What are Drain Camera Inspections and Why Do You Need Them?

Drain camera inspections are part of a building inspection that involve the use of a special camera to investigate the condition of your plumbing and drainage systems. The camera is driven into the pipes from an access point, and it records footage and images of the insides of the pipe. These images are analyzed by experts to find possible blockages, flaws and leaks. The camera is called a drain camera.

The plumbing network is one of the most essential systems of any building. The drainage system is equally as important. The pipes and other components of these systems are often hidden behind the walls or under the ground. It is most likely that when they develop problems, you will not be able to detect them immediately. A leak in your plumbing system will cause water wastage, while one in your drainage system might spill dirty and contaminated water, which is clearly a health hazard.

The best way to detect problems with plumbing or drainage systems is the use of a drain camera. It will save you money, time, potential unwanted damage and hassle. It is important that you get your plumbing systems and drainage systems inspected regularly, to ensure any developing problems are caught in time.

How is A Drain Camera Inspection Done?

As mentioned above, a drain camera inspection is very simple and straightforward. A small camera attached at the front of a long cable is put into and pushed along the pipes. The camera records footage of the condition of the inside of the pipe. A drain camera inspection is often done by a qualified technician.

When the technicians arrive at your home they will first take time to locate where the plumbing lines and the access points are. It is from the access points that they will be able to insert the cameras into the pipes. If you have a map of your plumbing system, it would be a great help to them as they try to locate the access points. If you do not where the access point is, you may want to first bring in a thermographic inspection specialist to quickly and easily locate it.

How Does a Drain Camera Work?

Drain Camera Inspection

The camera captures and transmits real footage from inside the pipes. The footage can be seen on a screen that’s connected to the camera through a long cable. Whether it’s your home or you are in the market to purchase you should be present during the inspection so that you can watch the footage as well. During the inspection, the technician will explain the condition of the pipes based on the footage.

At times, it might not be possible to drive the camera through the entire pipe lateral due to a blockage or damage. In such instances, the drain camera inspection is often rescheduled for another time, when the damages and blockages have been rectified. Ultimately, these blockages and damages are what the inspector would be looking for in the first place. Such a point will be marked on the ground so that it is easier for the repairman to locate the blocked or damaged spot.

What to Expect During a Drain Camera Inspection?

A drain camera inspection is often a quick process for experienced inspectors. It involves locating the access point, driving the camera through the drainage or plumbing system, and recording the footage.  You might have to assist the inspectors with locating where the access points are. As mentioned above, if you stay close enough, the inspector will explain various things and give you a perspective of the condition of your drainage or plumbing system. Also, you are at liberty to ask any questions that you might have about the inspection

You don’t have to worry about the inspectors demolishing your walls or digging up your backyard to access the pipes. If you have a map outlining the layout of drainage of plumbing pipes in your home, it would certainly be of great help to the inspectors while they’re trying to locate the access point. Both you and inspector will be watching the footage of the insides of the pipes from a monitor on the ground.

Can A Drain Camera Detect Leaks?

Drain Camera Detect Leaks

A drain camera inspection is meant to detect all problems that your drainage and plumbing system might have. It can detect if your drainage of plumbing pipes have leaks. However, it normally detects leaks that are as a result of large cracks or holes. The best way to investigate leaks in your home is through a thermographic infrared inspection. A thermographic infrared inspection detects wet spots, that are often caused by leaks, by imaging thermal emission differences due to the difference in moisture content.

A drain camera inspection majorly detects issues like corrosion and blockages. However, drainage and plumbing system inspector must also inspect the pipes from the outside. This ensures that even the tiniest of leaks are caught. Often times, a drain camera inspection is done as a part of a whole building inspection. As such, any leaks that might be there will be caught during other types of inspection, such as a moisture inspection.

Inspection Agencies

Many inspection agencies will have their technicians carry-back the footage taken to their officers so that they can analyze it further. They will then send the requesting party a comprehensive report of what the inspection revealed and the footage itself. They might also offer recommendations on what to be done to restore the plumbing or drainage system to perfect condition. Ensure that you work with a certified home inspection agency. You can check with your local government for a list of the certified home inspection agencies in your area.

Types of Drain Inspection Cameras

If you are technical and handy enough you can conduct the drain camera inspection yourself. Although it requires some experience, drain camera inspection is not exactly rocket science. Unlike in thermographic infrared inspections, where one has to analyze heat maps, the drain camera inspection gives you real images of the insides of the pipes. As mentioned earlier, these images are what is used to detect any abnormalities with the pipes. Below are two of the best drain inspection cameras that you can purchase.

VIVAX VCAM-6

The Vavax vcam-6 is made by Vivax-Meglotech. It is a high caliber drain inspection camera that gives back high-resolution video and images. The camera comes with increased lighting and is equipped with an enhanced 9.7’’ daylight viewable monitor. The monitor is easy to use, even during times of intense sunshine. Bright sunshine makes it difficult to observe the images on some monitors.

The Vivax vcam- 6 is incredibly easy to use and it is designed to ensure the inspector can complete productive and profitable work in a short time. It has high accuracy precision and efficiency. It is a perfect option even if you are conducting the inspection yourself.

The camera has a 4-hour battery life and can be charged by both AC or dc inputs. The monitor also allows the inspector to add audio or text comment to the high definition video footage or images. It comes with an internal storage of 1 TB. That’s enough storage to store years of inspection footage, and be able to retrieve it whenever it is required.

Pros

  • It is durable
  • The camera head has a long cable
  • The image and footage is HD
  • Great value for your money

TROGLOTECH T804

The Troglotech T804 Is yet another top-of-the-range drain inspection camera that is designed to ensure reliability and convenience during inspections.  The camera is easily portable and carries all the necessary features required to conduct a comprehensive drain inspection. The T804 camera comes with its own high-resolution digital video recorder built into the system. The system also consists of a high-definition display unit.

The camera unit can deliver up to 8 hours of video recording and playback. All the footage and images captured are recorded directly onto a CF card and you can easily transfer them to a DVD on demand. The self-levelling drain inspection camera head on the T804 easily snakes through the pipes and clearly shows or the ages of the pipes. It will capture the top and the bottom of the pipe to ensure the inspector has a player perspective of what the insides of the pipe look like. This is particularly essential when trying to identify cracks and holes on the pipe.

The display unit displays the distance covered by the camera. This makes it easy to identify the exact location of a certain problem on the pipe. As an inspector, you are supposed to mark this point so that the repairman can identify it easily. The unit also allows the inspector to add comments and notes on the footage or the images.

Pros

  • It is a very durable unit
  • The display screen produces high-resolution images
  • The unit has a long battery life
  • It is easily portable

What to Look for While Choosing a Drain Inspection Camera?

While looking for a good drain inspection camera, there are a few factors that you should consider. They are;

  • Image and footage quality
  • Portability
  • Battery life
  • Cable length and Camera head

Great drain inspection cameras produce high-resolution images and footage. HD images and footage will allow you to make a correct analysis. You’ll have to move the unit from one spot to the other as you inspect a building. It is, therefore, best that the unit is portable. Long battery life allows you to work without interruptions, while a long cable length will reduce the instances when you have to move the unit. A self-levelling camera head is also essential to ensure you are able to view every section of a pipe.

When Do You Need a Drain Camera Inspection?

A drain camera inspection should be part of your periodic home inspection. If you get your home inspected annually, a drain camera inspection for the plumbing and drainage system should be part of the inspections as well. Other than that, there are other situations that might necessitate a drain camera inspection. They include;

Moving into A New House

Drain Camera Inspection moving into new home

The last thing you want is to pay for a new house with your hard-earned cash, only to move into a house that is full of defects. As such it is important that you ask for a drain camera inspection for the plumbing and drainage systems. If possible you should be present while the inspection is being conducted.

The drain camera inspection Is particularly important if you’re moving into an old home, which has grown trees around it. The roots of the trees tend to damage the pipes around it. Both you and the seller of the home should get an inspection report from the inspection agency so that you can agree on what needs to be done before you move into the house.

Fluctuating or Decreasing Water Pressure

Drain Camera Inspect water pressure

If the water from your taps has been coming out with a lot of pressure and it suddenly decreases or starts to fluctuate without any apparent reason, it is time to get drain camera inspection. Fluctuating or decreasing water pressure is a sign of a leak. As mentioned earlier it is often quite difficult to detect exactly where the leak is, unless a comprehensive inspection is conducted. There might be more than one leaks as well.

Drain Water Is Not Moving

You might also notice that your sinks and other drain channels in the building are not draining the dirty water out. That is a sign of a blockage, and you may not be able to tell exactly where it is. Many people try to unclog the pipes with an air pump. That does not always offer a lasting solution, especially if the blockage is on the main sewer. A drain camera inspection, therefore, becomes essential.

Benefits of a Drain Camera Inspection

The main benefit of a drain camera inspection is the fact that it is a non-destructive way of identifying plumbing or drainage problems. Inspectors will not have to knock your walls down or dig up your backyard to be able to find these problems. This also ensures that the repairmen will not have to conduct unnecessary demolitions when it’s time to do repairs.

The inspectors will always recommend the best ways of solving any problems that are found. By the time you are calling a repairman, you have a clear picture of the challenge with your systems and what needs to be done. That gives you leverage while you are negotiating the costs with the repairman, and helps you and ensure your systems have been fully repaired.

There is no better way to detect problems with your plumbing or drainage systems than a drain camera inspection. It is a seamless, quick, and inexpensive process that ensures you know the real condition of your plumbing and drainage systems.

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