THE CAN’S AND CAN’TS OF SEWER CAMERA INSPECTION
Sewer camera inspection offers you an inside view of damaged sewer pipes without the need for expensive and messy excavation. Not only does your plumber get a more accurate and precise picture of what your sewer problem is, as the homeowner, you also can have a closer look at the problem. But, sewer camera inspections can’t necessarily identify every potential issue with your pipes. Here look at how a sewer camera inspection works and what it can and can’t do.
HOW A SEWER CAMERA INSPECTION WORKS
Sewer camera inspections use a tiny camera mounted on the end of a cable, that can be inserted into your sewer pipes and travel through them underground capturing images of your sewer’s interior. The plumber can observe this process through a monitor based at the ground level and can see what the camera see’s and identify potential problems in your sewer pipes.
WHAT A SEWER CAMERA INSPECTION CAN IDENTIFY
The Location of Your Sewer Lines – By using attached location devices, sewer cameras can send out signals to the recipient above ground that will help your plumber identify the exact location of sewer lines.
Slow Drainage and Blockages – While the main water supply is under pressure, sewage leaves your home by the power of gravity. When dirt, hair, grease, or a clog blocks your sewer line, your sewer can drain too slowly, or may start to back up. A sewer camera can be used to identify the cause of the blockage; whether it’s a clog, tree root, or a collapsed pipe, it can help you find the right solution.
System Type and Materials – It’s a simple thing, but because sewer pipes are underground you can’t tell what type of system you have. A sewer camera inspection can tell you if you have PVC or cast-iron pipes, and this can help project potential sewer issues.
Structure and Connections – A sewer camera inspection allows your plumber to see fittings, tee’s, and other types of connections. This can help plumbers understand where water flows and which directions it travels in.
WHAT A SEWER CAMERA INSPECTION CAN’T IDENTIFY
The main things that sewer camera inspections can’t identify are the location of a leak.
The reasons for this include –
A leak is caused when water escapes out of a pipe. Because a sewer camera is inside the pipe, it can’t identify leaks.
When a pipe is leaking, there may be many other factors at play – tree root invasion, pipe collapse, clogs and blockages, and dirt and debris build-up. Meanwhile, your plumber is at surface level trying to decipher and understand what they are seeing on the monitor. This can make a subtle leak hard to pinpoint.
PVC and cast-iron pipes used for sewage are very thick, so it can be hard to tell if cracks or holes go through the full thickness of the pipes and are leaks.
A sewer camera inspection is a highly effective and non-invasive way to get an inside look at your underground sewer pipes, but it’s essential to remember camera inspections can’t locate leaks. To ensure success with your sewer repairs be sure to choose an experienced and licensed plumber and get a professional perspective on the best inspection method for your pipes.
Benefits of Sewer Inspection Cameras
Fear of the unknown is daunting, but lying awake at night wondering about the condition of your plumbing pipes or what’s clogging your drain shouldn’t be your reality.
There is a sure way to know what’s going on inside your home plumbing. Sewer inspection cameras are exactly what they sound like and can detect anything from leaks to clogs.
The pictures won’t be pretty, but the camera attached to the end of a flexible rod used by professionals will find plumbing problems before they turn into disasters. You might not think there’s an issue or be able to see one, but that’s exactly the point! Here are more reasons a sewer line inspection could be beneficial for you
Locate a leak or water break
There are telltale signs of water leaks, and then there are hidden clues there’s something not quite right with your plumbing. While the not-so-subtle signs might be enough to discover where water is escaping your pipes, sewer inspection cameras can help determine the exact location. If left untreated, plumbing leaks can be costly and result in long-term damage to your home. If you notice the slightest change in water pressure or your water bill, get things checked out. Preventative measures won’t always keep emergencies at bay.
Eliminate unnecessary digging and guessing
The thought of digging a small hole in your lawn wasn’t so bad until it turned into a 3-foot trench, and you and your plumber are still trying to find the leak or obstruction in your plumbing. Sewer inspection cameras are much less intrusive while eliminating the higher cost and excessive digging in your yard while guessing the wrong spots. You’ll also save some time explaining to the neighbors why your property has become a mess and an eyesore.
Video Pipeline Inspection
Gone are the days when digging for leak points in your home’s pipeline was a matter of educated guesswork. Today, it just takes a phone call to request a video pipeline inspection or CCTC pipeline inspection. The only thing you must ensure is that the company you call has enough experience and good enough equipment to do a thorough job
The self-righting and auto-focusing cameras attached to drain inspection lines can detect the problems in just a single trip. equipment is fitted with powerful lights and has high-resolution recording capabilities. Most importantly, make use of cameras that have transmitters in them which let locate the exact block points.
Most people think of video sewer inspection only when they have clogged drains which cannot be fixed by drain auger, drain cleaner or a plunger. What they do not realize is that there is a need for inspection even when renovating/adding a bathroom or kitchen to the house. You must get an idea of whether your sewer line can actually handle the increased amount of waste when you make the modifications to your home.
HOW A VIDEO SEWER INSPECTION CAN SAVE YOUR SANITY
If you’ve ever had sewer line blockage before, you know how expensive, disruptive, and downright nasty it can be. The truth is, most homeowners never give their sewer lines a second thought until there’s a problem. Out of sight, out of mind.
But all kinds of things may be going on underground that you can’t see: grease buildup, clogging from paper products, root intrusion, cracking or shifting due to oversaturated soil, and deterioration from age. If your water is draining more slowly than usual, you hear gurgling noises coming from your toilet, or a sinkhole appears in your yard, you may have a sewer backup.
Addressing the issue with the least disruption
Until recently, sewer line repair may have entailed digging up large amounts of lawn just to find the area of blockage. In other words, it was anyone’s best guess. Today can perform a video inspection that will pinpoint the exact location of the problem.
Here’s how it works. A small, waterproof high-resolution video camera is sent into your sewer lines via a long, flexible scope. The camera’s journey often begins with the branch lines (leading from the tubs and faucets) and extends through the larger pipe that leads to the municipal line on the edge of your property. The image is electronically sent to a laptop so that both the technician and homeowner can view the extent of damage remotely.
The camera is also equipped with a transmitter that sends a signal to a locating device, allowing the technician to determine the exact blockage point and depth from above ground. The spot is then marked, indicating where the sewer trench will be dug. This accuracy dispenses with the guesswork and spares unnecessary damage to your lawn, saving you money and headaches in the long run.
Sewer Inspections – Signs to Look For
Last winter I was inspecting a vacant home. As I came to a bathroom I did all the normal things, turned on the shower, the sink and flushed the toilet at the same time. All looked fine. Then I went to the next bathroom which was in the basement and did the same thing. Then on to the kitchen. Later in the inspection while I was walking past the basement bathroom I noticed some dirt in the shower pan. It was odd because I didn’t see dirt there when I first inspected it
Where could that dirt have come from? As I investigated further I noticed water coming out from under the toilet and onto the floor. Down the hall I found a pool forming on the furnace room floor. The normal course of my work had lead to the discovery of a problem my client would want to know about. One that obviously needed fixing.
But what’s the right way to fix the problem? Does the drain line simply need roto-rooting? Maybe. The three main causes of plugged sewer lines are roots, grease, and structural problems. Roots and grease can be removed fairly inexpensively ($100-$200), however if there are structural problems with the drain, the piping will need to be repaired or replaced. This typically costs between $2500 and $14,000.
Sometimes there may not be obvious symptoms such as the ones I mentioned above. The owner may regularly have the drain roto-rooted and think that it is perfectly normal and not mention it in a disclosure. For buyer protection the best course of action is to have a drain line inspected with a video-scope under certain circumstances. A video-scope allows inspection of the drain piping from the house out to the city sewer
It is done by feeding a fiber optic cable into the drain. A video tape can be produced at the same time so the buyer does not have to be present to “see for themselves” or to show to whomever buys the house next the conditions that existed at the time of the inspection