Drain inspections are recommended for every property at least every two years. Homeowners, renters, and businesses will be spared the risks to personal health, as well as accompanying cases of bacteria buildup, leaks, blockage, and severe damage to piping. Timely inspection will detect issues before they grow out of hand, pinpoint the reasons for clogs or slow water drainage, and assess the general condition of the plumbing and sewage.
When there are reasons for concern, a drain inspection camera is often one of the simplest, most cost-effective, and precise ways of evaluating damage, and provides the relevant data for any work that needs to be carried out.
What Exactly are Drain Inspections?
Piping and drain inspections are detailed examinations of a property’s drainage system. Cameras inserted in the piping can easily identify any potential or real risks and reveal where blockage originates. This is the main reason why most of us require the procedure. In addition, inspections can be used as a preventative measure to uncover faults, breakage, or weak links in the sewage pipes that may lead to serious property damage in the future.
How are Drain Inspections Done?
A drain inspection camera located at the business end of a flexible rod is inserted in the affected pipe, drain, or sewer and pushed through until the cause of the blockage has been found. The camera is connected to a high-resolution screen and footage of the whole procedure can be recorded in great detail. This can reveal the type of blockage, for instance sanitary, food, liquid or industrial waste, as well as tree roots, dirt, or sediment accumulated over longer periods. An inspection typically lasts around 20 to 30 minutes where a blockage is the main issue, but more detailed inspections lasting several hours can be used to assess the entire drainage system.
Once the inspection is complete and issue(s) identified, plumbers, will decide on the next course of action. This may be simple water jetting to remove the blockage, localised pipes repairs, or complete pipe and sewer replacement when there are more serious cracks, leaks, or damaged piping.
Benefits of a Drain Inspection
Drain inspections are quick and affordable, and save time on locating the root of the plumbing or sewage issue fast. This rules out any guesswork and saves both time and money in unneeded repairs or prep work, such as digging or excavations. Problems are pinpointed at the exact location with clear and detailed images beamed from the drain inspection camera, and repairs to solve issues can be carried out immediately.
Besides leaving the pipework intact, a drain inspection also can reveal unknown faults that if left unchecked can soon become an expensive and long-term headache. These can be pipes with visible fissures and cracks or those that are completely collapsed, grime, oil, and gunk that have lined pipe walls throughout the years, to tree root intrusion. The resulting clogging and leakage can cause serious health issues with toxic sewage and wastewater making their way back into your plumbing.
In addition, pipe and sewage inspection kits are versatile and cameras aren’t restricted solely to finding issues with the sewage piping connecting your home to the main pipes. The same camera can also be used to find pest infestations in walls and hard-to-reach places, issues in air conditioning ducts and HVAC systems, problems in underground ducts and conduits, and even cracks in automotive exhausts.
Drain Inspection Cameras – What to Look For
Choosing a pipe inspection camera will depend on where it will be used, how often, and the detail needed to reveal a range of different piping issues. Most cameras will make light work of everyday residential use, whereas more heavy-duty units offered in tougher materials are the go-to choice for inspecting industrial and construction sites.
Here’s what you need to consider:
• Rod length
The push rod or inspection probe comes in different lengths. Basic units used to inspect sewage piping in homes have probes starting at 20 metres in length, whereas those used by councils or industry can be as long as 120 metres. Generally, rods averaging 30 metres will be enough for most cases.
• Probe Materials
Rods made from PVC coated fibreglass are more than adequate for standard use, but where tougher materials are necessary, then look for rods and probes sourced in flexible Kevlar. This considerably ups the price of the whole unit, but the durability and usability are certainly there.
• Camera Features
Cameras that capture even minor details will be better in uncovering more potential problems. Since they’ll be used in dark environments, having the right lighting is key. Look for cameras with bright and adjustable LED illumination.
Optics are another thing that will make a big difference. Most cameras are fitted with lenses with a fixed and wide angle of view (generally 28 to 40mm) but have tilting and panning capabilities to get a better all-around picture of every part of the piping. Most cameras are also self-levelling. Detailed images and video footage are sent to high-resolution sensors that feature in big camera brands, particularly Sony.
The optics and sensors are housed in waterproof and impact-resistant metal casings. This is to ensure that cameras will work in wet and corrosive environments and won’t be damaged when pushed, pulled, and banged against pipes and pipe walls. Higher IP ratings warrant that you’ll get the most out of your drain inspection kit that much longer. Some cameras also have integrated sondes to display their exact location in the piping.
• Monitoring Hubs and Screens
Widescreen TFT or LCDs in either HD or 4K resolution display what the camera is seeing. All screens are brightly lit, can be used in strong daylight, and have zooming and print screen functions. Higher-end models are also detachable, so are convenient with their portability.
The monitoring hub houses electronics for recording and playback of captured footage. This will have inbuilt SD card slots to save stills and video, and features that display maps or coordinates as to precisely where the camera is with info transmitted from the sondes. Additional features to look for are integrated keyboards to insert comments on your finds.
• Carry Cases
Since this is a pro piece of kit, it should be housed as such. Lightweight, yet durable cases allow users to both transport and use the inspection camera and monitoring hub in different settings.