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What is a Pipeline Camera Inspection?
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Blog 04/17/19

What is a Pipeline Camera Inspection?

A pipeline camera inspection to view the condition of sewer and drain lines is a necessity if homeowners have constant backups and blockage, root intrusion, or are purchasing a new home. When sewer lines are in the ground, there is no telling what the condition may be and leaving problems unchecked could cause major damage to the home. Pipeline camera inspections are also required to get an accurate estimate for repair estimates and epoxy drain lining estimates.

A sewer line camera inspection will give an in-depth view to the drain lines showing areas of deterioration, breaks or cracks, low spots, root intrusion, or other possible issues that may be restricting flow, hence clogging the drains. A pipeline camera inspection may also provide relief and show that all it may need is a good cleaning which can be accomplished by hydro jetting. Save the headaches of repairing, replacing, or lining the drain system.

Using a sewer pipe camera to inspect the surrounding areas will also trace the line showing homeowners where the line runs and where accessible cleanouts are. The inspection equipment can help foresee what future issues may arise.

What is the Process of Performing a Pipeline Camera Inspection?

Camera inspections should be performed by a licensed contractor. If there is an issue with the sewer system on the city side, only a licensed contractor can submit a “plumbers report” in order for the city to investigate and perform repairs. Most often, the problem is on the residential side, but it is a good practice to hire reputable professionals.

Access for Camera Inspection

The first step in a camera inspection for a main sewer line is finding access. Access can be through cleanouts, roof vents, or through toilet flanges. Professional plumbers and experienced technicians will perform a visual inspection of the property looking for appropriate cleanouts. Sometimes, cleanouts can be buried underground, underneath concrete or landscaping, or not installed at all for that matter.

If no cleanout is accessible, a specialist can camera through the roof vent. Often, through the camera process, cleanouts that are buried can be located and dug up for easier repair, lining, or snaking of the line.

Every home should have a proper cleanout and will be situated at the end of the line, from the city access on the street or in front of the house. Cleanout systems are also often located in garages.

During Camera Inspection

During the pipe inspection, the plumber will ensure the proper footage counter is used and will actively note any potential issues. It is important to detect, then locate exact footage as it can drastically change the cost to repair, line or dig up. Often, plumbing technicians will camera from different access points when available to fully view all aspects of the drain line.

The camera inspection can also specify what kind of pipe is in the ground and if any sections have been repaired or replaced at some point.

What are Issues Commonly Found in Damaged Lines?

The most common problem in most main sewer lines is root intrusion. Residents who have homes with large trees may want to perform an inspection to ensure roots aren’t infiltrating the pipe. It is possible that lines can become root infested even with no trees nearby.

Roots are attracted to the moisture and rich nutrients found in drain lines and will grow toward them. In the case of cast iron, roots can invade through small cracks and holes.

Clay pipe comes in five-foot sections and are connected with a hub, a rubber gasket to seal the pipes together. Over time, the seal can become disconnected through deterioration or natural shifting allowing roots easy access to the line.

Roots can then grow through the sewer line and come up through toilets and wreak havoc on plumbing. At best, they will restrict the flow causing continual backups.

Other common problems are pipes deteriorating over time. Cast iron has a life expectancy of 50 to 60 years, so homes that have not had pipes replaced may find they have breaks or holes in their system.

Why Are Camera Inspections Important?

Camera inspections can be performed before problems occur to help homeowners view the condition of the line every two to three years, or after problems arise. Inspections are helpful to determine what is happening in the sewer line, but it isn’t always bad news.

Many times, camera inspections will show homeowners a healthy drain line that may only need snaking or at worst a hydro jetting. Many new homeowners add camera sewer line inspections to their inspection needs before purchasing a new home. This allows them to understand any potential repairs they may face with plumbing that cannot be visually inspected.

Homeowners with homes more than 30 or 40 years old may want to invest in a camera inspection to view the condition and prepare for any possible expenses in the future. When lines do develop problems such as roots or breaks, the damage may not be immediately noticed but could cause sewage overflows and ultimately property damage.

Camera Inspections will also allow professionals to determine the best possible service to perform in order to repair the pipeline. Most options include snaking and/or hydro jetting, dig up and replacement of the whole line or a small section, or epoxy relining solutions.

Epoxy relining solutions are a great option because they can repair the linewithout any dig up. Dig ups will disrupt concrete, landscaping, and typically cost more than epoxy lining. Plus, epoxy lining can be done in sections, so homeowners with a small hole or break can have a fully restored section of line for an economical cost.

Pipeline camera inspections are also important when investigating problems caused on the city side of the property. Homeowners are responsible for their sewer lines from the city connection, which is often underneath concrete. But, if the city has a break or problem, a camera inspection can be performed and a report submitted to the city to take care of repairs.

Camera inspections are a wise investment for homeowners, especially when facing constant problems with clogged sewer lines, or when purchasing a new home. For a free quote on a pipeline camera inspection, call 1-800 BILL HOWE (245-5469), chat with us, or book online today.


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  1. […] pulls back roots or heavy sludge, a drain specialist will recommend a sewer camera inspection. A sewer camera inspection will go through one of the available access points and view the condition of the main sewer pipe. […]

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