Sioux Center man works to unclog problems

Andy Aukes of Sioux Center started Perfect Pipes, a sewer and drain cleaning service, because of a need he saw in the community and county.

SIOUX CENTER—A new sewer and drain cleaning service has come to Sioux County.

Andy Aukes, 40, of Sioux Center began Perfect Pipes about six months ago because of a need he saw in the plumbing industry.

“A lot of people need help with a drain problem — figuring out what’s clogging their plumbing because no one wants a toilet that doesn’t flush,” he said.

He’s seen a lot pulled from drains after more than 20 years working in the plumbing industry — baby wipes, paper towels, cotton balls alongside some odds and ends like cellphones, toys and silverware.

They all have one thing in common.

“They don’t break down the way toilet paper does, and all they really do is clump together in your pipes and cause problems down the line,” he said.

Those kinds of problems often require special equipment, which lead area plumbing businesses to refer such work to a specialist.

Aukes has gathered his firsthand experience with drain issues since high school when he started working for a local plumber for a couple of years. He’s been with B&B Plumbing and Heating in Sioux Center for 18 years.

“A lot of my work as been helping with service calls and home remodel projects,” he said. “With the amount of plumbing work Sioux Center has, there’s less time for helping with these kinds of plumbing issues. And unclogging drains is not the most desirable work, but I was seeing how much work we were turning away and sending elsewhere and saw a need.”

The need grew earlier this year, too, after an Orange City resident who did sewer and draining cleaning services retired, leaving one such company out of Doon to send referrals to.

Aukes invested in four different sizes of Roto-Rooter machines and a hydro jetter, or water power machine, as well as a camera and locater for his business.

“Anything do to with drains I try to help with,” he said. “Sometimes that’s taking the camera and locater to find a problem in a line from the house to the road or septic tank. Sometimes that’s determining what’s making a drain slow or plugged. Sometimes it’s a venting issue and we have to troubleshoot the problem.”

A common problem Aukens often sees for older homes are tree roots breaking up clay tiles that made up the sewer pipes, causing a clog or back up.

“That camera is especially helpful,” Aukes said. “Not only can we see the condition of a line but also put on a locater and tell a digger right where to dig if there is a problem instead of digging up a whole line.”

Though Aukes mainly works with residential customers in Sioux County towns, he’s looking to expand his industrial services. Much of his work in that realm so far has been is putting his hydro jetter to work cleaning out grease from restaurant drains.

“There’s a lot that can be done for preventive maintenance with that, which will help these businesses,” he said.

Aukes continues working for B&B while being able to break away for calls in need of Perfect Pipes’ services.

“That’s how I like to leave the drain, as perfect as it can get, which isn’t always the case,” he said. “Lines to have to get dug up sometimes but that’s why, in some ways, I want to provide education to prevent what we can. Flushable wipes aren’t flushable. Neither are baby diapers, sand, feminine hygiene products, hair, bandages.”

Aukes said to give him a call for the full list of what’s not flushable “because it’s more than you think.” He’d be happy to help.