Why camera my sewer line?

Friday, June 6th, 2014


The plumbing industry is a lot more advanced that it was just a few years ago.

Many of the tools used are computer controlled with circuit boards, loaded with  processors, digital readout, with wireless transmission, and so complicated it takes many hours of training to use them properly.  There are jetters, cameras, sewer machines, locators, transmitters, not to mention all the power tools and hand tools that cost sometimes $600 and only work for ONE specific application!  When a quality company comes to your home to find out why your sewer is backed up, he is often hauling around $100,0000 of tools in that truck he rolled up in!

One of those fancy computer controlled, digital tools is a drain camera.  Drain cameras come in dozens of different sizes, lengths, styles, and with more options than a Ford Mustang!. You may not have a recording device, or you might….there are USB, DVD, internal, and even some old VHS units still around! You can have a self leveling camera, a 100 foot reach, a 200 foot reach, one for 1 1/2″ lines, all the way up to 8″ or larger lines!

So how does this affect you and your plumbing problem?


Sometimes spending a little bit can save a whole bunch later on.  There are a few times when having a camera run is worth its weight in gold.  Imagine you just bought your beautiful new home in a quiet, established neighborhood.  After a few months you notice the toilets aren’t flushing as they did before.  Occasionally you have to turn the shower off because the water isn’t draining as fast as it did.  Then one day, nothing is going down.  You call your local plumber thinking all you need is him to run a snake down the line and clear some obstruction. The plumber comes and fights with his rooter machine and if your very lucky, he gets a little hole cut and the water drains out.  If your unlucky, he gets nowhere and he needs to let the water slowly drop, or worse, vacuum the water out, so he can put his camera in the line.

If you had taken the time and just a small amount of money, this could have all been avoided with a pre inspection of that sewer line by a qualified plumber prior to your purchase.  He could have seen and recorded some roots growing through a connection or crack in the pipe.  He could have warned you about some damage that looked like it could become a pipe collapse in time.  Repairs for these problems will cost between $2500 – $15000.  It’s not just the money….your yard is quite possibly going to sustain some major damage and you may even have to remove some mature trees and lack of facilities in the home during the repair.  A major upset in life that could all have been avoided for a small investment.

How much does it cost to camera a sewer line?

At The Trusted Plumber we want to leave our customers with as much information as possible.  Our camera equipment is state of the art so our customers can see exactly what we see.  We can even record the video and save it for comparison later if you choose to wait.   If we come to your house on a service call, we may decide to run the camera for free just so we can inspect the work we’ve done and see if there is any reason for concern.  Most of the time we find all is well and we can move on to the next call with our customer happy and secure that the problem is solved.  Occasionally, we find some roots or heavy build-up in the line that we can work on with the rooter or jet with a jetter so the customer has some more time to save up for the major repair.  Rarely, we find a crushed pipe or a dropped pipe where there has been movement in the ground and major damage has occurred.  Of course if this is the case we can offer immediate assistance by starting work right away to get your home back in shape and if it is a two day job, we have agreements with a major hotel chain for special rates we can include in your pricing. We even offer on the spot financing.  If you need a camera inspection with a recorded USB drive for an anticipated home purchase we charge a flat rate of $350 and it includes all major drain lines just for your protection.


The best way to know if you need someone to camera a line is discuss it with The Trusted Plumber when we come to your home for your annual inspection.  More than likely, it isn’t something that would need to be done but answering a few questions could save a lot of headaches in the future.  As always, our goal is to educate our customers and have them decide exactly what is best for them at that point in time. If you haven’t had your annual plumbing inspection/water heater flush call us soon and rest easy.