O’Connor Takes a Clear Look at Pipes

Video inspection pleases customers and provides added quality control.
O’Connor Takes a Clear Look at Pipes
O’Connor Plumbing and Heating drain mechanic James Walker uses a RIDGID SeeSnake video inspection camera to locate a root in a sewer lateral at an apartment complex in Winchester, Virginia.

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Pipeline inspection cameras do more for O’Connor Plumbing and Heating than just capture the condition of clogged drainlines. These multitaskers also help technicians at the Germantown, Maryland-based company sell jobs and improve quality control for drain cleaning, says Kevin Walker, manager of the company’s drain division. 

“Cameras provide us with a good selling point,” he says, noting that they provide wary and skeptical customers with concrete proof about a pipeline’s condition. “And they also help me grade my guys — assess how they do their work.” 

The company owns numerous RIDGID pipeline cameras and monitors. Technicians televise every pipe they clean, both before and after cleaning. And unlike most drain cleaners, O’Connor does not charge extra for video inspections. “We consider them just a part of our overall service,” he says. “It’s like an all-you-can-eat buffet — everything is on the platter. We even video lines when we’re just doing preventive maintenance. It’s a great training tool.” 

Walker says camera inspections help technicians determine the exact cause of a clog, as opposed to an educated guess. Does the clog stem from a structural defect in the pipe or from a sock or toy that was accidentally flushed down a toilet? Either way, it makes a big difference in how a technician will proceed. Moreover, if a customer cries foul when a drainline clogs shortly after an O’Connor technician cleans it, the company can provide indisputable proof that the line was thoroughly cleaned. As Walker puts it, “The camera doesn’t lie.” 

Walker also lauds the RIDGID system’s ability to produce detailed inspection reports, including still photos of problem areas. “If the pipe is clogged by roots, grease or sludge, we take a series of photos,” he says, noting that video files usually are too large to email. “If the root section was, say, 53 feet out, we indicate that, too. 

“Essentially, the cameras help us tell our customers a visual story about why their sewer line is clogged and what we did to fix it,” Walker says. “They’re definitely our most valuable tools.”


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