Featured Articles

Growing the PHCC and creating a more active membership is the goal; Hunter Botto is excited to handle the new normal with the great leadership already in place. As he answered the phone sitting on his sailboat docked in Florida, I got a sense early in our conversation that Hunter Botto was going to be Read more

Growing the PHCC and creating a more active membership is the goal; Hunter Botto is excited to handle the new normal with the great leadership already in place.

As he answered the phone sitting on his sailboat docked in Florida, I got a sense early in our conversation that Hunter Botto was going to be okay as the new Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractors—National Association (PHCC) president, even in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Able to navigate adversity, this relaxed, chill semi-retired, former Navy vet and licensed boat captain—when not handling PHCC issues—enjoys his spare time sailing.

Nobody could have foreseen what 2020 would bring, and it just so happened that it was Hunter’s time to lead throughout this mess as the new PHCC president. “We as contractors face many challenges every day. The list is as long as a city mile but we have thick skin and can handle the task at hand,” says Botto. “This was not the plan—to be a leader during a pandemic but we have a job to do. The great staff at PHCC has adapted and has kept the ball moving. It’s like we move ahead or get out of the way—we are moving ahead! Our members are ready; they are being trained to the new normal and they are thinking outside the box to adhere to the new normal.”

Botto’s family business has been around since the early 1930s as his grandfather and his grandfather’s brother— Irwin and Robert Botto—ran a hardware business, which morphed into Botto Hardware and Plumbing & Heating, a combination of plumbing, heating, hardware and appliance business. In 1950, Botto’s father, Richard, and his cousin, Irv, started Botto Brothers Plumbing & Heating, Hicksville, N.Y., and ran that successful business until the early 1960s, when the two partners decided to split. Richard continued the legacy of Botto Brothers Plumbing & Heating while Irv formed Botto Mechanical in 1963.

In 1980, Hunter joined his father at Botto Brothers. Prior to joining, Hunter was a boiler technician in the United States Navy. “My brother Roger and I purchased the business together in 1993 and we operated the business well into the 2000s. I am happily semi-retired, and in 2015, Roger introduced his oldest son, Christopher, into the business, where it is still owned and operated today.”

The introduction into the trades started at an early age for Hunter. His great uncle was one of the first master plumbers in our township and he learned a great deal from his work ethic and technical savvy. Hunter always looked up to him as he was not only a master plumber but a skilled craftsman. “Going to work with my dad at the early age of 11 was expected and I got into doing what helpers were expected to do every day—digging trenches, being a ‘gofer,’ cutting pipe, installing boilers, bathroom renovation, and doing clean-up after the jobs were done. My time in the Navy was a vacation from the family business,” says Botto.

While working for the family business, Hunter’s dad retired and Hunter took over but he had no idea how to run the business side of things. “Believe me when I say this, PHCC saved my life. I was tired of competing with unlicensed contractors, utility issues, code issues, antiquated licensing issues, and poor business-minded contractors. PHCC helped me with these issues, and I have been associated with PHCC for the past 23 years, and they have treated me well and helped me run the business,” says Botto.

“Over the years, the local PHCC president, Richard English, asked me to attend a local meeting to help him create a new, younger vision for the industry. With a father and grandfather in the industry, Richard came from the same mold as I did, and he had a vision to get younger professionals involved. Our goal was to ‘raise the bar’ on Long Island,” says Botto.

After years of struggling, Hunter finally joined PHCC and got quickly involved in focusing on licensing issues with in our county. He climbed up the leadership chairs of our local PHCC, while finding new talent with the same vision in promoting professionalism. Hunter got involved as local president, attending state conventions, national conventions and meeting the leaders of this great organization. Hunter was asked by PHCC Past President Kevin Tindall to become a zone director, “which was one of the most exciting assignments he ever had in PHCC, well, until now, of course,” says Botto.

Through the years, Hunter has served on many committees, attending legislative conferences, and meeting people in the know, all while running a 60-year-old family business. “So here I am on the precipice of becoming the president of the oldest, most prestigious and most professional trade organization in the United States. I truly have been blessed and I look forward to the challenges at hand—just like any other day at the office like so many PHCC contractors do every day,” says Botto.

But today is an unprecedented time. Teamwork will get it done, believes Botto. “Working with a greatly trained team gets the job done, bottom line. All of our state and local associations are the backbone of our association,” says Botto.

As Botto sets his sights on the future, he says membership is key. “Strength in numbers makes us the most respected trade association, but making the industry aware and seeking new leaders is a major goal,” says Botto.

“We need to bring in younger industry voices and show them the benefits of PHCC. With the new technology available to all of us, it is PHCC’s responsibility to get the word out and get professionals involved. Workforce development is also at the top of our list, and as the pandemic has created barriers, our online apprenticeship program is in full swing and growing every day,” says Botto.

Botto’s message is clear. “I have always been committed to this industry as it has allowed me to raise a family, give back to the community and grow younger professionals. My message to all PHCC members is to give back to the industry that has given so much to us.”

A brand new commercial office and retail building located in Chicago’s Fulton Market District, Fulton East is the nation’s first next-generation office building designed to specifically address employee health, safety, and wellness in a post-COVID-19 environment. With 85,000 square feet of floor-to-ceiling glass skyspace, Fulton East is home to a number of leading-edge products to Read more

Sloan Optima® sensor solar-powered faucets, SOLIS sensor flushometers, Sloan matching soap dispensersA brand new commercial office and retail building located in Chicago’s Fulton Market District, Fulton East is the nation’s first next-generation office building designed to specifically address employee health, safety, and wellness in a post-COVID-19 environment.

With 85,000 square feet of floor-to-ceiling glass skyspace, Fulton East is home to a number of leading-edge products to promote the health and safety of its tenants. Innovations include the Toe-To-Go hands-free elevator system in addition to airPHX non-thermal plasma technology throughout the building to help reduce cross-contamination risks and provide cleaner air and work surfaces.

Sloan Optima® sensor solar-powered faucets, SOLIS sensor flushometers, Sloan matching soap dispensers

“Sloan brought a local and family-owned lineup of products that have a tremendous amount of features and capabilities to meet the requirements of the project’s aesthetics, function, and LEED goals,” said Steve Fadz, Senior Project Manager, Clayco. “Their sales and product specialist team has also really been helpful to make sure the right products were selected.”

Sloan Optima® sensor solar-powered faucets, SOLIS sensor flushometers, Sloan matching soap dispensers

Fulton East’s restrooms present tenants with a totally hands-free handwashing experience. Pairing Sloan Optima® sensor solar-powered faucets (EAF-275) with Sloan matching soap dispensers (ESD-2000) and an undermount lavatory (SS-3021), the products provide sensor-based solutions that eliminate the cross-contamination concerns that come along with manual fixtures. As a new and high-end building, Fulton East also wanted its restroom aesthetic to meet the standard throughout the rest of building. The facility was drawn to the cutting edge design of Sloan’s matching faucets and soap dispensers with their unique, sleek, and angular shape.

Sloan Optima® sensor solar-powered faucets, SOLIS sensor flushometers, Sloan matching soap dispensersA LEED-certified building, Fulton East wanted restroom fixtures equipped with a low gallons per flush (gpf) standard. Sloan flushometers fit that description for both the water closets and urinals. Fulton East paired Sloan wall-mounted water closets (ST-2459) with SOLIS® sensor flushometers (SOLIS 8111-1.28) and Sloan designer washdown urinals (SU-7409) with additional SOLIS sensor flushometers (SOLIS 8186-0.125). With sleek lines and sophisticated flair, the designer urinal furthers Fulton East’s design goals while generating only a 0.125 gpf. Fulton East also sought products that would ease the burden on its facility maintenance team. Each of Sloan’s vitreous china fixtures feature SloanTec® Hydrophobic Glaze, a proprietary water-repellant glaze that inhibits the growth of germs and bacteria to make the fixtures easier to clean and keeps them cleaner for longer. Additionally, all flushometers are solar-powered and come with a three-year battery life to make maintenance an easy task.

Shamrock Plumbing in North Salt Lake, Utah, is currently finishing up a large apartment complex, Soleil apartments, in Bluffdale. It’s a 100 percent solar complex with no gas. There are about 600 units in the entire complex, broken into buildings of 24 to 48 apartments. Sanders said there is a 2″ PEX line into each building to Read more

Shamrock Plumbing in North Salt Lake, Utah, is currently finishing up a large apartment complex, Soleil apartments, in Bluffdale. It’s a 100 percent solar complex with no gas. There are about 600 units in the entire complex, broken into buildings of 24 to 48 apartments.

Viega PureFlow PEX and press fittings, Viega, PEX piping, press fittings, plumbing, Shamrock Plumbing

Sanders said there is a 2″ PEX line into each building to feed the water supply, and from there the lines drop down to 1″ from the water supply to the fixtures.

There are several reasons Shamrock Plumbing in North Salt Lake, Utah, uses Viega PureFlow PEX and press fittings in its multifamily new builds.

Viega PureFlow PEX and press fittings, Viega, PEX piping, press fittings, plumbing, Shamrock Plumbing

“It’s the flexibility. It’s the cost. It’s a 25-year warranty as opposed to zero warranty when you sweat copper. It’s the ease of installation,” said Bob Sanders, manager and partial owner of Shamrock. “You can also train a guy to install it fairly quickly, as opposed to the skillsets needed with copper pipe and all of that.”

Viega PureFlow PEX and press fittings, Viega, PEX piping, press fittings, plumbing, Shamrock Plumbing

Thanks to the flexibility of PEX, fewer fittings are needed throughout the buildings to plumb the waterlines to each fixture, which in turn makes the installation quicker. Sanders estimated that one installer can get about four units done per day using PureFlow.

Widely used in Utah and in newer builds overall, Sanders said PEX is always specified when Shamrock takes on a new project like this, because of all of its pluses. He said most contractors they work with rely on Shamrock to pick the best products, and PEX is “far superior as far as a cost breakout compared to copper—plus the longevity and ease of use.”

Viega PureFlow PEX and press fittings, Viega, PEX piping, press fittings, plumbing, Shamrock Plumbing

Shamrock uses Viega PureFlow products exclusively. The company used them in the past and was impressed, then they tried another company but eventually came back to Viega for its superiority.

“We weren’t satisfied with the other’s inconsistencies in the product, problems with leaks, etc., so we came back to Viega,” Sanders said. “It’s good, with good name recognition, and the reps and everyone we work with are a great support. You just can’t beat it.”

I’ve always had this romanticized view of Alaska. Ahh, The Last Frontier. It’s been on my bucket list for years, and it was actually one of the places my father and I had initially planned to visit before he passed away. There is something mystical about it — the beauty of the mountains, the wildlife, and Read more

I’ve always had this romanticized view of Alaska. Ahh, The Last Frontier. It’s been on my bucket list for years, and it was actually one of the places my father and I had initially planned to visit before he passed away. There is something mystical about it — the beauty of the mountains, the wildlife, and I would think you would have to have something special to live and work there. “Living in Alaska is an adventure. It is an extreme place to live with beautiful amazing summers with almost 24 hours of daylight to extreme cold, dark, snowy winters. There is no shortage of extreme activities to choose from,” says Everett Knudsen, owner/operator, 907 Heating & Plumbing, Anchorage.

Working in Alaska is extreme as well, says Knudsen, especially for the heating and plumbing trade. “Extreme cold (-20 F) is not uncommon in Anchorage January through February, and even colder in more northern locations of Alaska (-50 to-70 F). I’ve had a project that required taking a helicopter to get to the job site and another that required taking a boat,” says Knudsen.

Everett Knudsen, 907 Heating & Plumbing, plumbing, HVAC, Alaska, Hydronics, radiant, Anchorage, @907plumber“I used my own boat to travel back and forth to the jobsite over the course of about a week and a half. When we launched the boat there was about 6” of snow on the boat launch and had to chain up the box van just to get the boat in the harbor. Then the harbor was frozen over and one person had to sit on the bow with a piece of steel pipe and break up the ice in front of the boat to get the boat out of the harbor. The boat ride to the jobsite was out of Valdez harbor through the Bay to the Narrows. The mountains come right into the water, and just an amazing 30-minute commute.

“On our final trip back at the end of the project was very dangerous, the weather had turned very bad with high winds and blowing snow. We didn’t want to be stuck on the remote jobsite any longer so we went for it. The waves were 8-12’ and it was blizzard conditions. For my 22’ jet boat we were in way over our heads. Any type of engine failure would surely cost the two of us our lives. We could barely see the glimmer of the harbor lights as we slowly pushed through the storm. The windshield of the boat was freezing over and we could barely see. The boat was crashing over each wave and the spray was freezing and build up on the boat. I was terrified, as was my helper. Luckily, we made it back safe, very shaken, but safe. It was an experience I will never forget. You have to respect the extreme of Alaska or it could get the better of you.”

Plumbing in -20 F degree weather is very difficult and can be dangerous, reiterates Knudsen. “I’ve had my Channellock pliers freeze/stick to my gloves. I’ve entered houses full of ice from frozen split pipes. Working outside requires wearing the appropriate gear, and sometimes I’m only able to work outside for 30 minutes at a time before getting too cold. “Sometimes I have to use a pipe thaw machine (buzz box) or large welder to thaw frozen pipes to restore domestic water or heat. And usually this means wet gloves and hands, which does not match well with freezing temperatures,” says Knudsen.

Everett Knudsen, 907 Heating & Plumbing, plumbing, HVAC, Alaska, Hydronics, radiant, Anchorage, @907plumber

Needless to say, frozen cordless tools—mainly batteries—have to be kept inside once it gets colder than 20 or so and calls at all hours of the night, and working long late hours because time is of the essence to avoid more damage to property when it is very cold out, is imperative.

But what about the occasional wildlife encounter? Typically, while working in Anchorage it is safe, says Knudsen. There is frequent moose and the occasional bear, and depending on the part of Anchorage, there can be some added risks in the suburbs, he adds. “Springtime is always a good time to be cautious. The moose are having their babies and mama moose are very protective of their babies. Also, bears are coming out of hibernation and looking to eat anything. Yet, in my 25 years in Anchorage, I have not had a problem with either moose or bear.”

There are usually 1-3 or more bear attacks each summer in and around Anchorage. It is important to be aware of your surroundings in the summertime. “In the summer, when I go hiking anywhere in Alaska, I carry a 10mm or 44mag pistol for bear protection. Surprising a bear in the wild is where the problems lie and you never know when that will happen and it’s better to have it and not need it, then need it and not have it,” says Knudsen.

Into the Wild, and into the Trades

Originally from the Northwest, Knudsen, moved from Olympia, Wash., to Alaska in 1994. Knudsen answered a help wanted ad in the Anchorage local newspaper back in 1998 for “Local Plumbing Company Seeking Shop Helper.” He was 19 years old. “I started at Anchorage Plumbing & Heating, and at that time it was not my intention to be a plumber or have a plumbing career, I just needed a job, and I didn’t mind labor-type work.

Everett Knudsen, 907 Heating & Plumbing, plumbing, HVAC, Alaska, Hydronics, radiant, Anchorage, @907plumberBottom line, Knudsen started a family at a very young age and needed to provide for them. “My son was six months old when I started plumbing at age 19; eight years later my daughter arrived. Family was my main drive to become successful and work the hardest I could. I wanted to provide the best environment for them that I possibly could, while setting an example of honesty, hard work and determination as an ethical backbone for success,” says Knudsen.

At that time, Knudsen didn’t have a clue about how plumbing or heating worked, or how vast and essential it really was. “Turns out that I was gifted with a solid mechanical inclination and I caught on very quickly. Within two months, AP&H put me in my own van and started having me do basic plumbing and heating service calls. From there I worked for two other companies over the course of eight years. At year five—shortly after getting my journeyman’s license—I learned I could get my own plumbing contractor licenses so I set my sights on completing that goal. This goal was big for me since I didn’t have any type of formal education. I acquired my Mechanical Administrators License in the Unlimited Plumbing category for the state of Alaska. Then I acquired my Anchorage City Contractor’s License and started working for myself.”

Knudsen has been self-employed for the past 13 years as a one-man shop, with occasional hired experienced help along the way when needed. He has done all types of work throughout his career; he started with residential service and repair work, which includes retrofit of boilers, forced air furnaces, fireplaces, water heaters, as well as regular maintenance, remodels, repairs of heating and plumbing systems.

A catalog of his work includes: Residential gas boilers including baseboard heat, radiant heat, flat plate exchangers for snow melt and pool heating, multi temp injection systems, commercial snow melt 10,000 sq. ft., 3 x 500k Knight boilers; oil boilers residential and commercial; brazed 3” copper and worked with 2” REAHU PEX; installed/replaced forced air furnaces of all types from closets to crawl spaces; HRV installation to maintain good air quality in our cold climate; retrofit/upgrade hot water system in 30 unit apartment building cut fuel and water usage by 50%; new construction on several custom homes, triplexes, duplexes, and single family homes; low voltage controls of all types. I do enjoy wiring controls; water heaters of all types and sizes; HDPE butt fusion and saddle fusion for new water supply to subdivision; multiple large generators, fuel lines, exhaust piping, fresh air supply—24” VFD fans—and ducting to exhaust radiator heat out of building; 25-unit trooper housing complex in Bethel, Alaska; and HRV for FAA Housing in Nome, Alaska.

“I didn’t rough in my first home until I was in business for myself—never did it before—just a code book and my desire to succeed. It was a 4,500-sq.-ft. home— all radiant heat, HRV, and small swimming pool. $50 dollars an hour time and material. Passed all inspections. By myself. It helps to have a teacher, but if the desire is strong enough, you can do it!”

Everett Knudsen, 907 Heating & Plumbing, plumbing, HVAC, Alaska, Hydronics, radiant, Anchorage, @907plumberAnd occasionally, he does some new construction projects here and there. “Service work is very rewarding for me. To help a homeowner resolve their heating and plumbing challenges and provide excellent customer service never gets old to me. The vast majority of customers are very happy to receive excellent service and are happy to pay for the service provided. It’s a win-win situation, I enjoy this type of situation, as does the customer.”

And that’s one the biggest ethical factors that Knudsen has based a lot of his business principals on: Treat every project as if it were his. “I put myself in the client’s shoes, asking myself the question, ‘how would I want this to go if I was the client’ or the golden rule, ‘treat others as you wish to be treated.’ I was raised with a couple of core principals—hard work and respect. Applying these principles and ethics in my plumbing career has grown into something that has provided me with numerous lessons for personal growth, and a good income as well.”

What does Knudsen love most about his job? “I love building something with my hands and mind, then having a client look at the work and saying, ‘Wow, that looks amazing; how come the other plumber didn’t do that?’”

Again, Knudsen loves the win-win aspect of the job. “I love a customer that is super appreciative and complimentary, and at the same time, I’m making a living. This career constantly gives me opportunity for professional and personal growth. It enables me to learn new plumbing techniques, learn new customer relation skills on each job, and the scene always changes with new challenges every day. I love the variety.”

Everett Knudsen, 907 Heating & Plumbing, plumbing, HVAC, Alaska, Hydronics, radiant, Anchorage, @907plumberBut what are the issues Knudsen sees in the trades that need addressing? Honesty, Integrity and Craftsmanship, says Knudsen. “These are the things that I saw missing as I was coming up in the trade, and I still see quite a bit of it missing today, especially in residential work. Too many plumbing businesses/contractors influence customers into work or products they do not need. Then do marginal quick installs to maximize profits and move to the next.

A lot of Knudsen’s learning has been on-the-job training. To him, that means the client has paid for his education as a tradesman. He does his best to honor the valuable experiences he has gained while working for clients. If there is a situation where Knudsen made a mistake due to lack of experience or making an assumption and was incorrect, he makes sure not to charge the customer for that time for two reasons: 1) They are paying for an experienced professional to resolve their problem correctly and efficiently. 2) The value of the experience will vastly outweigh the few extra dollars he would have made on that one job, by giving me the experience for the jobs to come in the future. “Doing the right thing when no one else will know is HUGE!! That is true integrity!”

Knudsen advises to do your best to take pride in your work whenever and wherever you can. “Unfortunately for plumbers and mechanical workers, our work is buried in the ground—a wall, a crawlspace, a mechanical room—where not much of its glory and existence is on display. Even so, still take the time to have a clean, proper, well-installed system, even if it is to be covered up, it is still about integrity and pride in craftsmanship,” says Knudsen.

The trades are a wonderful opportunity for young people not really sure what they want to do with themselves, says Knudsen. Regardless, adds Knudsen, young people will need to work, and getting into a trade is super valuable, not to mention they will get paid to learn. “I do not think there is another situation that can compare to the benefit of getting paid to learn a trade. A trade is not any less important than a doctor, lawyer or any of the other careers that require a college degree. For several years, in the early stages of my career, I felt less than because of my lack of schooling. Now, that lawyer whose heat is not working calls me to come fix it. Trade workers are just as smart and valuable as the next. Just because school isn’t for you doesn’t mean you’re not smart and can’t make a good living,” says Knudsen.

Work/Leisure Time Tilt

How does Knudsen balance work and leisure time? That has taken a lot of practice, says Knudsen. “But learning to say ‘no’ has been the key to that. It’s been difficult to learn that, especially being in business for myself. Even some of my longest, best customers have helped me learn this. It has been truly difficult to tell them no at times. I don’t do it often, but it happens, even so they are still my loyal customers. I’ve discovered that is the key to not having my business/schedule own me and for me to own my business/schedule. There is a right time and a wrong time to say no, but it takes practice to learn those moments to help maintain balance in life,” says Knudsen.

Everett Knudsen, 907 Heating & Plumbing, plumbing, HVAC, Alaska, Hydronics, radiant, Anchorage, @907plumberSocial media is big for Knudsen (@907plumber on Instagram). He has just gotten into social media the last couple years and overall, he says it has been wonderful. “The Instagram community is amazing IMO. Big shout out to the IG community you all ROCK!”

Knudsen was actually feeling burnt out after his second shoulder surgery and contemplating trying something different for work— not trade related. Since Instagram has been such an amazing thing because it truly brought new life into his plumbing career. All the positive feedback from people all over the country and world has impacted him in a way he has not experienced before.

The growing of the followers, winning giveaways, connecting with others who do the same things he is passionate about everyday has brought a new shining light into his life, and for that, he is forever grateful. “I’ve learned so many new things through Instagram and it grows every day. It also has helped give me more of a sense of accountability and confidence I didn’t have before. I cannot believe people want to watch little ole’ me doing my thing, but I guess they like it, and being a service provider, I like to give people what they want. Additionally, If I can encourage or motivate someone to become a better version of themselves so they can experience a better quality of life and for all who they come in contact with, that is a true blessing,” says Knudsen.

Physical Fitness

Speaking of the shoulder injury and a demanding skilled trade, Knudsen puts a heavy emphasis on fitness. “I have only really incorporated fitness into my regular routine in the last several years and I have noticed tremendous benefits. Three years ago, I had surgery on my left shoulder for torn rotator cuff and torn bicep and four years before that I had the same surgery on my right shoulder. I’ve had to do quite a bit of physical therapy to get my shoulders back in working condition. I’ve also developed some tendonitis in my elbows in the past couple years. I’ve done several sessions with a physical therapist for my elbows. The therapist essentially told me that my poor posture was contributing to my elbow pains.

Everett Knudsen, 907 Heating & Plumbing, plumbing, HVAC, Alaska, Hydronics, radiant, Anchorage, @907plumberSo now I’ve added regular fitness to maintain strength in my shoulders and core to reduce fatigue and improve posture during the day. A good portion of my exercises also incorporate strengthening muscles for good posture to reduce added stress on shoulder, elbow and wrist joints. We are constantly working on stuff right in front of our chest causing poor posture and unbalanced muscle development. This leads to fatigue, joint soreness and injuries.

“We are working in awkward positions, pushing, pulling, lifting, twisting, bending. When we are in our younger years it seems that the need for fitness is not very important. Our bodies are fresh and more resilient but the longer we are in the trades the more wear and tear on the body happens, especially after 20+ years in the field. Fitness helps increase on the job performance, stamina, reduces potential for injury, helps with mental health and focus as well.

My goal is to maintain my ability to work in the field efficiently for many years to come. Hopefully my post about fitness helps some tradespeople to avoid injuries and discomfort while adding new vigor to their work and personal life,” says Knudsen.

Everett Knudsen, 907 Heating & Plumbing, plumbing, HVAC, Alaska, Hydronics, radiant, Anchorage, @907plumberIn addition to performing better on the job, that dedication to fitness allows Knudsen enjoy the array of outdoor activities that Alaska has to offer, which include fishing for salmon and halibut, boating in the numerous sounds, inlets, bays, lakes, rivers and ocean all around Alaska, hiking, camping, wildlife viewing, exploring, snowboarding, snowmobiling, ATV adventures.

“I love outdoor activities. Much of my spare time has been spent outdoors. For many years boating, camping and fishing all around Alaska was my summer time activity. Then snowmobiling and snowboarding in the winter. I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to see some of the most beautiful places and scenes Alaska has to offer while enjoying these activities.

And it’s that Alaska mystique I spoke of earlier. When asked when was the last time Knudsen said it was a great day? “I feel like it was somewhere around a week ago driving. It was just one of those days where it was crisp, clear beautiful weather, and the music was right. Thinking about all the people, experiences and moments that make me feel grateful to be alive; to have an opportunity to get to see the future unfold in front of me.”

A lot changes in a decade, but for A. Pederson’s Plumbing in Dallas, Oregon, you wouldn’t know it by looking at one of the Maxi-Rooters from General Pipe Cleaners coming off the company’s trailer. Pederson’s two Maxi-Rooters have been the company’s go-to machines for more than 10 years, and with the exception of the feed Read more

A lot changes in a decade, but for A. Pederson’s Plumbing in Dallas, Oregon, you wouldn’t know it by looking at one of the Maxi-Rooters from General Pipe Cleaners coming off the company’s trailer. Pederson’s two Maxi-Rooters have been the company’s go-to machines for more than 10 years, and with the exception of the feed bearings, they retain all their original components, including the original Flexicore® cable.

“When you look at what else is out there on the market, there’s nothing quite built like the Maxi-Rooter,” says Trenton Hargrove, plumber at A. Pederson’s Plumbing. “While other companies’ machines are predominantly plastic, the Maxi-Rooter is built like a tank. It’s a really beefy machine you can throw around and don’t have to worry about it breaking down.”

Family owned and operated since 1973, Pederson’s provides a wide range of plumbing services to Oregon’s Willamette Valley region. In recent years, the company has taken on more jobs in the commercial and industrial sectors. One such job that comes to mind for Hargrove involves a new construction site, an uncooperative line and a can of glue.

“A site had 3″ lines that were clogging up, which is uncommon for new construction,” Hargrove recalls. “A company that specializes in drain cleaning wasn’t able to figure out the problem, so we pulled the toilet and put a camera down the line. We found out someone dropped an ABS glue can down the line that glued itself to the pipe. We sent our Maxi-Rooter and ripped it right out!”

Built for portability as well as power and capacity, the USA made Maxi-Rooter rolls on 10″ ball bearing semi-pneumatic wheels and has V-belt stair climbers for easier transport up and down stairs. The machine clears roots and heavy stoppages in 3″ to 10″ lines and holds 125 feet of 3/4″ and 150 feet of 5/8″ Flexicore cable.

General’s heavy-duty Flexicore cable has a wire rope core tightly wound inside. It offers superior kinking resistance and unequalled strength with the right amount of flexibility. It’s so tough that it carries the best warranty in the business. Take a look for yourself and see it in action!

For cutting tough tree roots, Hargrove and his team use a 24″ leader at the end of the snake on the Maxi-Rooter. The flexible leader helps get around tight bends and traps and takes most of the abuse on a job, which helps preserve the integrity of the machine’s snake. Hargrove remembers one particularly daunting root job in which a giant oak tree outside a house had caused a significant line break in a 3″ pipe.

“These roots kind of make their way in there and we were probably 35 to 40 feet down the line the line,” Hargrove remembers. “With the Maxi-Rooter, we were able to clear it in 45 minutes with no problem. That’s why it’s our go-to machine!”

Pederson’s loyalty to General products goes back more than 20 years. Along with its trusty Maxi-Rooters, the company carries General’s JM-3080 gas powered water jetter and several Super-Vee small line drain cleaners in its arsenal. However, the Maxi-Rooter is a company favorite. Beyond its low maintenance and heavy-duty construction, Hargrove says the Maxi-Rooter’s sheer performance makes the machine a worthwhile investment.

“In addition to the power and mobility, we are able to clean these lines out faster, which saves our customers money,” Hargrove concludes. “We’re able to fit more jobs in our day, so we’re making more money. And when you don’t have to worry about downtime of fixing machines, it makes the Maxi-Rooter a very desirable piece of equipment to carry around.”