Pittsburgh Plumber Performs ‘Exorcism’ With Gen-Eye X-Pod Plus

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Pittsburgh Plumber Performs ‘Exorcism’ With Gen-Eye X-Pod Plus

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An upscale, single-story house in Pittsburgh’s North Hills suffered severe sewer fly infestation. 

“It looked like something from The Exorcist,” one resident quipped. 

Initially pulling and reinstalling toilets in two affected bathrooms failed to fix the problem. And sealing-off all ducts and lines to those areas also didn’t work, either. 

Somewhere beneath the slab-on-grade structure’s entrance area, sewage apparently leaked into the soil. Sewer flies then bred there and migrated inside through the damaged pipe. 

Pinpointing problems

Complicating matters, demolition to reach the damaged sewer line through the concrete slab posed added concerns. 

The home sported, for instance, expensive, hard-to-replace slate flooring. So precisely locating and repairing the infestation’s source with minimal collateral damage proved another key objective. 

Otherwise, the owners faced further steep repair, replacement and restoration costs. 

Enter Urban Plumbing Inc. with their Gen-Eye X-POD Plus sewer camera system and Hot Spot digital pipe locator from General Pipe Cleaners. 

Since 1980, Urban Plumbing forged fame for excellence in plumbing and bathroom remodeling in the city’s northern communities. 

“We get all our business from satisfied customers,” says founder and owner Al Urban. “Except for a church bulletin, we’ve never advertised. In fact, we don’t even have our name on our trucks.” 

Versatile, “all-in-one” camera package 

General’s lightweight, popular X-POD systems combine camera, reel and monitor into one compact, versatile package. 

X-POD Plus sewer cameras sport the Gen-Pack battery adapter, Wi-Fi transmitter and on-screen distance counter as standard equipment to boost precision and productivity. 

“In situations where time counts,” Al’s son Travis notes, “having everything together is important.” 

Urban Plumbing’s full size X-POD features a self-leveling color camera and 200 feet of tough Kevlar braid Gel-Rod for inspecting 3- to 10-inch drainlines. And a durable docking arm supports the Command Module and permits height and angle adjustments for optimal viewing. 

Other standard features include: 

  • A big 7-inch LCD color monitor with a sunscreen for easy viewing in any location 
  • “One-touch” recording for speed and convenience
  • 4X digital zoom for close-up inspections
  • Voice-over recording for job site commentary 
  • Date and time stamp for work documentation 

Travis appreciates General’s design. “The monitor is nice and durable,” he says. “We easily change viewing settings and keep everything in view.” 

Quick and accurate locator 

Urban Plumbing’s inspection arsenal also includes General’s innovative, easy-to-use Hot Spot digital pipe locator. 

With matchless durability, accuracy and reliability, user-friendly Hot Spot eliminates guesswork when tracing sewer lines, drains and septic tanks, as well as active power lines and buried utilities. 

Travis calls Hot Spot’s accuracy “great.” 

It’s easy to use, too. Display prompts are intuitive. An instruction video is available online so even novice operators can enjoy rapid results. 

Experience and equipment solve the puzzle 

Using General’s inspection tools, Urban Plumbing found a small break at the juncture of two terracotta pipes beneath the slab as the infestation’s entry place: a compact, 4-foot by 2.5-foot closet near one of the bathrooms. 

“Once we established that, we had to make sure,” Travis says. “We wanted to avoid unnecessary damage.” 

Urban Plumbing subsequently sealed the whole house, vents included and forced smoke back through the sewer line into the structure. 

Sure enough, as General’s camera system and locator predicted, smoke migrated to the suspect closet’s floor. 

The smoke test confirmed the damaged terracotta connection as the infestation’s entry point. It also revealed the best place to reach the cracked terracotta itself. 

After sealing off the closet, workers jackhammered its ceramic floor, resealed the terracotta joint with hydraulic cement, and encased the whole fitting in concrete. 

“Luckily the homeowner saved some spare ceramic tile,” Al says. “That helped us quickly restore the closet.” 

And Urban Plumbing never even touched the homeowner’s expensive slate flooring.

“Thanks to the precision of our General inspection tools, we restricted demolition to a relatively small area,” Travis adds. “And that probably saved the homeowner at least $25,000-$30,000 in further repairs. General equipment was definitely key to the success of our project.” 

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