Most homeowners don’t think twice about their plumbing system day-to-day unless something goes wrong. If your plumbing isn’t draining as smoothly as it usually does, you’ll know that something isn’t right. Determining the cause of the problem is no simple matter. Though the signs of leaking and clogged pipes differ, without being able to see your underground pipes, it’s next to impossible to determine where this leak or clog is occurring, as well as the extent of the damage. By using a sewer camera inspection, your Edmonton plumber has the capabilities to conduct a visual inspection of sewer lines located behind your walls and deep beneath the ground.
Sometimes included with drain cleaning services and otherwise a tool used in a sewer line inspection, sewer camera inspections provide live video and sound of the inside of your sewer pipes. As will be discussed below, a sewer camera in Edmonton can’t identify all plumbing issues, but it is a highly useful tool for finding leaks and clogs quickly and minimally invasively.
Wondering when you should consider investing in sewer inspection in Edmonton? In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about how a sewer camera inspection works, what it can and can’t do, and our top reasons why you may want to hire your local Mr. Rooter Plumbing to get a sewer inspection in Edmonton,
How A Sewer Camera Inspection Works
Using a sewer camera in Edmonton is a simple yet genius method for finding out what’s going on in your sewer lines. All drains in your home, whether from your kitchen sink, toilet or shower, drain wastewater into your lateral sewer line beneath your property. Your lateral line connects to the city’s sanitary sewer and thus drains into the municipal sewer. Though you cannot see your lateral line, there are points of entry through which you may access it—namely, sewer cleanouts.
All homes in Edmonton have at least one sewer cleanout. These capped pipes may be located outdoors near the side of your property, but more commonly will be found in your basement utility room or garage. During video camera inspections, your trusted plumber will either use a sewer cleanout to take a look at your lateral lines or your drains to take a look at your drain pipes.
A sewer camera is essentially a high-resolution video camera that is connected to a flexible cable. These devices are very similar to augers, or drain snakes, which is perhaps why they are sometimes referred to as snake cameras.’ The flexible metal cable can be connected to a monitor, which displays live video and sound as the camera moves through your lines. Though the video is live, it may also be recorded. As your plumber feeds the camera through your lines, they’ll keep their eyes out for anything that looks out of the ordinary.
Sewer cameras in Edmonton also have radio transmitters. If a problem area has been identified on the monitor, your plumber will leave the camera in your pipe at that spot and use another device to pinpoint its exact location above ground. If you need trenchless sewer line repair, this will help your plumbing team know where to dig.
Benefits of Sewer Camera Inspection in Edmonton, AB
Drain camera inspection is the tool of choice for plumbing diagnostics for many reasons. Of these reasons, the biggest benefit is undoubtedly its affordability. The service itself is quick, easy and cost-effective, but the biggest cost savings come from how non-invasive this method is. Traditionally, sewer line repair was done by digging trenches to access the entirety of your lateral line. Not only is this costly to do, but results in very expensive repairs—think thousands of dollars—to your yard’s landscaping. When pipes beneath your foundation needed to be accessed, repair was even more expensive.
Sewer inspection in Edmonton can also identify a wide range of issues. Though it’s not always the only tool needed to diagnose plumbing problems, it’s almost always an important part of the process. Without it, many plumbing repairs would be based on guesswork alone, sometimes resulting in unnecessary work and expenses.
When To Consider A Sewer Inspection in Edmonton
There are generally two circumstances in which you may wish to consider using a sewer camera in Edmonton: when you move into a new property and when you’re experiencing an issue with your drainage system.
Moving Into A New Home
As Edmonton and its surrounding areas grow, new homes are being built all the time. When you become the owner of a new home, you have the advantage of knowing that nothing has yet been flushed down your drains. Your pipes are brand new and therefore clean, sturdy and clog-free. Homeowners who move into a building that had previous owners do not have this luxury.
The older the property you’re buying, the greater the importance of a home inspection. A standard home inspection that includes a sewer camera inspection will help you identify all kinds of things about your plumbing system, including:
- The material of your pipes
- The presence of any clogs
- Collapsed pipes
- Other causes for concern
It’s a good idea to get your prospective home inspected prior to closing, but at the very least, you should get the service done shortly after moving in. Identifying issues early on can allow you to make repairs before the problem gets out of hand and subsequently costs you more.
Diagnosing Common Sewer Problems
While we’re huge proponents of preventative maintenance and inspections, many of our customers call us for sewer inspection in Edmonton when they’re experiencing sewer line issues. Drain issues are usually caused by two main things: clogs and leaks. However, there are multiple ways that clogs and leaks may develop.
Slow drains, gurgling sounds and unpleasant smells are all signs of a blocked drain. Clogs generally form when things other than wastewater end up going down your sink, shower and toilet. You likely know not to put bacon grease and tons of food debris down your kitchen sink, but there are more innocuous causes of clogs as well. Some of these include:
- Traditional bar soap: Bar soap is made out of two basic ingredients: lye and fat. The fat may be animal fat or vegetable fat, such as cocoa butter or olive oil. When soap residue is rinsed down the drain, soap scum can form on the inside of your pipes. Over time, this will build up more and more, until only a small pathway remains for wastewater to flow through.
- Flushable wipes: If you have children in your household or perhaps just like getting extra clean, you may regularly use flushable wipes. Made by multiple brands, these wipes claim to be able to be flushed down the toilet due to being biodegradable. While biodegradability is a great quality for waste products to have, these should never be flushed down the toilet. Unfortunately, there are no strict laws that prevent companies from claiming these are biodegradable and flushable when they haven’t been proven to be so. Independent studies on these wipes have found them to be far from as degradable as toilet paper.
- Flushable kitty litter: Again, the word ‘flushable’ is very deceiving. While it does break down to an extent, it has been known to cause clogs. The City of Edmonton also has a combined sewer system, meaning that wastewater and stormwater flow through the same line. Most of the time, waste flows to the water treatment plant, but in the event of heavy rain or significant snowmelt, waste overflows into the North Saskatchewan River. Litter and contaminants in cat feces can be incredibly toxic to wildlife.
Another common cause of clogs in Edmonton, particularly in older homes, is tree root intrusion. As pipes age, they can develop small fractures or loosened joints. Though tiny cracks that allow small drops of water to escape won’t drastically affect your plumbing, they do attract tree roots. Root systems are responsible for nourishing and hydrating the tree, and wastewater provides an ample supply of both of these things. These growing roots can find the smallest of cracks and make their way inside. As they grow, they can clog your pipes and widen existing cracks.
One of the best methods for sewer cleaning and clog removal involves HydroScrub® Jetting service. Once we’ve identified the nature of your clog, we may be able to use this cleaning system to clear it. Using highly pressurized water, we’ll blast the clog to bits and send it into the city’s sanitary sewer where it will be carried away for good. If your sewer inspection in Edmonton reveals that you have a major tree root intrusion, we’ll likely need to conduct trenchless sewer line repair or replacement as well.
What A Sewer Camera Inspection Cannot Find
Though licensed plumbers are big fans of sewer line video inspection, it’s important to find a plumbing company that acknowledges the weaknesses of this method as well. This technology has undergone major improvements over the past several years, resulting in a camera that is capable of providing adequate lighting and automatically focusing. That being said, major issues are always easier to spot than minor issues. The biggest weakness of the sewer camera inspection is that it can only see the inside of your pipes—not the outside.
This makes them a great tool for identifying clogs and tree roots, but less effective at identifying leaks. As clear as the video quality is, it’s not always easy to identify small cracks or holes. A lot gets flushed down your drain, and even if you don’t have any clogs, your pipes are still not going to be sparkling clean. As unappealing as it may sound, waste tends to stick to the edges of your pipes, and sometimes sticky residue can look like a crack when in fact, your pipes are just fine.
Reputable plumbing experts will use other diagnostic tools to determine if you have a leak. A large leak can result in patches of grass that are greener than the rest (which also gives a clue as to the leak location), but small leaks can show less visible signs. One other way that leaks can be detected is by shutting off all the water in your home and watching your water meter to see if the number changes. If you’re not using any water and the number goes up, you likely have a leak somewhere.
At the end of the day, leak detection is simply a tricky business, with or without a sewer camera inspection. Sewer inspections in Edmonton remain one of the best ways to diagnose problems in your sewer system.
Take Advantage of Our Sewer Camera Inspection Service
Unlike some other plumbing companies, our team at Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Edmonton will always strive to provide our customers with the most cost-effective and affordable repairs, replacements and installations. One of the ways in which we do this is by providing sewer inspection in Edmonton, which allows us to accurately diagnose your plumbing problem and subsequently recommend the best solution.
Our reliable plumbing technicians have plenty of experience in the industry and are passionate about customer service. Dealing with plumbing problems is stressful enough without worrying about whether you’ve chosen the right plumbing company, which is why we’re committed to achieving customer satisfaction through the provision of upfront pricing and no overtime charges. We also guarantee our workmanship and parts, so you can rest assured that your plumbing repair will be done right the first time.
In addition to serving residents within the City of Edmonton’s borders, we’re also proud to be able to service homeowners and commercial property owners in St. Albert and Sherwood Park. If you think our sewer camera inspection service may be right for you, we encourage you to reach out to our fantastic customer service team at (780) 429-3600. You can also fill out our job estimate request form and we’ll get in touch with you to arrange a convenient day and time for an on-site consultation and estimate.