plumber performing sewer camera inspectionIf you are like most homeowners who have conducted Internet searches concerning sewer line problems, you have likely noticed the term “sewer line inspection.” Sometimes referred to as “video pipe inspections,” these types offer a practical and cost-effective way to see what is causing a backup or blockage in a way that eliminates the guesswork. Our plumbers also use the sewer line inspection technique to avoid digging up your yard to determine the source of the problem.

A sewer line inspection is a process in which a professional plumber or sewer technician visually examines the condition of the sewer line that connects a property to the municipal sewer system or septic tank. This inspection is conducted using specialized equipment to assess the integrity and functionality of the sewer line.

During a sewer line inspection, our plumber may use a variety of techniques, including:

1. Video Camera Inspection: This involves inserting a waterproof, high-definition camera attached to a flexible cable into the sewer line. The camera transmits live video footage to a monitor, allowing our plumber to visually inspect the interior of the sewer line for signs of damage, blockages, or other issues.

2. Smoke Testing: Smoke testing involves introducing non-toxic, harmless smoke into the sewer system to identify leaks or defects. The smoke will escape through any openings in the sewer line, such as cracks or broken seals, indicating areas in need of repair.

3. Dye Testing: Dye testing involves introducing a colored dye into the plumbing system to trace the flow of water and identify any leaks or breaches in the sewer line.

4. Hydrostatic Testing: This test involves temporarily blocking off the sewer line and filling it with water to assess its ability to hold pressure. A drop in pressure may indicate a leak or structural weakness in the sewer line.

5. Odor Detection: Plumbers may use specialized equipment to detect foul odors emanating from the sewer line, which can indicate leaks, blockages, or other problems.

By conducting a sewer line inspection, homeowners can identify potential issues early on, such as tree root intrusion, pipe corrosion, cracks, or blockages. Early detection allows for timely repairs or maintenance, helping to prevent costly sewer backups, water damage, and environmental contamination. Additionally, a sewer line inspection may be required during real estate transactions to assess the condition of the sewer system and ensure compliance with local regulations.

How a Sewer Line Inspection Camera Works

During a sewer line inspection, the plumber inserts a flexible rod into the piping. At the tip of the rod is a high-definition video camera. The flexible rod moves the camera through the pipe while simultaneously returning a video signal to a monitor. The device then inspects the entire length of the pipe and digitally records the inspection for evaluation by our skilled plumbers in Orange County.

A sewer line inspection camera, also known as a sewer camera or drain camera, is a specialized device used by our plumbers to visually inspect the interior of sewer lines and drainage pipes. Here’s how it typically works:

  • Camera Probe: The sewer camera consists of a small, waterproof camera attached to the end of a flexible cable or probe. The camera is designed to withstand exposure to water, chemicals, and debris commonly found in sewer lines.

  • LED Lights: The camera probe is equipped with bright LED lights that illuminate the interior of the sewer line, allowing for clear visibility even in dark or murky conditions.

  • Flexible Cable: The cable attached to the camera probe is flexible and durable, allowing it to navigate through twists, turns, and bends in the sewer line. It can be inserted into access points such as cleanout openings, toilet flanges, or drain vents.

  • Control Console: The camera’s control console, typically handheld, allows the operator to manipulate the camera probe remotely. The console may feature a monitor or display screen where live video footage from the camera is transmitted in real-time.

  • Recording Capability: Some sewer cameras may have built-in recording capabilities, allowing our plumbers to capture video footage or images of the interior of the sewer line for documentation or analysis.

  • Push or Reel System: Depending on the design of the sewer camera system, the cable and camera probe may be manually pushed through the sewer line by the operator or fed through using a motorized reel system.

  • Video Inspection: As the camera probe travels through the sewer line, it captures high-definition video footage of the interior pipe walls. Our plumbers can observe the live video feed on the control console, inspecting the condition of the sewer line for cracks, leaks, blockages, root intrusion, or other issues.

  • Locating Features: Some advanced sewer cameras may include built-in locating features, such as sonar or radio frequency technology, which help pinpoint the exact location of problems within the sewer line for more accurate diagnosis and repair.

By providing real-time visual inspection of the interior of sewer lines, sewer cameras enable Murphy & Son’s Plumbing plumbers to accurately diagnose issues, assess the condition of the pipes, and recommend appropriate repair or maintenance solutions. This technology helps streamline the inspection process, minimize the need for invasive digging or excavation, and ensure efficient and effective sewer line maintenance.


Problems That Can be Identified Through a Sewer LINE Inspection

A sewer line inspection camera can isolate virtually any type of issue or problem within your sewer line; however, the following are a few of the most common things such inspections uncover:

Cracked, Collapsed, or Broken Pipes

Because the camera travels through the actual pipe, it is easy for the plumber to determine whether or not the pipe has shifted, collapsed or otherwise sustained some damage.

An Invasion of Tree Roots

The infiltration of tree roots is one of the most common problems associated with older pipes made from porous materials, such as cast iron and clay. Tree roots are opportunistic in their search for water and will quickly grow into any cracks in your sewer pipes to reach the water within.

Sagging Sewer Lines

When a particular portion of your sewer pipes starts sagging, the material can coagulate in the bellied section. This usually results in repeat blockages.

Serious Pipe Obstructions

Of course, even if your pipes are in ideal shape, years of constant use can still lead to a buildup of substances such as food particles, grease, and bathroom tissue, which can eventually obstruct water flow severely. Contact us for Sewer Line Inspection in Orange County.


Repair Options

Once the cause or causes of the sewer line backup have been identified by one of our professionals, you may have various options regarding how to remedy the situation. These include traditional sewer repair and replacement or trenchless repair if the latter is an option. For example, if the sewer line inspection indicates that your sewer line is collapsed, bellied, or sagging, your best option may be traditional repair. If this is the case, our plumbing company will dig a trench in your property to reach the problem area and complete the necessary repairs or replacements.

The trenchless sewer repair method is another less invasive option than traditional trench digging. Trenchless repair is completed by creating minor points of access to the damaged sections of the pipe. The path of the existing line is followed, and cables are inserted and pulled through. At the same time, the replacement line is also pulled into position. One of our expert plumbers can suggest the best option for your specific problem.

Repairing a broken sewer line typically involves assessing the extent of the damage and selecting the most appropriate repair method based on factors such as the location of the break, the severity of the damage, and the condition of the existing sewer line. Here are several options commonly used to repair broken sewer lines:

  • Traditional Dig-and-Replace: In this method, the damaged section of the sewer line is excavated and removed, and a new section of pipe is installed in its place. This approach is effective for severe damage or extensive deterioration but may require significant excavation, resulting in disruption to landscaping, driveways, or other structures.

  • Pipe Lining (Cured-In-Place Pipe, CIPP): Pipe lining involves inserting a flexible liner coated with resin into the existing sewer line through an access point. The liner is inflated and pressed against the interior walls of the pipe, where the resin hardens to form a new, seamless pipe within the existing one. Pipe lining is less invasive than traditional dig-and-replace methods and can often be completed with minimal disruption to property.

  • Pipe Bursting: Pipe bursting is a trenchless method of sewer line replacement that involves breaking apart the existing pipe while simultaneously pulling a new pipe into place behind it. This method is particularly useful for replacing old, damaged pipes with minimal excavation and disruption to the surrounding area.

  • Spot Repair: If the damage to the sewer line is localized to a specific section, spot repair techniques such as pipe patching or point repair may be suitable. These methods involve excavating a small area around the damaged portion of the pipe and repairing or replacing only the affected section.

  • Chemical Root Treatment: If tree roots are infiltrating the sewer line and causing damage, chemical root treatments can be used to kill and inhibit root growth without requiring excavation. These treatments are typically applied through access points such as cleanouts or sewer vents.

  • Hydro Jetting: Hydro jetting involves using high-pressure water to clear blockages, debris, and buildup from inside the sewer line. While not a repair method on its own, hydro jetting is often used as a pre-treatment to prepare the sewer line for repairs or as a maintenance measure to prevent future blockages.

The most appropriate repair option will depend on factors such as the severity and location of the damage, accessibility of the sewer line, budget considerations, and the desired level of disruption to the property. Consulting with our qualified plumbers can help determine the best course of action for repairing a broken sewer line.

Never procrastinate if you suspect a sewer problem. Instead, avoid the risk of further damage by contacting us today to schedule an evaluation for your next sewer line inspection.

Waiting to have a sewer line repaired can have costly and devastating consequences. Don’t wait to have a sewer line inspection done, contact Murphy and Son’s today at (800) 545-1792.