. So we clean the pipes, inspect them and go from there.”

Moya says that at roughly $7,500 for a Super Midi Miller and $4,000 for a Mini Miller, the machines quickly pay for themselves.

“The first week we used them, I think we booked $70,000 worth of pipe rehab work,” Moya says.

Read more about Colepepper Plumbing & Drains in the July 2020 issue of Cleaner magazine.


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