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Sewer Camera Inspections: What Are They and Do You Need One?

Overview: A sewer camera is a valuable tool for investigating your plumbing system and finding out whether there’s a problem. Have you noticed a nasty sewer gas odor? Or, even worse, has your toilet started backing up? Here’s how a sewer camera inspection can help you get to the bottom of those issues! 

Dealing with sewer line problems can be a nightmare scenario. Most sewer lines are buried underground — which is just where we want them, away from our noses. But that also means it can be challenging to diagnose problems when they happen. Thankfully, innovations in plumbing technology allow us to look into the pipes and check what’s underground in the lines.

Due to the very specific nature of the purpose they serve, the average homeowner prefers not to know too much about what’s going on in the sewer lines under their house. However, neglecting a nasty or foul smell or a malfunctioning plumbing pipe may result in unfavorable circumstances for you and your loved ones — to put it delicately!

Overlooking your sewer problems could lead to a disastrous clog, which could escalate to sewer spillage. A case of sewer backup could not only cost you hundreds of dollars, but it would also be hazardous to your family’s health. It’s much smarter to address a potential problem before it gets out of hand.

What is a Camera Sewer Inspection?

In the “good old days,” plumbers had no other choice but to dig and search for leaks and cracks. This method got the job done, but homeowners would often have to deal with torn-up driveways and broken basement floors.

Fortunately for us, electronic technology has improved the plumbing world, just as it has many other industries. Video cameras are smaller and more adaptable than previous generations ever could have imagined. Modern plumbers can simply insert a long, flexible, camera-equipped probe into your pipes to diagnose your sewer line issues accurately and from a distance. Armed with modern equipment, a professional plumber will create a small hole to let the camera in and investigate the situation. It’s much less invasive than the old “dig up the whole lawn” method!

These camera inspections gradually traverse your entire sewer line without causing a big mess up above. An inspection identifies the exact area of the piping problem, whether it’s a crack, a loose joint, or any other unforeseen trouble. It can also reveal issues like sediment buildup, which you probably never considered to be a possibility.

And the result? You’ll have time and the opportunity to come up with a plan to fix any problems detected by the inspection.

Related Reading: How does sewer a camera inspection work?

 Next Steps After a Sewer Camera Inspection:

After completing your sewer camera inspection, your plumber will identify the problem and prepare to resolve the situation as quickly as possible. The inspection will offer a detailed look into your pipes, which your plumber will be able to interpret.

Your plumber will give you the report, explain any issues they’ve diagnosed, and let you know what they can do to help you resolve them. At this point, the plumber will likely provide you with a quote for what it will take to proceed. Once you’ve taken care of the necessary paperwork steps, you can expect swift results to restore your sewer lines’ optimal flow.

When Should You Request a Sewer Inspection?

There are several signs that it’s time to call for a sewer inspection. Here are some things to look out for.

Foul odor permeating the property: When you notice a foul stench permeating your property, don’t ignore it. It’s not normal! An overbearing bad smell can really disrupt your daily life — not to mention the impact it can have on your social life. Nobody wants to come over and watch sports at the sewer smell house! This is an indication that it’s time to call the professionals to schedule a sewer camera inspection, or at least to get their expert opinion.

Sluggish drains that back up: There’s nothing more annoying than a slow-moving drain. After a relaxing shower or a soothing bubble bath at home, the last thing you want to deal with is dirty standing water. If you consistently need to unclog the water in your sink or toilet, that’s another plumbing red flag. There’s a reason for that clog, it’s not a pleasant one, and you’re going to want to do something about it ASAP.

Weird noises coming from the drain or toilet: Do you hear constant gurgling in your sink when you wash your hands? Those odd bubbly noises might also come from your bathroom every time you flush. If this is happening on a regular basis, it’s a good sign that you should reach out to a plumber and ask if they recommend a sewer camera inspection.

Related Reading: 5 benefits of a sewer camera inspection 

What a Sewer Camera Inspection Can’t Do:

At this point, you may be thinking that sewer cameras are practically magical in the range and scope of what they can achieve. But there are some limitations to what a sewer camera can detect inside your sewer lines.

Small cracks: If your sewer lines have small cracks, the camera may not pick up those minute details, which may obscure the true culprit of your pipe problems.

Locate leaks: A sewer camera alone can’t determine or locate a leak in your system. It’s useful as a secondary tool in a leak detection test, but a sewer camera itself can’t find a leak. The know-how of an experienced plumber will help pick up the slack.

In Summary:

Depending on the circumstances of your situation, a sewer camera inspection can tell you a lot about the health of your plumbing and drainage system. We hope this blog has provided you with enough information to allow you to make an enlightened decision about whether an inspection is in your near future.

If any of the scenarios we’ve described sound familiar to you, reach out to the professionals at NIR Plumbing. Our cutting-edge camera inspection service will provide you with useful information — and chances are it’ll save you from future agony. Let our team of experts take care of you!