Plumbing is one of those things that we take for granted – that is until it stops working. If a clog happens, and the water just won’t go down the drain, it’s possible that there is a problem with your main sewer line. But you will want to make sure.
FACT: Homeowners are responsible for maintaining the buried pipes outside the house that connect to the municipal sewer system. These drains are out of sight and out of mind for most homeowners. You should be aware that maintaining, repairing and replacing them is your responsibility
When a technician starts testing for the location of the drain clog, and determines that it’s in the main connection from your home to the sewer, he or she will often recommend a camera inspection to be sure. Identifying the location of the clog is the first step to fixing it.
What Is a Drain Camera?
A drain camera is a video lens on the end of a strong cable. Think of an eyeball on the end of a stick.
These cameras are great tools, but they have their limitations. For example, if the pipe is full of dirty water, the camera may not be able to see anything and your technician may have to auger or use a jetting machine to try to clear some of the blockage and water first. Clean water is not as much of a problem, so your plumber may advise you not to run any water before the inspection in order to give the debris in the water time to settle.
How Does a Drain Camera Inspection Work?
We will open the closest drain to the blockage, and run a snake down the drain to ensure the camera can go through, then feed the camera in. Depending on what we see, we can diagnose the problem.
Our drain camera has a large full colour high resolution viewing screen that the technician will view as the camera goes through the pipe. Customers are able to watch along, and we can even let you view it on a tablet live!
We also provide the full video on a USB stick, so that you have a record of what was seen - whether you need it for permits, or insurance reasons, it is all yours - Who needs Netflix!!!
Here are some common issues:
Offsets in the joints between pipes. Your sewer line is made of sections of pipe joined together. Over time, the ground outside your home can shift and settle, and push the pipes in different directions, causing breaks in the joints. This can create a ridge that traps debris and leads to a clog.
Tree root invasion. This often looks like noodles inside the pipe. If a break in a pipe occurs, water will leak out and attract thirsty tree roots. The water leaving your house is nutrient-rich, and that’s a bonus to the plant. The roots will collect around the moisture from the leaking pipe, and eventually invade the cracked pipe itself, and build up inside the pipe over time. If the problem is less serious, we may pull 1 – 4 feet of fine roots out of the pipe.
Areas of pipes that have been crushed or bent. This can be caused by inadequate support under the pipe during construction and/or settling and compression of the ground above the pipe. This can often happen when extensive landscaping (think large rocks) is added above the pipe. We can tell that this is the problem if the camera hits water and then becomes clear further on. This means that water has collected in a low point in the pipe.
Corrosion on the inner surface of the pipe. Some older homes, especially those built in the 20s and 30s, have cast iron sewer lines. Over time these corrode, and the metal develops pits and even flakes that can trap debris.