Inspection Cameras Bring Customers’ Drainline Problems to Light for Contractor

Bob Oates once wasn’t a believer in regular pipeline inspections, but now he says he doesn’t know what he would do without the service

Inspection Cameras Bring Customers’ Drainline Problems to Light for Contractor

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Bob Oates once had little use for inspection cameras. In fact, the owner of Bob Oates Sewer Rooter in Seattle thought contractors who used them were ripping off customers by charging extra fees for camera inspections.

But now, Oates doesn’t know what he’d do without his array of RIDGID SeeSnake, SeeSnake Mini and SeeSnake microReel cameras.

“They totally opened up my business,” he says. “Putting a camera in the pipe allows us to sell our jetter service by showing customers the problem in their lines. Putting a camera in there enables us to get our sewer specialists out there to offer customers long-term solutions such as open-trench excavations (to replace broken pipes), spot repairs, or pipe bursting and pipe lining.

“If customers just want to give a drainline a haircut once a year (clean out roots), we can do that,” he adds. “But for customers who want to be proactive, the cameras are instrumental to our operations. Like they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.” 

In addition, a post-cleaning inspection enables crews to determine whether or not they thoroughly cleaned a drainline, Oates says.

He praises the SeeSnakes for their durability.

“They’re virtually bulletproof,” he says.

He also likes the enclosed reel, which captures dirty drainline fluids that accumulate during inspection runs and prevents them from dripping in customers’ homes. 

“The SeeSnake’s design is superior,” Oates says. “We have far less problems with them compared to cheaper brands. Our guys call them ‘monkey proof.’ In other words, you could put one in a room with a monkey and it still wouldn’t get damaged.”

Other highlights include a durable sapphire lens and a thicker, stiffer pushrod, which is particularly helpful in Seattle, where the average residential lateral line is about 110 feet long. Furthermore, they’re typically old concrete lines with exposed aggregate, which creates friction.

“You need a strong pushrod to work around here,” Oates says. “The SeeSnake has a fiberglass rod and a spring-loaded head, so we’re able to get it out the distance it needs to be.”

Read more about Bob Oates Sewer Rooter in the November/December 2019 issue of Dig Different magazine.


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