It can be said, that sewer video cameras are the plumbers best friend. These fiber optic cameras give plumbers an accurate depiction of what lies inside underground sewer lines and other pipes. This way, the plumber can ascertain what the issue is, and how to properly go about fixing the situation.Sewer video cameras saw their emergence and development in the United States during the mid-40’s, and have been developed and improved upon ever since. These cameras or ‘cams’ are comprised of a flexible cable with a video camera attached and come in a variety of models to suit any job, from large to small. These waterproof video cameras will then relay video feed via specialized to the plumbing technician as they inspect the state of the pipe.
Once you realize that your drain is running slow, or backing up, it’s time for an inspection. The sewer video camera is most often used to check on the condition of a pipe, any roots which invade the pipe, check for corrosion, obstructions, breaks, fractures or punctures. Sewer cameras can help determine the type of sewer pipe, and the connections as well.
As you can see, these inspection cameras are an invaluable tool, since you no longer are required to dig into the ground to examine the pipes directly. Always remember, to avert any future issues, it is strongly recommended that individuals inspect the piping of any residential or commercial property before purchase. Another thing, keep in mind that these sewer inspection cameras can also be used to find lost jewelry and other small, valuable trinkets which happen to fall into the drain. So, if you lose your ring, don’t fret, just call for video inspection of the piping, and you may find it again.
Types of Sewer Cameras
Hand Held Sewer Cams
These cams offer the benefit of being lightweight and portable, so they are easy to transport from room to room, or job site to job site. They come complete with a video terminal, around 30 feet of flexible cable, and camera and are perfect for smaller jobs, where carting around a larger camera system would be impractical.
Compact Sewer Cameras
Just like the handheld version, these sewer cams are also portable and easy to transport from location to location. Instead of 30 feet of flexible cable, they come with about 100 feet, which should be enough to cover the needs of a home or small business property.
Standard Sewer Cameras
Standard sewer cameras are very basic models. These sewer camera systems have a longer cable the is encased in a wheel, but they do not come with the convenience of an on-site monitor. If you wish to use one, you have to make a separate purchase.
The Sewage Camera System and its Components
Known also as a sewer CCTV, these cameras efficiently and cost effectively allow plumbers, engineers, and builders to inspect not only piping but any inaccessible area in the residential or commercial property. A good sewer camera will have an insertion probe, camera and monitor hub. Before you purchase one yourself, consider how easy it will be to handle the CCTV sewer cam, after all, you may be there for quite a while, so look for one that is light, easy to handle with an ergonomic grip. If the CCTV sewer cam has a radio transmitter, all the better. These radio transmitters are used to help find any blockages in the pipe, and can even help you find your camera if you need to.
Insertion Probe, Rod or Cable
The Insertion probe is often referred to as a flexible rod or cable. Its length will depend on what it is going to be used for. Typical cables can go from 30 to 400 feet and are covered with either PVC or braided Kevlar, with Kevlar being much more durable. Many models allow you to purchase extensions if you need to search farther.
The camera is attached to the flexible rod or cable and usually measures around an inch or so in diameter. For a solid, durable camera, look for one that is composed of hardened stainless steel, with a head spring assembly. Since you’ll be searching through dark areas, you’ll require a camera with high intensity, LED lights which encircle the diameter of your cam, the brighter, the better.
Since you’ll be exploring underground piping, the camera must also be waterproof. If a plumber is using one to explore your piping, make certain that they have a self-leveling camera which will pan or tilt instead of an older, standard cam which does not. Self-leveling means that every image taken will be upright, no matter the pan or tilt. The reason being, you want to be able to explore not only forward but examine the entire interior of the piping.
Locators are remote transmitters that use high-frequency transmissions to seek out underground pipes, phone lines, and cables, ensuring that when contractors break ground, they won’t be breaking any pipes or cables. These pipe locator’s use Multi-Directional Antenna Technology. As long as the line is metallic and can carry an electromagnetic signal, a locater can find it.
You use locators in conjunction with sewer cameras. The sewer camera has a transmitter built in, and frequency which is compatible with the locator. As the sewer camera is pushed through the pipe by the operator, the transmitter on the camera emits a frequency, and the locator can pinpoint where the camera is.
Most sewer cameras come with flexible transmitters which assist in locating underground pipes and clogs. These transmitters utilize a 512 Hz sonde transmitter, which will work with the aforementioned pipe locators, and are usually located behind the camera. You can also use this to locate your sewer camera, as long as you have an accurate locator which is compatible with it.
Monitor or Display Screen
The monitor hub or display screen is where you and the inspector will see what’s going on, via a high resolution, color screen. Remember the importance of a clear image, so choose one with the highest resolution possible, and one that uses color. Also, consider the size of the monitor. If you choose a model with a large screen but poor resolution, you’ll get poor image quality. Conversely, if you decide on a model with high resolution with a small screen, you still won’t be able to view much. So, always go for the sewer cam which gives you both a larger display and high resolution.
The best CCTV sewer cams have a daylight readable monitor with the ability to take images and save them for later use. These images are saved as Jpeg or video files like AVI. Not all models come with a memory to store pictures and video, so make sure you examine the specs to make sure you choose one that does. If you are a homeowner, please make sure that you ask for a copy of all the images/video taken for future reference.
What is Involved in Video Inspections?
Below are the basic steps involved when you have a piping video inspection.
•The technician inserts the camera into the opening of the pipe
•As the camera moves through the pipe, images are projected in real time on a display monitor. While it moves, the camera continues to inspect the condition of the sewer system.
•When it is time for the camera to be retracted, it continues to record as it is being removed, which is double protection for you.
•Once the technician analyzes the imagery, they can discern the problem. Problems include clogs, issues with sewer lines, broken piping, and even a lot trinket or two.
Extras or Add-ons, are simple extensions for your system which you can purchase separately. These are designed to make your day much easier, so take advantage of them.
If you own a standard sewer camera system that came without a monitor, no worries, as you can easily purchase them separately. These display screens give you the advantage of seeing what is happening inside the space in real-time.
Digital reporting monitors allow you to not only record imagery, but also any audio which occurs during the inspection. These display reporting monitors often come with USB ports and an easy to use, integrated keyboard.
There is no doubt the convenience laptops have given us, and this also extends to the world of CCTV sewer cams. With this add-on, you can use your own laptop to control the cam. This is very useful, as you can quickly and easily take and store images and video. Look for an interface with an integrated control panel.
This add-on allows you take the images and video, and burn them right to a DVD, and hand to your client, or if you’re a homeowner, keep for yourself.
Extension cables are available at The Drain Camera Shop when you need that little bit of extra reach. Often you can fit up to 3 extension cables together if you require a long range of pipe to be inspected.
Video sewer inspections can save you much in the way of cost and headaches. By utilizing the services of a trusted plumbing technician, a thorough sewer inspection can help find everything from leaks, clogs to even lost valuables. The technician simply pushes a video camera through the pipe and observes what is going on in real time. This technology has removed all of the guesswork from determining what the piping issue might be. Now, the issue can be recognized, and the location of the problem pinpointed with great accuracy. It is recommended that you perform video inspections before you purchase any property, as well as have them done before you remodel a bathroom or kitchen, especially in older homes.