A sewer camera could be a very useful tool for checking out the sewer system in your home. Maybe you smelled a bad smell like sewer gas. Or your water may not drain as quickly as it used to. Or worse, you’ve got an overfilled toilet.
Unless you’re one of those people, you’ll ask for help from a plumber. A sewer camera examination is likely to be carried out by the plumber when he visits your home.
For the homeowner, it’s essential to know just what a sewer camera examination can and cannot uncover. As a result of this knowledge, you will understand whether the plumbing firm that comes to examine your pipes is charging you too much or not.
What is a camera inspection of a sewer?
First, let’s talk about what a camera inspection of a sewer is. Usually, sewer lines are put in under your house’s foundation. There’s a concrete slab that’s approximately 4 or 5 inches thick, followed by about 2 feet of soil.
Using a flexible wire attached to a sewage video camera head, a technician snakes the camera into a sewer line cleanout or the vent stack to look for any potential issues. After that, the plumber uses a ground-level monitor to check what’s happening in your pipes.
Our experts at In-House Plumbing are equipped with a sewer camera to help us diagnose your issue. But, unlike our competitors, we know that a camera alone can’t find every problem.
What Does A Camera Inspection of A Sewer System Do?
You might be wondering, “What can I do with a sewer inspection camera?” How will I know if it will help me? ”
Well, these inspections can help immensely. If you have any of these problems or think there might be a problem with your sewer system, you need an inspection.
Here are some problems that a camera inspection of a sewer can help fix:
- Infiltrations from tree roots: those are most commonly seen in older pipes composed of porous materials like clay, cast iron, and so on. Your sewage pipe may become clogged if tree roots make their way into it through a hole in the ground. Find out how to stop tree roots from getting into your home.
- Pipes that are broken, cracked, or have fallen: Since the camera runs along the pipe, the plumber will be able to see if the pipe has broken, shifted, or collapsed.
- Major clogging: Occasionally, your pipes are in great shape, but grease, paper, and other sludge have built up in them over the years because you put things down the drain that should go in the trash.
- Sagging or “bellied” sewer lines: When a part of a sewer pipe starts to sag, waste gets stuck in the “bellied” part, which causes the pipe to get clogged again and again.
How Sewer System Cameras Operate
With a sewer camera, you can see what’s causing a clog or backup in the drainpipe without having to dig up your yard or guess what’s wrong. Since fixing sewers and replacing pipes is not an easy job, this aid recipient avoids costly repairs without knowing precisely that the problem will be fixed when the work is done.
Plumbers feed a snake-like cable with a small, flexible sewer camera attached through the sewage pipe until it finds the source of the obstruction (or break in the line). Using a camera with a built-in radio transmitter, the plumber can see exactly where the obstruction is and what has to be done to remove it.
A sewer camera can’t tell you if your sewer lines are leaking or where the leak or leaks are. This is so important that it’s worth repeating. A sewer camera can be helpful as a second tool in a test to find a leak, but it can’t be used to tell if you have a backflow or to recognize a leak on its own.
There Are Four Reasons A Sewer Camera Can’t Find A Leak
1. A leak occurs when water seeps out of a pipe through a crack, fracture, or other defect. Since the camera is located inside the pipe, it is unable to capture images of what is on the other side. As a result, it is impossible to tell if there is a leak in the pipe from the outside. It can only prove what is happening “WITHIN” the pipe.
2. The plumber is staring at a monitor that shows him what the camera “sees.” Therefore, the plumber has to figure out what he’s seeing or make an educated guess. He could perhaps think he knows something in the pipe that appears like a hole, a break, or a crack.
But please remember, this is your sewer system we’re talking about. This is where all of your waste gets flushed and emptied. Believe us when we say it’s not good. As a result, it’s difficult to detect whether something is leaking based just on the monitor’s display.
3. Most sewer pipes are made of cast iron or PVC, both of which have thick walls. So it is possible that something could look like a hole, a crack, or a break. But because the pipe walls are so thick, it’s possible that what the plumber sees doesn’t go all the way through the pipe and that no water is leaking out at all. So, there is no leak.
4. There is years of accumulation on the walls of the pipe, especially with carbon steel, but this might also be true for PVC. This is especially true with older pipes. The walls of your sewer pipes get covered with calcium, soap scum, grease, trash, and just about anything else. Any cracks or holes that the plumber sees might be in the buildup and not in the pipe itself.
According to our estimates, about 95% of Dallas-area plumbers use a camera to find leaks. They come in, use a sewer camera to look around, and then tell you that you have a leak.
But keep in mind that something that looks like a leak on camera might not be a leak at all. And vice versa. Look at this photo that another plumbing company took and showed to a homeowner.
There are a variety of sewer pipe repairs and replacements
Once your plumber figures out why the sewer line is backing up, you may have more than one way to fix the problem.
Repair and Replacement of Sewers in The Old Way
If the sewer camera examination reveals that your sewage line is drooping, bellied, or collapsed, conventional repair is your only choice. Digging a trench to find the problem piece of the sewage line is one of the first steps a plumbing firm will take. This method can damage other parts of your property, like concrete walking paths and driveways, landscaping, etc., but sometimes it is the best choice.
Sewer Repair and Replacement Without Digging
The trenchless method of fixing sewers is much less invasive and harmful than digging trenches. To start trenchless pipe bursting, small access points are made to the damaged pipes. A cable is put in and pulled through, pursuing the path of the existing line while pulling the new line into place at the same time.