Sewer Pipe Cameras: How They Work And Proper Uses

Sewer pipe cameras have evolved greatly over the past number of years.  It may be interesting to you to understand how they work. But perhaps more importantly, there are many benefits to property owners like yourself, especially when a spot repair on a sewer line is needed.

In general, video cameras have developed into very helpful tools for many different industries, and applications. These include filmmaking, documentaries, general security purposes, and even plumbing. Purpose-built sewer pipe cameras allow for visual inspection of underground sewer lines whether a drain cleaning is needed or as a stand-alone service. They likewise allow for inspections of other pipes buried under a building or under the road.

In an underground environment where light is scarce, or access is an issue, the modern sewer pipe camera provides great visibility. Modern HD sewer pipe cameras actually contain their own light source. These devices can check for any variety of damages such as:

  • Cracked pipe
  • Broken pipe
  • Dislodged pipe
  • Locating a blockage
  • Accumulation of dirt or debris, and the cause
  • Back pitched pipesewer pipe cameras

Sewer Cameras give real-time feedback and high-definition images

These HD cameras give real-time video feedback. They are connected to a monitor, or an Ipad. This allows for a technician to determine the exact location of any problem. This also allows for proper repair procedures when a dig-up is needed.

The videos or images can be saved as an image of existing sewer line installation for future reference. Modern cameras allow for easy sharing of the video online, which are now in high definition.

How Home Sewer Pipe Cameras Work

The simplest method to use a sewer pipe camera is to attach it to a flexible rod. A professional plumber will use a high-resolution video camera on the tip of the rod and insert it into your pipe. It is ideal for a pipe with a diameter anywhere from 2-inch to 36-inch.

The flexible rod allows for better maneuverability inside the pipe. This comes in especially handy around corners and bends, to see the condition of the pipeline. This method is now considered the “traditional” and effective only for checking damage in residential sewer pipes.

Sewer Cameras come in different models and for different purposes

HD sewer pipe cameras give crystal clear imaging.

For a more sophisticated sewer line or public sewer, different cameras may be used. These cameras are often attached to a PIG (Pipeline Inspection Gauge). This is a motorized cylindrical body that moves through a pipeline. Besides a camera, it can also bring other tools to clean debris. PIG is a more sophisticated multi-function device. It is used to perform sewer pipe maintenance both for residential or commercial pipeline construction.

The camera has lighting devices to illuminate the pipeline, typically LEDs. It is connected to an external screen by a long flexible waterproofed cable. Some high-end PIGs also have lasers to help determine the exact measurement of the pipes including diameter.

Some sewer pipe cameras are self-propelled

A visual inspection inside a pipe with a large diameter often uses a camera tractor and service truck. The camera tractor actually goes inside the pipeline. All the cables themselves are well protected, so there is no rubbing against pipe surfaces. When the pipeline is too small for a camera tractor, the camera is attached to a semi-rigid tip of a cable. This is sometimes referred to as a fish.

More advanced devices to check for damage inside a pipe are called Inline Inspection Pigs. These are modern tools equipped with multiple sensors. They record various data of the pipeline itself. Some devices use ultrasonic technology, while others use Magnetic Flux Leakage (MFL). Both technologies are good for measuring cracks, dents, corrosion, buckles, and other anomalies.

The Benefits of Sewer Pipe Cameras

Unless you have a large sophisticated sewer line in your house, you don’t need advanced devices to do the sewer camera inspection. The conventional high-resolution underground camera is good enough to do the job. This is especially true when you only need to see the point of blockage, or what kind of damage you have in your sewer line.

A sewer pipe camera cannot actually fix any damage, but it plays a major role in determining the proper repair procedure. Some of the best benefits of sewer pipe cameras are as follows.

The Accuracy Of Sewer Pipe Cameras

Video inspections by a professional plumber allows them to pinpoint not only the location of the blockage, but also the actual cause of the blockage. If clogging occurs somewhere in the middle of the pipeline it allows for the possibility of a spot repair. It could seem ridiculous and expensive to try different types of troubleshooting methods randomly.

Many plumbing tools can reach deep within a sewer pipe. But you must know the real cause of the blockage before deploying any device or commencing excavation. That is why sewer pipe cameras are frequently the ideal option.

The clarity of images from High Definition

A HD camera inside a pipeline records every image in amazing clarity. It them feeds it to an external screen connected via a cable. It also has lighting device to illuminate an otherwise very dark space. A clogging can be the result of broken pipe, root invasion, dirt or clay settlement, etc. When the real culprit is figured out, it is easy to determine the proper troubleshooting method leaving all guesswork.

sewer pipe camera images
Crystal clear HD imaging

Efficient and cost effective

An accurate inspection allows for efficient plumbing troubleshooting procedure. It is a non-destructive inspection method; there is no digging involved. The pipes and the entire construction remain intact during the process because the camera is operated remotely.

With sewer pipe camera, repair only starts when the condition of the overall pipe has been thoroughly checked. There is no risk of unnecessary damages due to improper repair. It saves time, money, and efforts.

Working Safely

Sewer maintenance involves working in potentially hazardous spaces. In most cases, entry is not possible due to the limited size or diameter of the sewer access pit.

Digging to expose the entire pipe across the run of the sewer line can also be a waste of time, effort, and money. This is true even in the case of an extremely large diameter pipe. Even with enough size to fit a person, there is a risk of toxicity from poisonous gas, waste, and chemical substances.

Sewer video cameras provide a viable and relatively low-cost option to avoid risks to workers and clients as well. Every year there are unnecessary fatalities and serious injuries to persons while drain services are being performed.

Professionally trained in proper use

NYC drain service

Pipe inspection cameras are specifically designed to withstand submersion in water. The cable that connects the camera to an external monitor is also waterproof. It may sound as simple as attaching a camera to an RC toy car and controlling it from your house, but it is far from the same thing.

A professional drain technician is able to operate the camera and analyze the condition of the pipe properly through a screen. An untrained user can easily misinterpret the information visible on the video. This can easily result in unneeded pipe repair work, or excavating in an incorrect location. Another important thing is that a professional has different types of cameras to work with specific sizes and types of pipes.

PIG is commonly used, but there are other types of cameras. These include push cameras and crawler cameras. Push cameras are for smaller pipes, typically house drains or house sewers. They are operated manually by pushing the cable down the pipeline. If the problem is near grates or catch basin, push cameras are also good options.

Crawler cameras are controlled remotely from a control station. Only a highly trained professional can consider and know which camera is right for a particular condition and application. For more expert advice or service, contact the Balkan Drain Team.