Why You Need a Sewer Camera Inspection


One of the last things you want is for your home or business’s sewer system to break. A leaking sewer pipe can cause horrible damage! In the past, the only way you could find a leak or a break was to trace as much of the pipe as possible through visual inspection and smell, often requiring digging up front yards, digging under foundations, sidewalks and curbs, and even breaking up blacktop streets. Now professionally trained technicians can inexpensively perform high-resolution sewer camera inspection from inside the pipes. This should be done once a decade as preventative maintenance.

Many types of damage can happen to a sewer pipe system. The ground can settle or shift, stressing the pipe to its breaking point, such as may happen from a small sinkhole-like condition, or from an earthquake. Pipes can be old and corroded. Tree roots can both stress pipes from the outside or even penetrate pipes. An unknown manufacturing defect, or a bad installation of the sewer pipe system, may have existed for years before finally breaking. Shifting grounds and buildings can also overstress or offset pipe joints, which may fail after dozens of years.

When you have a sewer camera inspection done, the technician will find where there are any problems in a pipe. A small high-resolution camera with bright LEDs will be inserted into the sewer pipe at the end of a long thin flexible-steel pipe, much like a pipe cleaning snake. The camera’s video feed is recorded, and it can reveal to both the technician and you the condition of the pipe, and where any cracks or breaks are located. The plumber can then inform you what methods are most suitable for fixing the plumbing problems.

If there is a blockage in the sewer pipe, the technician may need to first clean it out using a snake or other means before doing a complete camera inspection. The sewer pipe must also be accessible. Most buildings have easy-access locations, but sometimes it may be necessary to remove a toilet.

One more thought: If you are planning to purchase an older home, especially in earthquake country, you may want to have a complete sewer camera inspection done of the sewer pipes. These inspections are not usually a part of normal home buyer inspections. The condition of the sewer pipes probably also reflects the condition of the normal water pipes. Knowing the state of repair for those pipe systems before you buy the house may save you thousands of dollars later.

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