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What is a Plumbing Camera Inspection and How Much Does it Cost?

A plumbing camera inspection is a process where plumbers use a specially designed waterproof camera to visually inspect the interiors of plumbing lines and sewer pipes. The camera is typically mounted on a flexible rod that can navigate through bends and turns in the pipe system, allowing the technician to see the pipe in real-time via a monitor. This method is non-invasive and can be used to identify issues such as blockages, leaks, tree root intrusion, pipe corrosion, misalignments, and other structural damages within the pipes.

On average, homeowners might expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $800 for a plumbing camera inspection, with most homeowners paying around $250 to $500. It’s always best to get a detailed quote from the service provider before the inspection, as they can give a more accurate estimate based on your specific situation. Some companies may also apply the cost of the inspection toward any repair services if needed.

The cost of a plumbing camera inspection can vary widely depending on several factors:

  1. Location: Prices may vary by region due to the cost of living and the availability of services.
  2. Length and Accessibility of the Pipes: Longer pipes may require more time to inspect, and if the pipes are difficult to access, this can also increase the cost.
  3. Severity of the Issue: If the inspection is part of a larger diagnostic process for a significant plumbing issue, the cost may be higher.
  4. Service Provider: Different companies have varying pricing structures. Some may offer a flat rate, while others charge based on the time spent.
  5. Additional Services: Sometimes, the inspection may identify a problem that can be addressed immediately, such as removing a clog; this would add to the cost.

If you’re experiencing sewer or drain problems, a plumber may recommend a camera inspection to identify issues. Drain camera inspections provide a detailed look inside pipes to pinpoint defects. Read on to learn all about drain camera equipment, processes, uses, and costs.

Why Do Plumbers Use Drain Cameras?

Drain cameras are a valuable diagnostic tool allowing plumbers to:

  • Locate sources of clogs and backups. A camera can identify exactly where a clog is located and what’s causing it.
  • Find cracks, breaks, or pipe collapse. Small fractures or sinking pipes may be impossible to detect otherwise.
  • Check condition of pipes. Cameras provide a close inspection of pipe interiors to evaluate corrosion, mineral buildup, and other damage.
  • Identify intruding roots. Trees roots that infiltrate and block pipes are easily spotted with a camera.
  • Verify connections are intact before repairs. Cameras confirm pipes are properly aligned and joined before installing liners or seals.
  • Assess repairs needed. A camera provides all the necessary details to determine what repairs or replacements are required.
  • Provide homeowners visual evidence of problems. Homeowners can see issues firsthand rather than just take a plumber’s word on repairs needed.

Without cameras, plumbers would be limited to guessing causes of drainage issues based on external signs. Cameras allow quick, accurate troubleshooting of pipe problems.

What Does a Drain Camera Inspection Involve?

To perform an inspection, a plumber feeds a flexible, waterproof cable with a specialized high resolution camera on the end into the pipe access point. The camera transmits real-time video to a digital monitor as it’s maneuvered through the pipes.

Plumbers carefully feed the camera around bends and joints as they thoroughly inspect the interior pipe condition. Defects like cracks, clogs, roots, corrosion, and separations are identified and located precisely. Many cameras also include features like pan, tilt, and zoom for detailed examination.

Main steps include:

  • Accessing drain pipes via a cleanout or drain opening.
  • Feeding the flexible cable into the pipes, typically starting from the furthest point.
  • Overcoming obstacles like tight bends by rotating, pushing, and pulling the cable.
  • Thoroughly inspecting all pipes, paying special attention to problem areas.
  • Pinpointing the exact location and cause of any clogs, leaks, damage, or flow issues.
  • Documenting findings with images and video.

The camera equipment is durable, waterproof, and designed specifically for use inside drain and sewer pipes.

What Are the Benefits of a Camera Drain Inspection?

Key benefits of professional drain camera inspections:

  • Prevent expensive repairs through early problem detection. Catching minor issues before they worsen saves money.
  • Avoid water damage from leaks or backups. Identifying the cause of drainage issues promptly reduces flooding risks.
  • No demolition needed. Pipe interiors can be viewed without major work, excavation, or destruction.
  • See problems firsthand. Homeowners can clearly see pipe defects rather than just take a plumber’s word regarding repairs needed.
  • Determine scope of repairs. Detailed pipe inspection provides all the information needed to fix issues correctly the first time.
  • Localize clearing efforts. Only problem segments need to be snaked rather than entire pipe lengths.
  • Evaluate repairs completed. Cameras verify repairs were done properly without deficiencies.

Drain cameras are the most precise way to diagnose pipe issues and determine appropriate solutions.

What Are the Limitations of Drain Cameras?

While drain cameras are extremely useful, there are some limitations to be aware of:

  • Cannot make very tight turns. Severe bends or collapsed sections may be inaccessible.
  • Limited views in flooded pipes. Heavy water flows obscure visibility.
  • Can only evaluate interior surfaces. External pipe damage cannot be detected.
  • Requires an access point. Drain openings are needed to insert the camera.
  • Unable to measure exact pipe size and material. Must infer from visual clues.
  • Can miss some hairline cracks or defects. Very small issues may not be visible.
  • Requires an experienced operator. Proper navigation and documentation skills are essential.

Even with these limits, drain cameras vastly improve precision in identifying and diagnosing pipe defects compared to traditional methods alone.

How Much Does a Drain Camera Inspection Typically Cost?

Costs for drain camera inspections vary depending on the length and complexity of pipes being evaluated. Typical costs range from $100 – $800 on average:

  • Short inspections – $150 to $300. Checking just a small section of pipe or drain, such as from the kitchen sink to the main stack.
  • Medium inspections – $300 to $400. Inspecting a full branch line, such as all sinks, laundry, and floor drain connections.
  • Full house inspections – $400 to $800. Checking all interior drain and sewer pipes throughout an entire house.
  • Additional services – $100 to $300 per hour. Includes extensive diagnosis, pipe clearing, mapping, locating exterior pipes, etc.

Key factors impacting drain camera costs:

  • Number of feet/meters of pipe inspected
  • Pipe accessibility and required maneuvering
  • Extent of documentation needed
  • If pipes must be cleared before camera insertion
  • Number and difficulty of access points required
  • If exterior pipes or lateral lines need located

Thorough camera inspections deliver value by preventing costly future repairs and precisely pinpointing required fixes.

Why Choose Ace Home Services for Camera Drain Inspections?

When shopping around for a sewer camera inspection cost you can afford, you want to make sure you choose a company that is licensed and trusted in their community. Your best bet is ACE Home Services! With an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau in over 20 years of experiences, our services can’t be beat. Our experience and trained plumbers can tackle any job. Call us today at (602) 428-3341  and ask how we can help you! Click here to schedule a plumbing inspection online.

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