Instead of Sending Your Money Down the Drain, Send a "Spy" Camera Down First

The sight of water going down the drain in our homes is commonplace and not anything to get excited about; we just take it for granted. But, what happens when the water stops disappearing and backs up due to a clog? Now that can ruin your whole day!

If you’re lucky, the clogged line will be easy to clear. Maybe it was caused by hair or other foreign matter collecting in the U-trap below the sink. Perhaps a chemical drain cleaner containing lye, bleach or sulfuric acid will do the trick if the clog is not too serious. But, be sure to use caution when using such cleaners because getting them on your skin or clothing will not help your mood.

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When the harsh chemicals fail to solve the problem, the next step might be to try a drain stick, plumbing snake or sewer rod to brake the clog loose.

Still no luck? Matters just got more serious. Visions of huge dollar signs begin to pop up in your head as you fear some hefty sewer line repair bills may be in your immediate future. In the past, finding a clog in a sewer line could turn into a costly headache very quickly. Digging up expensive landscape in search of the problem spot does not paint a pretty picture, but it’s what many folks had to resort to.  If the clog turned out to be under concrete, or your home’s foundation, simply getting access to the line was an ordeal and the cost of landscape repair pales in comparison.

But, don’t have a panic attack quite yet. Modern technology could come to your rescue before you know it. A special waterproof camera can find clogs in sewer lines in a small fraction of the time formerly required. You may still have landscape and/or concrete repair to do, but it will be isolated to the trouble spot, saving a ton of time and money.

Here’s how it works and a summary of the benefits of this innovative technology:

·         A flexible rod with a high-resolution, waterproof video camera on its tip into pipes ranging in size from 2 inches up to sewer pipe size. The rod allows the camera to travel through the pipe - even around corners - to view the entire length of the pipe, even out to the main sewer line under the street. One can view video images of the condition of the inside of the pipe as the camera makes its underground journey. These images can be recorded and saved for a permanent record.

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·         As the video camera progresses along its inspection route, radio transmitters on the camera record the depth and physical location from the surface of any defects or obstructions. This allows the plumber to accurately diagnose the nature and specific location of the problem.

·         Use of the video camera eliminates the guesswork and physical exploration of the sewer system so problems can be resolved quickly and cost effectively.

·         The video camera probes those hard to reach places inside walls or concrete and underneath the lawn, sidewalk and street.

·         A video camera inspection will identify all types of problems, such as root intrusion and sewer pipes that are misaligned, broken, punctured, off-grade or corroded. At the same time, sewer line leaks, buildup of debris, and other obstructions can readily be seen.

·         Instances of standing water in low spots and pipe bellies can be spotted as the camera makes its way along the sewer line. While these may not warrant immediate repair, they do alert the homeowner of potential future trouble spots.

·         For home buyers, a video camera line inspection before purchasing the property will help ensure that sewer lines are free of problems that could cause headaches and expensive repairs after move in. Typically, home inspections that are done as part of the standard real estate transaction do not include a sewer line inspection.

Homeowners may want to consider a camera inspection if drains are slow to clear, a smell of mold or mildew is apparent around drains or if a gurgling noise is coming from a drain. If you wait until water is just not draining at all, you may have missed the opportunity to ward off the inconvenience and additional repair expense.

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It’s probably a good idea to check our South West Plumbing’s website at and see how their certified professionals can help you with your clogged drains problems. Fast action could save you lots of money and headaches.