The Critical Benefits of an In-Line Sewer Camera Inspection
Today’s technology has changed the home sewer inspection process tremendously. In many cases a full sewer line excavation is not necessary. Where there is intrusion and line repair needed, it’s now possible to isolate the problem or to repair it from the inside instead of a full excavation and new line installation. Much of this advancement has come about because of in-line plumbing camera technology.
In-line sewer video cameras offer multiple benefits for the trained technician. These include determination the nature of a line blockage (roots, line separations, artificial material blockages, material flow problems), integrity inspection of the sewer line, and extent of the damage to be repaired or replaced. Cameras also help plumbers prepare with the right equipment when salvaging an existing like with industrial equipment such as high pressure jet cleaning tools. The wrong tool could damage the pipe, but a camera will confirm the condition and proper pressure approach every time.
On the other hand, not using a camera can be extremely costly for a homeowner. For example, a misjudgment of the line problem could end up in charges for a far more extensive line repair that turns out not be necessary, including excavation. In addition, there could be problems with estimating the exactly location of the issue as well, which could make the problem worse and bigger repair. Again, accuracy in knowledge is a win-win for everyone involved.
The main features of an in-line sewer camera are primarily based around the camera apparatus itself, the data feed cable which comes in the form of an insulated and sealed fiber optic cable for heavy duty applications, the LED lighting mechanism on the end of the camera to illuminate the details filmed, and the video monitor above ground which allows the technician to see the progress in real-time as well as record the findings for review and analysis.
Camera Head and Assembly
If there is a critical part in the entire in-line sewer camera system, it’s the camera head. This is the most expensive component in the setup and the part that captures the critical information. It is also extremely sensitive and easy to damage. An untrained technician or someone new to the job can do a lot of damage very quickly forcing the camera apparatus through a line and, in essence, making the camera head a luxury battering ram to a blockage. Not only does that ruin the whole purpose of the effort, it can also damage any information capture as well. While these industrial cameras are specifically designed and built for their environments, repeat use of jamming the camera through resistance simply destroys it over time. That’s why the best technicians use a very light approach, working slowly and methodically. It saves the equipment and produces crystal clear images with easy to analyze recordings of what’s going on inside the line.
Attached to the Camera rear is the fiber optic cabling, shielded in an industrial sheath wrapping so that the materials and moisture in a sewer line don’t damage the fiber itself. It’s also designed for easy cleaning so that the equipment be sanitized after the fact before packaging again for transport. This type of cabling doesn’t do well with extreme bending or folding. Instead, it is wound on a large wheel assembly for protected storage when not in use. The fiber optics allow for significant data transfer from the camera to the monitor, allowing for high detail with a closed circuit system. The cabling and camera are sent through the line with a push rod that gives the technician control and the ability to propel the camera through the line at distance.
Attached to the top of the camera apparatus is a sealed LED lighting unit that provides a tight concentration of illumination. While it’s not going to light up a neighborhood, the LED unit provides more than enough light for the camera to pick up detail and show in clarity and even color what’s going on in front of it. With good practice, the lighting and image gives the technician enough information to see what’s happening as he sends the unit through, how to navigate issues, and when the line cannot be traveled any further.
Finally, the monitor is the display that the technician watches and records with as the camera inside the line does its job. Directly connected to the fiber optics cabling, the monitor will display in detail and real time what is happening in front of the unit in the line as well the time stamp. Some advanced units can also display various sensor data such a temperature and humidity as well, which is why this kind of equipment is also used by archaeologists and law enforcement/public safety for similar confined space visual examination.
As discussed above, modern plumbing technology is now light years from where it was only two decades ago. And in-line pipe inspections allow far better repair performance as well as saving consumers thousands of dollars from unnecessary repairs. In comparison to how things used to be done, it would be foolhardy to attempt any sewer line repair today without a camera inspection first.
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