What Is a Sewer Camera Inspection?

What Is a Sewer Camera Inspection?

If you have a drainage problem, your plumber might advise getting a sewer camera inspection.

These devices can identify hidden drainage issues that might be causing consistent minor problems in the home, such as backed-up toilets. Or, they could highlight something major, like a broken mainline, that will require costly repairs.

Before giving up on resolving the issue or calling in a plumber for costly repairs, it’s worth finding out if a sewer camera inspection can reveal the cause. Find out how they work, when you need them, and what problems they can expose.

How Do Sewer Cameras Work?

A sewer camera is a small waterproof camera mounted on a flexible cable. The camera feeds down the pipe and transmits live images back to a laptop, allowing the operator to capture a clear view of your drainage system.

Sewer cameras work in underground pipes, including the areas underneath the house’s foundations. They also work in pipes encased in concrete.

A sewer camera inspection has the advantage of being non-invasive. It can detect and remedy a current problem or act as good maintenance to prevent future issues.

When to Consider Sewer Camera Inspection

Repetitive and Chronic Drainage Issues that You Can’t Fix

It might be that drains empty more slowly than before, or the household toilets clog up regularly. A sewer camera inspection can identify issues you can’t solve with regular drain snakes.

Foul Odor and Noisy Drains

A constant foul odor can indicate that all is not well underground.

Drains that gurgle and are noisy can suggest that the pipe run has a blockage at some point, slowing down the flow of water.

Sewage Backing Up

Sewage backing up into your sinks or other drains is a message that something is amiss. Even just an odor of sewage in or around the property needs further investigation.

Read more: Septic backing up

Suspected Broken Pipe

A broken sewer line pipe will allow soil to enter the pipe and cause either a total or partial blockage. A sewer camera inspection can identify this problem for both the line under your house and the one that connects to the main sewage line in the street.

Good Practise to Monitor Tree Root Incursion

If you have trees near your house, they can grow into the pipe and prevent drainage.

Regular camera inspections can monitor tree root growth and identify when to intervene.

Older Properties

Old houses can benefit from sewer inspections to conduct routine checks and maintenance.

What Is a Sewer Camera Inspection?

These inspections are especially important for houses not connected to mains drainage and have their own cesspool or septic tank.

In the 1940s and 1950s, sewer lines consisted of tar paper and pressed wood—it’s hard to believe these days!

These Orangeburg pipes were a low-cost alternative to metal.

Unsurprisingly, modern building codes no longer accept Orangeburg pipes, but they can still be present in older homes. A sewer camera inspection can check out the condition and structure of pipes in older houses.

Pre-Purchase Inspection

If you are buying an older house, a pre-purchase sewer camera inspection can alert you to any problems that might require work. An issue caught at this stage could reduce the purchase price.

If the sewer pipes are not up to code, they could be bad enough for you to avoid purchase altogether.

What Problems Can a Sewer Camera Inspection Catch?

There are many different problems that a sewer camera inspection can catch, some of which you may already suspect. Still, others could be a total and unwelcome surprise. Here are the most prevalent issues:

  • Cracks in pipes
  • Tree roots growing into the pipe
  • Breaks or punctures
  • Corrosion
  • Uneven or misaligned pipes
  • A build-up of grease and cooking fat
  • Slow, undetected leaks

What Does a Sewer Camera Inspection Cost?

The average cost for a sewer camera inspection is between $275 and $350, depending on the camera’s size, the length of the pipe run, and the time taken.

Always pick a company that quotes a fixed price for a sewer inspection.


Sewer camera inspections prevent minor issues from becoming major and expensive problems. They can detect the cause of chronic, low-grade drainage issues and red flag serious obstacles, either current or likely to happen in the future.

Because the technology is non-invasive, no damage will result from the inspection. It is far quicker and cheaper than taking a guess and digging up a piece of pipe.

Have burst pipes and backed-up drains caused water damage in your home? Call the experts at All Dry USA for water damage restoration.

What Is a Sewer Camera Inspection?
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