What Is A Sewer Camera Inspection?

Feb 2, 2023 | Plumbing

Sewer line damage can result in costly repairs for homeowners, but taking proactive steps to prevent this damage can save time and money. One of the best ways to do this is through a sewer camera inspection.

Sewer camera inspections are an important preventive measure that allow professional plumbers to identify potential problems within a home’s sewer lines before they turn into extensive damages.

This article will discuss sewer cameras, explaining what a sewer camera inspection is, how it works, and how it can help you avoid costly repairs down the road.

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A sewer camera.

What Is A Sewer Camera?

A sewer inspection camera is a specialized tool used to inspect pipes and the interior of sewer lines. It consists of an elongated, flexible shaft with a high-resolution camera. The camera can transmit live video footage allowing sewer line inspectors to identify potential issues before they become too expensive to repair. These cameras have adjustable lenses, zoom capabilities, and different lighting options for optimal viewing in tight or dark spaces.

Sewer inspection cameras are most commonly used in residential homes but are also used for larger commercial or industrial sites. They provide an easy and cost-effective way for homeowners to identify potential problems within their sewage systems without using costly excavation methods. Sewer inspection cameras are also useful for assessing the condition of existing sewer lines before purchasing properties and inspecting new construction plumbing systems before occupancy.

In addition to being an effective preventive measure, sewer cameras provide cost-benefits over traditional inspection methods such as drain snaking or rooter services. They also allow plumbers to pinpoint the exact locations of any damage within the line without having to do any guesswork or trial and error methods.


Sewer Camera Inspection

Sewer camera inspections are relatively quick and straightforward.

First, a sewer line inspector will access the clean-out line, typically located outside the home near the sewer line. This line provides entry to the sewer lines so cameras can be deployed into the pipes.

Once access to the lines has been established, the sewer line inspector will deploy the sewer line camera down into the line. They will then use the camera’s controls to guide it through the line while viewing real-time footage transmitted onto the monitor or screen. Since the viewable area is typically around 6-10 inches in diameter, this method provides a detailed look at what lies beneath.

During the inspection process, the inspector may also deploy a sonde, a specialized tool that measures water temperature and pressure and displays other useful data about the pipe’s condition.

Finally, once a thorough inspection is complete and any potential problems have been identified, inspectors can provide homeowners with a detailed report outlining their findings and recommendations for repair work (if necessary).

What A Sewer Camera Inspection Can Do

A sewer camera inspection can help identify various potential issues affecting a home’s plumbing system. These problems include the following:

Tree Roots In Pipe

Tree roots invading pipelines are actually more common than we think and theses can cause significant damage to pipes. These tree roots grow into and around the pipes and sewer lines, creating blockages that are difficult to clear without excavation.

A sewer camera inspection can pinpoint exactly where root intrusion oc curs and advise how best to proceed with repairs. In some cases, this may involve replacing sections of pipe damaged by the roots or running a pipe-bursting tool down the line to break up any access blockage.

Broken Pipes

Broken pipes can occur over time due to natural wear and tear and extreme weather events such as hurricanes or earthquakes, which can cause ground shifts large enough to crack sinkholes or cause subterranean pipes to break.

A sewer camera inspection will accurately identify areas where broken pipe sections exist so that they can be replaced promptly before further damage occurs. Additionally, if any joint connections are loose or misaligned, this will also be identified during the video footage recording allowing for corrective action if necessary.

Debris In Sewer Lines

The accumulation of debris within a sewer line is another issue that is often overlooked but needs to be addressed regularly to prevent backflow and other plumbing emergencies.

Things like grease, food waste, paper towels, and other items can form clogs that may not be visible with traditional snaking methods but easily spotted through a drain camera inspection. Once identified, technicians can recommend appropriate maintenance steps, such as running an auger down the line or performing hydro-jetting to ensure clear flow throughout the system.

Rust In Sewer Lines And Pipes

Rust within sewer lines and pipes can cause blockages or corrosion, resulting in costly repairs and replacement. A sewer camera inspection can detect any rust in the sewer line or pipes. Thus, helping the inspector to correctly identify potential problems that may arise from rust build-up within the pipes

Sagging Or Billowing Sewer Lines

A sewer camera inspection can also locate pipes that may have become sagging or billowing due to ground movement or other causes. This damage often results in slow draining and gurgling sounds from toilets and drains, as well as foul odors from your sink.

A camera inspection can accurately pinpoint the problem’s exact location, allowing for speedy repairs before any further damage occurs.

It’s important to note that while a sewer camera inspection is very useful in providing homeowners with detailed insight into their plumbing systems, it is not necessarily useful in all sewer line or household plumbing problems.

What Can A Sewer Line Camera Inspection Not Do?

A broken pipe

While a sewer line camera inspection is a great tool for detecting problems in sewer lines, they come with certain limitations that should be considered before investing in one. These include:

Detecting Changes In Pipe Slope

A sewer camera inspection also cannot detect changes in pipe slope, which can cause water flow problems and is a common cause of blocked or damaged drains. This may require further investigations, such as an inclinometer survey or smoke testing.

Providing Insight Into Potential Damage

Sewer camera inspections cannot detect potential problems, and they cannot provide any insight into main sewer lines is a limitation. Additionally, a sewer camera inspection cannot provide insights into potential leakage within the line.

In cases where leaks are suspected but not visible to the naked eye, further investigations, such as hydrostatic testing, should be conducted to diagnose and repair any present issues accurately.

Benefits Of A Sewer Camera Inspection

In addition to providing invaluable information to help homeowners make informed decisions about their plumbing systems, sewer camera inspection have several other benefits, which include:

Providing Non-Invasive Access To Plumbing Systems

A sewer camera inspection can provide non-invasive and cost-effective access to a home’s plumbing system by viewing real-time footage of the pipe’s interior. This footage is transmitted onto a monitor or screen.

It allows inspectors to identify any existing plumbing trouble, such as blockages and leaks, and any potential problems that could lead to costly repairs later on. The viewable area gives inspectors a detailed look at the internal structure of the line.

Providing Data About Pipe Condition

During the inspection process, technicians may deploy “sondes,” which provide data that help to inform decisions regarding repair work. It also provides insight into how much debris has built up within the pipes over time that could ultimately lead to costly repairs down the road if left unchecked.

Prevent Costly Repairs

Sewer camera inspections offer homeowners peace of mind knowing that they have taken all necessary steps to prevent costly repairs due to undetected damage in their plumbing system. Homeowners can use this information to take proactive steps towards prevention, if necessary, to avoid future costs associated with blocked or damaged pipes.

Assist In Insurance Claims

Insurance companies can use the video footage recorded during these inspections if homeowners need to file a claim related to damage caused by broken or blocked pipes due to tree roots or other circumstances beyond their control. This makes it easier for homeowners to receive compensation for these incidents when applicable.


Sewer line camera inspections provide invaluable information for homeowners who want to take proactive steps toward preventing costly repairs due to undetected damage in their plumbing system.

These inspections also come with various limitations and are only suitable in some cases. However, they offer several benefits, such as providing non-invasive access to plumbing systems, collecting data about pipe conditions, and assisting in insurance claims if necessary.

Knowing these limitations and the benefits they can offer can help homeowners make an informed decision regarding keeping their sewer lines clean and functioning properly.

MD Sewer & Plumbing Can Help With All Your Pipeline Video Inspections

With decades of experience providing excellent plumbing services for our residential and commercial customers, MD Sewer & Plumbing is the best choice for your sewer line camera inspection.

Our cutting-edge inspection systems allow us to perform thorough, cost-effective assessments and remove any unwanted materials without the need for invasive procedures. This means that you can enjoy greater efficiency, reduced expenses, and a smoother overall experience without having to worry about the hassles and headaches typically associated with these types of procedures. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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