How does a CCTV drain camera inspection work?

Drain inspection cameras (aka pipe inspection cameras or sewer cameras) have revolutionised the plumbing industry, allowing plumbers to see exactly what’s happening inside of underground drains and pipes without the need to physically inspect them. Plumbers can identify defects in the pipes, determine the cause of blocked drains and recommend accurate solutions for drain problems in an affordable, non-invasive way.

There are a wide range of CCTV drain inspection cameras on the market. The main difference between different models is the size/width of the pipes they can inspect and the distance they can travel - based on the length of cable they’re attached to.

All drain cameras are capable of recording video footage and taking photographs of the inside of pipes. This information is then transmitted back to a display monitor where the plumber can observe the inside of the pipes in real-time.

These high-tech cameras are very small and are attached to a flexible cable designed to go deep inside underground sewer and stormwater pipes. Using a flexible cable permits for more improved mobility inside pipes and sewer lines. The professional will be able to see all the parts of the pipes and lines, even the corners. This is the most basic and traditional way of sewer line camera inspection.

What is the process for a CCTV drain inspection on your property?

Entry point - Upon arriving at your home, the CCTV drain camera operator will firstly determine which entry point on your property will provide the best access to the problem drain or pipe. They will find the entry point based on sewer or stormwater plans that the homeowner provides, or by physical examination of your property.

Insertion - The CCTV drain camera operator will insert the camera into the opening and ffed it slowly down the line as it records. Since the CCTV operator is watching in real time, he or she is able to use the camera to view everything as it makes its way down the pipe from the time it is inserted.

Examination - By analysing the video footage on the monitor, the operator can identify any problem areas in the pipe line. They can determine the cause of blocked drains, pin-point any defects in pipes and also see whether previous blocked drain remedies have been effective.

Recommendation - Based on analysis of the video, the plumber/operator is able to recommend targeted solutions that address the underlying cause of the problem. Drain cameras essentially take the guesswork out of blocked drains. Plumbers can see the exact problem and offer a solution that resolves it.  

Report - Many drain inspections are followed up by a written report. The property owner will be provided with a report that outlines all the findings and any recommendations for repair. The written report will include photographic evidence of the findings and will normally be accompanied by a USB containing the full video recording.

What are CCTV pipe inspections used for?

Drain inspections have a variety of uses ranging from diagnosing the cause of a blocked drain right through to deciding whether or not to purchase a new property. Below are the main reasons why a client will request a drain inspection on their property.

1. Locate pipes

Sewer and stormwater diagrams are easy to misplace and they’re not always up-to-date. In this situations, a CCTV drain inspection can provide a clear outline of where pipes and drains are located on a client’s property. This information is particularly important if the client is planning to renovate. The location of pipes and drainage significantly impacts the design and layout of renovations.

2. Find the cause of blocked drains

Video inspections are useful in detecting all different types of sewerand stormwater line problems. Whether there are tree roots in the line or broken and deteriorating pipes, these inspections give real-time analysis on whatever problem is affecting your drainage system. Common causes of blocked drains that a camera inspection will uncover include:

  • Tree roots
  • Sediment and sludge
  • Concrete
  • Congealed grease
  • Collapsed and cracked pipes,
  • Corrosion or deterioration of pipes over time
  • Poor installation or previous repair efforts

3. Make sure the blockage has been completely removed

Once the blockage had been flushed out of the pipes using a high-pressured jetting machine, a drain inspection camera can be sent back down the line to make sure the blockage is completely removed. This is also a good time for the operator to check whether there are any other problems in the line that may have been obscured by the blockage when the camera was sent down initially.

4. Sign-off on new building developments

During construction of large developments such as hotels and apartments, it is quite common for building debris, cement or other sediment to find it’s way into the pipes. Some of the new pipes might have been incorrectly installed or have minor defects. Developers often employ a CCTV drain inspector to survey the pipes and drains to make sure everything is working correctly, before the project is handed over to the client.

5. Preventing plumbing plumbings

Prevention is always the best remedy when it comes to problems with your plumbing. This is why some Sydney homeowners schedule regular drain and pipe inspections. It allows their plumber to identify and repair small issues before they turn into major problems.

Take the example of a hairline crack in the sewer pipes. At first a tiny crack may not seem like a big problem. However, tree roots are attracted to moisture and they can enter even the smallest crack. Once inside, tree roots will continue to grow down the line, eventually forming an impenetrable mass within the pipes. Early intervention by an experienced drainage plumber can reduce the damage caused and lower the cost of repairs.

6. Finding valuables

If you have ever accidentally washed a ring down the sink or lost something valuable in your sewer lines, a video inspection can easily and efficiently locate the item if it’s still within your property’s boundary.

7. Buying a new house

Most home buyers pay for a pest and building inspection before they purchase the property. Drain inspections, however, are not part of this inspection process and are often overlooked by buyers. Drain repairs can be costly, particularly if the whole system needs to be replaced. Buying a home is a big investment so it makes sense to know exactly what condition the pipes are in before you sign any contracts.

What are the benefits of CCTV drain camera inspections?

The major benefit of drain inspections is that it’s non-invasive. Before drain cameras were invented, a plumber would either need to take an educated guess as to the cause of a blocked drain or dig up the pipes to pinpoint the exact cause of the problem, which often involved a lot of trial and error. Plumbers now have the option to inspect pipes and sewer lines without any digging at all. It saves time on troubleshooting and these savings are passed on to the customer.

Book an inspection today

JAB Plumbing Solutions specialise in drainage plumbing, including CCTV drain and pipe inspections. We have invested in the latest cameras on the market that have the capacity to inspect all kinds of pipes in your home or business. Our team can provide you with a written report accompanied by video footage of the entire inspection.  For more information about our services head to our website or call today to receive a free quote.