This question is thrown into many a conversation to start the flow of gibby gab, you know, to get the “small talk” flowing. However, most times the listener is caught off guard and says: “ah, um, . . . not much” and “same old same old”. Well, not this time!
Guess what, in the sewer and drain business there is something new that is also old or is it better said that something old is now new again. Confused? Let me lift that cloud of double talk doubtfulness from you. Cameras, I’m talking about cameras.
Cameras have been around now since 1826 or 1827 (according to Wikipedia). With moving pictures coming along in 1889. What a wild concept at the time; pictures that could move and tell a story. Believe it or not, Thomas Edison had a hand in the next step of development; getting the crazy moving pictures camera adapted to be handheld and easily portable. The handheld video camera was eventually marketed to the general public (made famous by private citizen Abraham Zapruder in Dallas, November of 1963) to make home movies.
Today we have glamorized that moving picture machine by putting it on the end of a long cable and shoving it down your drain. Beautiful thought isn’t it? Who hasn’t wanted to see that imagery? What is really driving this new phenomena is the digital aspects of today’s camera capabilities. We all know how simple it is with our smart phones. Everybody now has a camera for both images and video right there in their purse or pocket almost all the time. And storage, that tiny little micro disc is amazing! Well, this is so much better for putting in the hands of a Minnesota Sewer Drain Technician.
Just 4 years ago, video cameras for the drain cleaning business were just as archaic as the first moving picture cameras over a century earlier. To record a video of your drain that Tech. had to lug a heavy machine around that was mounted on wheels and place a 7 3/8″ x 4 1/16″ x 1″ plastic cartridge (remember the VHS) into the camera. But wait for it, here is the big reason they were not mainstream; That camera cost over $20,000! And the picture, was black and white. Don’t you want to see the colors in your drain? We actually do! Simply because then it is easier to determine what the clog is and then how to go about removing the clog. Plus it was not user friendly, would break a lot, the VHS tapes would get wet or damaged and the VHS tapes were bulky to carry around. . . etc.
Fast forward to today and we have hand held units, full color! They are lightweight, very reliable and so much easier to use. Plus all that we need to carry around to record on is a tiny little flash drive. And, AND, the best part is the cost 90% less! That’s right, you can get a really decent camera for about $2,500. One other really neat feature on some of these new cameras, the lens is fitted with a membrane that works like an eyelid. You press a button and it blinks to clear the, um, goop (for lack of a really disgusting truthful word) off of the lens.
So at McDonough’s, Minneapolis/St Paul Water jetting and Drain Cleaning, you know; The unclogdrains.com Guys, we have gotten a camera for each of our technicians. And we have them use that camera on every job to double check that they succeeded in getting the drain unclogged. So rest easy knowing that whenever you want now, you can easily and affordably see what is in your drain. Then we can put it on a flash drive that you can upload to Facebook and show your friends and family. Technology is a beautiful thing (just not necessarily in this case)!