A sewer camera is a valuable tool to help determine if there’s a problem with your home’s sewer system.
Maybe you noticed a nasty sewer gas odor. Or maybe your water isn’t draining as fast as it use to. Or worse, you’ve got an overflowing toilet.
If you’re like most people, you’ll call a plumber for help. And when that plumber comes to your house, more than likely, he’ll perform a sewer camera inspection.
But it’s important for you, the homeowner, to know what a sewer camera inspection can find and what it can’t. Armed with this information, you will know if the plumbing company you hire to come out and inspect your pipes is ripping you off or not.
What is a Sewer Camera Inspection?
First, let’s cover what a sewer camera inspection is. Typically sewer lines are installed under the foundation of your house. There’s the concrete slab which is about 4 or 5 five inches thick and then about 2 feet or so of dirt above the pipe.
To inspect the pipes and find possible problems, a special sewer video camera head connected to a flexible cable is inserted into the main sewer line cleanout, or in some cases, the vent stack and snaked through the pipes. Then the plumber watches on a monitor at ground level to see what’s going on in your pipes.
Here at Local Drain Expert, we use a sewer camera to help us determine what your problem is. However, unlike our competition, we know there are some problems a camera alone can’t find.
What a Sewer Camera Inspection Can’t Do
Despite what many in the plumbing industry think, there are limitations to what a sewer camera sees inside your sewer lines. But there is one thing a sewer camera absolutely cannot see.
A sewer camera alone cannot determine if you have a leak or to locate a leak or leaks in your sewer lines. In fact, this is so important, it bears repeating.
While it’s useful as a secondary tool in a leak location test, a sewer camera by itself cannot be used to determine if you have a leak or to find a leak.
What a Sewer Camera Inspection Can Do
While a sewer camera cannot find leaks, there are certain situations where the camera alone is effective.
Sewer cameras have location devices that send out a signal. Using a special signal receiver above ground, our plumbers pinpoint where the camera is underground.
Drainage or Stoppage Issues
We call this your “sewer is not working as it is designed to work.”
Sewer pipes work using the power of gravity. The pipes flow downhill so when something goes into the pipe—waste, debris, water—it flows or drains down through your piping system and ultimately ends up at your city’s waste treatment center or septic tank, depending on your particular situation.
However, if something is causing your system to not work properly, in most cases we can use a sewer camera to determine what is causing it. Often in cases like these we find stoppages, blockages, roots, mud, broken pipe, etc.
Sewer System Connections
With a sewer camera, we can see fittings, tee’s, and other types of connection. We can also use it at the connections to run water. We’re able to see where the water flows to or from and/or comes from one line to another.