What Can a Camera Inspection Tell You About Your Sewer?

What Can a Camera Inspection Tell You About Your Sewer?

Plumbers have been around for as long as plumbing has existed, making it one of the oldest professions in the modern world. Despite that, plumbing has a come a long way, especially in the last few years as technological advancements have helped make it easier than ever to detect any issues in hard-to-see locations such as your sewer line. Here at Garvin’s Sewer Service, we sometimes use sewer inspection cameras to locate sewer line problems, but only in certain situations.

If you’ve ever wondered in what contexts we may need to use these special cameras, the following explains how they work and what they can detect.

How Sewer Inspection Cameras Work

The device itself features a box with a screen attached a thin, snakelike hose that can be deposited into an open drain. Inside the hose are small lights and a fiber optic camera similar in size to those found in smartphones, and as the camera at the end of the cable extends down the pipe, images of what the camera sees shows up on the screen in real time. As the plumber threads the cable through the pipes, it observes any potential obstructions or leaks.

What These Cameras Can Show Us

Perhaps most importantly, these cameras have made it possible for us to detect problems that may be located in a sewer line, which is buried underground and often inaccessible for visual inspection from the outside. In a nutshell, these cameras can show our professionals most cracks, root damage, and corrosion, giving us an easy look at what needs to be fixed and how we could best approach fixing it.

For example, the camera could determine that root damage is what’s causing the issue, so we would know how to use the right kinds of tools to correct the issue. If there’s a clog, we know how to flush it out. There’s a good reason we use these so much at our jobs!

What Cameras Can’t Do

While a sewer camera inspection can catch many problems, there are some things it can’t do. With some old cast iron piping, the image can be hard to interpret sometimes, at which point we may have to use other diagnostic methods to figure out what’s going on.

At the end of the day, though, these cameras are very helpful in diagnosing what’s wrong with a sewer line. They help Garvin’s Sewer Service professionals do their job in a way that allows us to complete jobs quickly and efficiently. These types of modern plumbing tools are good for everybody involved, so don’t be surprised if you see one of our technicians using a sewer camera the next time you call them to your house to correct a sewer line issue.

How Do You Know It’s Time for a Sewer Replacement?

Thankfully, modern sewage disposal systems are designed to ensure that we never have to deal with waste the way our ancestors did, but because we’ve grown so used to our sewage systems working flawlessly, the moment a system incurs any sort of damage, we notice it. And it isn’t fun.

There are a few things to look for if you suspect sewer damage, so if you notice any of the following occurring in your home, please contact Garvin’s Sewer Service at your earliest convenience. We will be able to diagnose the issue and undertake whatever sewer replacement or repair may be necessary.

#1 Sewage Backups or Blockages

If your toilets are experiencing clogs or backflow of any sort on a consistent basis, there is a chance that the problem is with the sewer or drain rather than the commode itself. The same could be true for your sinks or bathtubs, so keep an eye out for apparent blockages, and call your plumber to have a closer look.

#2 Slow Drain

One sign of a blockage is slow drains, which could admittedly indicate something much less serious than a sewer issue, but if it’s all the drains and toilets in a house that seems to be draining slowly, the chances of the problem being sewer-related rise exponentially.

#3 Unpleasant Odors

If your sewer system is performing the way it should, you should not smell anything foul in or around your home. If you notice the smell of anything even remotely like a sewer inside or even outside of your home, there’s a chance there’s a problem somewhere you can’t see.

#4 Standing Water in Your Lawn

Even without the odor, standing water in your lawn could indicate a leak in a sewer line somewhere underneath the grass in your yard. There should not be soggy or raised patches of earth in your lawn. If there is, it’s possible the sewer line is the issue.

#5 Extra Green Grass

By the same token, extra water and the extra nutrients found in the surprise “fertilizer” working its way into your soil can help grass grow fuller, greener, and more lush—but only in patches. If you notice these patches in your yard where they haven’t been in the past, it’s worth calling your plumber to have a look at your sewer line.

#6 Septic Pooling

The worst symptom of potential sewer problems is septic pooling, which means it’s not standing water in your yard, but standing septic waste. That means a broken main line or septic tank, and on top of being disgusting, it also means you’ve got a big problem somewhere underground that only a professional plumber can fix.

When It’s Time to Contact a Professional

Garvin’s will give an honest assessment of your sewer line, cleaning it first to determine the severity of the issue, offering a camera service to pinpoint the problem area, and offering sewer repair/replacement in the cases where that is the best solution. Unlike other companies, sewer replacement isn’t our first step – in fact, we have saved Denver homeowners tens of thousands of dollars a year by cleaning and maintaining their sewer lines rather than replacing them.

Emergency Sewer Cleaning vs. Preventative Sewer Cleaning

We have several customers tell us that their sewer only backs-up on major holidays. Or nights. Or weekends. While we understand they truly mean that it never happens when it’s convenient (not that it ever is wanted or easy), sewer back-ups happen 24/7/365. That is one of the reasons why Garvin’s is available all day every day without extra charges for “inconvenient” times for emergency sewer cleaning. It is also the reason why we encourage people to conduct an annual preventative sewer cleaning.

Don’t all sewer back-ups require emergency sewer cleaning?

Emergency sewer cleaning is absolutely the name of our game. Call us anytime and we have a technician out to you in a matter of hours. We know how important it is to get your sewer back in working order as soon as possible. Not being able to flush a toilet, run the washing machine, faucets or sinks can be extremely frustrating, and also unsanitary.

Allowing waste water to sit for long periods of time can cause damage that requires a restoration company to mitigate the damages. With homeowner’s insurance not covering sewer cleaning or a main line back-up, the responsibility is on you to handle it quickly, professionally, and cost-effectively.

Emergencies can happen when too much toilet paper is used, or when the wrong toilet paper is used over time and doesn’t break down in the line. Low flush toilets and appliances can fail to put waste through the line properly, leading to sewer back-ups. Lines that become offset or broken, can also create an emergency, as can construction or other types of debris that causes blockages that enter the line.

When can preventative sewer cleaning be done?

Preventative sewer cleaning isn’t a guarantee that a sewer back-ups won’t happen, but they reduce the chances. At Garvin’s we stand behind our work and offer up to 90 day guarantees that the line we clear won’t back up. Preventative maintenance makes sure the line is clear of debris. This debris, waste, and/or root growth can catch other debris, causing it to accumulate and not let water to pass, thus causing sewer back-ups.

Preventative mainline cleaning can be done as often as you want at a time that is convenient to your schedule. Most preventative sewer cleaning is done on an annual basis, or per the recommendation of your service technician once they determine the amount of root growth in the line. They may also recommend products that can be used or shouldn’t be used in order to keep the line clear until your next service.

Whether you are needing emergency sewer cleaning or would like to schedule preventative service, Garvin’s is here to answer your questions and your calls 24/7/365. Give us a call today at 303-571-5114.