Trailer Jetter Bolsters Plumber’s Profits in Drain Cleaning Market

David Sierra has full confidence in his Mongoose unit’s ability to handle jetting jobs of any degree of difficulty

Trailer Jetter Bolsters Plumber’s Profits in Drain Cleaning Market

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Master plumber David Sierra still remembers the day about three years ago when he opened the cleanout on a 6-inch-diameter sewer line that was clogged solid with grease — really clogged, for about 1,000 feet.

“There was grease overflowing out of the cleanout — that’s how full it was,” says Sierra, owner of El Plomero Latino (The Latin Plumber) in Orlando, Florida. “There was grease there like you wouldn’t believe. In fact, there was so much grease that we couldn’t even inspect the line before cleaning it. We had to go straight to jetting it.”

But Sierra wasn’t worried, thanks to an investment he made about 11 years ago in a Mongoose 184 trailer jetter (4,000 psi at 18 gpm), manufactured by Sewer Equipment Co. of America. Equipped with a 70 hp Cat diesel engine, a 300-gallon water tank and 500 feet of 1/2-inch-diameter hose attached to another 175 feet of 3/8-inch-diameter hose, the jetter — designed to handle main lines up to 12 inches in diameter — proved its mettle.

“It took about 6 hours and some help from a vacuum truck, but we got the job done,” Sierra says. “It’s such a powerful machine.”

Sierra used a Warthog nozzle from StoneAge Tools to slice through the grease and a Grenade nozzle from ENZ Technik AG to pull downstream debris back to a nearby lift station for removal.

The source of the problem was three adjacent restaurants in a strip mall; none had grease traps installed, Sierra says.

To increase the unit’s versatility, Sierra outfitted it with two extra hose reels, one that holds 100 feet of 1/4-inch-diameter hose and another that carries 75 feet of 1/8-inch-diameter hose.

“That way we can tackle both small and large jobs with the same machine. We can take on everything from a small, 1-inch-diameter line to a large, 12-inch line,” he says.

Sierra uses the jetter primarily to clean sewer lines at commercial buildings, such as restaurants and apartment complexes, plus residential lateral lines. Along with its power and durability, he says he likes the remote-control capability, which allows him to clean lines by himself.

“That saves customers money and helps me be more price competitive,” Sierra says.

The machine’s $34,000 price tag was steep. But Sierra says it has definitely paid for itself, probably within the first 4 1/2 years.

“Drain cleaning is a very profitable market,” he says. “And when we use this jetter, it often leads to more business. It’s a great machine.”

Read more about Sierra and El Plomero Latino in the May 2020 issue of Plumber magazine.


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