By Benjamin St. Jacques
Having a blocked or damaged sewer line is among any homeowner’s worst fears. Even a small leak or a tiny bit of damage can cause plumbing problems throughout the entire home.
If your plumber ever tells you that you have a blocked or damaged sewer line, your first instinct might be to call your municipality or town manager. But here’s the hard truth. It’s you, the homeowner, who’s responsible for the sewer lines that connect your home’s plumbing system to the municipal sewer system. That’s when you might begin to worry.
Sewer lines are often located under your home’s foundation and not easy to access. Once upon a time, the only way to identify a problem was to dig large holes in your yard to expose the lines and physically look at them. That old way took a lot of time, money, and inconvenience. Plus, it looks just plain ugly to have large areas of your yard dug up.
Photo by bigstock
Thankfully, there now a less disruptive and extremely accurate way to determine the problem with your plumbing: sewer camera inspections. During this type of inspection, a trained technician inserts a high-resolution video camera attached to a flexible rod down into your sewer lines.
Sewer cameras have become one of the most valuable tools in the plumbing business. Here are five reasons why:
1. Pinpoint a Variety of Problems
A sewer camera can travel through the entire pipe — even around corners — enabling the technician to accurately identify existing or potential problems and start thinking of solutions in real time. The images can even be saved and reviewed more closely later. Video camera inspections can identify a wide range of issues:
- Holes and leaks
- Broken, cracked, corroded, or collapsed pipes
- Misaligned pipes
- Blockages from grease buildup or foreign objects
- Damage from tree roots
- Substandard or outdated pipes
Photo courtesy of The Local Government & Municipal Knowledge Base
2. Do Less Digging
Any digging on your property will be limited to the precise location of problem that needs to be fixed. Without a camera, technicians would have to conduct widespread digging just to find the problem, which could be disruptive at best and permanently damage your property at worst.
3. Score Major Savings
The average cost of a sewer camera inspection is just $250, plus whatever it costs to repair the problem. Even if it’s a big repair, you’re saving a lot of time and money when you compare the camera inspection solution to the alternative of digging down to your sewer lines before the repair. Blindly digging in search of where the problem is can cost hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, even before any repairs start.
Photo by bigstock
4. Be Positive the Problem Is Solved
When the job is complete, your technician will run the camera through the sewer line again to show you that the repair has been made and the sewer line is working properly again. Without a camera, you just have to cross your fingers and trust that the work was done properly.
5. Locate What’s Lost
Video camera inspection has the added benefit of being able to help you locate anything small and valuable that may be lost in your pipes, like a piece of jewelry, a watch, or other keepsake.
Dealing with sewer line problems is never fun. But if you find a plumber or technician that offers sewer camera inspections, it can greatly reduce the cost and hassle involved with sewer repairs.