CCTV drain cameras have become routine, but they are unfamiliar to many. Yet they are an invaluable tool for detecting leaks and finding the clogs in your drain without destroying your walls, foundation slab and garden. Here is an overview of CCTV drain surveys.
A CCTV drain survey is simply a survey of plumbing pipes using a closed caption television camera or CCTV. This is a specially made water-proof camera that can move up and down pipes, sending a video signal back to the plumber. The CCTV drain survey may be done because infrared cameras or hydrostatic pressure tests suggested there is a water leak in the home, or it may be performed to locate the location of a leak you already know is occurring.
What are the benefits of CCTV drain surveys?
The plumber will be able to determine exactly where the leak is in any cases. They can also learn about the condition of the pipes. For example, they’ll be able to tell if the leak is due to rust that ate through at one point and is getting worse in the rest of the pipes or if a single joint has disconnected from the rest.
A CCTV survey may be done in conjunction with a roto-rooter or pipe cleaner. This requires a more advanced set of tools than just a CCTV drain survey, but it allows the plumber to find and clear every blockage in the pipes. This is invaluable when you have tree roots growing into the pipes or multiple moderate blockages. It also lets you treat an accumulation of grease, sediment or minerals on the pipe walls. And all of the clearing of the pipes can be done without cutting open your walls or slab.
Depending on the size of your pipes and type of leak, the plumber may be able to seal the leak from the inside. If they can’t, they’ll know exactly where the leak it. They won’t cut a huge trench in the yard, or worse, your kitchen trying to find the leak. There will be only a small hole over the leak location so that it can be repaired. This reduces the cost and time required to repair plumbing leaks.
They’ll know exactly what the problem is, such as whether it is a collapsed pipe, blocked pipe or leaking pipe. They’ll have the right equipment on hand to repair the pipe when they get to it. That speeds up work significantly.
What are the risks of CCTV drain surveys?
If the plumbing company isn’t experienced or the operator isn’t qualified to use the equipment, they may miss leaks or damage the pipes. Fortunately, it is hard to damage the pipes unless they get the camera stuck.
The cost of the survey correlates to how long it takes them to do the inspection. A company that doesn’t use other testing methods to determine the rough location of the leak will spend hours sending a CCTV down every drain in the house.
In a worst case scenario, they take a CCTV line that was in someone’s sewer and then run it up your clean water line looking for the leak. They’ve just contaminated your clean water supply.