Is buying a video camera system to inspect main sewer lines the correct move?

I was just thinking about purchasing a video push camera system with 150’ of cable to inspect main sewage waste lines. I always recommend having the main line inspected when the property is older and has trees in the front yard. What are your thoughts…

I think the only guy on here doing that is Scott.

If I had requests to perform this, I’d definitely look into it.

Until then, I’ll stick to home inspections.

Leave plumbing issues with the Plumbers.

If you do not make it a part of the inspection but offer it as an additional service (usual charge in St. Louis is $175) it will work. You don’t want to do it for free and if you add it to the cost of an inspection, your fee will not be competitive.

You may be exceeding the limitations of a ‘visual inspection’ as defined in the INACHI Standards of Practice and opening yourself to a lot of liability that you do not want.

If there is not a main clean clean out are your going to pull the toilet and then replace it?

Email me and I will tell you where to get a camera cheap and a list of the equipment you will need. I do them on about 30% of the inspections I have been doing lately. It has been as high as 50% in the past. I paid for my camera within the first month of owning it. Definately a money maker if you sell it as an ancillary service. Doing two of them tomorrows inspections.

Very good info, thanks to all. I am going to really think about all the coments. I don’t really want to pull toilets out and replace the wax ring and caulking, thats not including the mess I will have to clean up from the water in the toilet. I think if I do decide to buy one I would only do the ones that have a clean out pipe. We will see I will be e-mailing you Scott thanks.

If you do not have a plumbing background,you should avoid thinking about this.

Go take a temp job with Roto Rooter and see what you are getting into first.

Watch this free episode:

Due to the overwhelming requests for information about sewer lateral inspections, I have decided to write up an equipment list, resources, and basic procedures that will be posted soon. It seems there is a lot of interest in this and the inspections are actually very simple to do if you know how to use a camera. There are some specialized tools that you will need to buy and make in order to access some systems.

I have been swamped with inspections recently because everyone is trying to beat the deadline for the tax credit, but as soon as I get a free moment I will have a nice write up for everyone.

BTW…I don’t pull toilets to access a sewer line. If there is not a clean out or a sink trap that can be easily dismantled and reassembled, then I don’t do the inspection and simply charge a trip fee. Older brass clean out covers seldom come out easily. I carry extras in the van of the common sizes. If it won’t come out peacefully, I get written permission from the owner to cut the cap in half and replace it. There is an small additional fee to the client if they want to go this extra step. They come out easy after you have dome a few of them.

The other approach is to go from the curb vent back into the home which requires that you make a special tool in order to get the camera head into the sewer line and not into the curb trap. This is simply pieces of PVC pipe that have been threaded and cut on a table saw to allow it to be removed from the cable once you are into the sewer line so that it is not in your way.

You can visit my website to see what some of the still pictures look like of various defects that I have found. Just please do not steal content, pictures, or hotlink to them. Pictures have my company name embedded in the photos.

I just want to know how you get a trip fee ,if you did nothing.

Anyone reading this should know “that” service as an aux would not be legal in Illinois.

You do what you can from the inspection template that I have set up and document that the sewer line needs a clean out installed. There is a lot more to it than shoving a camera down the sewer line.

Fair enough.

A camera is not “visual”?!

If you see something in the camera, is it not really there, or is it that the camera may miss something 6" in front of it?

Thermal imaging is a situation where you could miss something at the end of your nose!

I could not see this missing insulation on 3 previous trips to the house because of solar loading! You simply document up front that there are things that my preclude you from catching everything. I had three lawyers involved in this inspection. No one said anything when I found this at the last minute! They just fixed it. I did not charge to do the final scan after it was fixed (I was just across the street anyway).

By the way, the reason it finally showed up was because 4" of snow blocking the solar load.

I think this added “liability” is unsubstantiated and blown out of proportion.

I’ve had discussions about this with my insurance provider and they feel that I find more latent issues than I miss and have no trouble with that alleged liability.

Davis if you have time,could you explain what Solar Load means.
That may? explain your three trips.

Bob, solar loading in reference to thermal imaging has to do with radiant heating from the sun.

Heat transfer occurs by conduction, convection or radiation.

When the sun strikes the building, radiant load occurs on that part of the building exposed to the sun.

This causes strange things to happen when viewed with the thermal imager. It is standard practice not to conduct thermal scans on a building component that has solar loading.

The heat was running in the house causing the ceiling to warm. Areas of the ceiling that were not insulated would normally appear cold due to outside air temperatures. However in this case, the area of the ceiling that we expect to be cool due to the lack of insulation became warm due to solar heat radiating from the roof to the ceiling below. The temperature of the ceiling at insulated and uninsulated areas where the same and were not detectable with the thermal camera.

By the way, I did not make three trips to the house to find this problem. There were a dozen problems throughout the house I was working on and called back for reinspection as the work progressed.

Make sense?

Makes sense once I figured that was a dry walled section,since they would not insulate rafters unless they converted the attic.

The normal view missing along with the small res IR pic combined to fool me the first time.

Since this was a cool day the first time ,with heat on,would you have seen a warmer area from a roof external view.

Assuming that heat is escaping from below through those three uninsulated rafters.

OR…does the radiant heat affect both sides.(assuming asphalt roof of course) as I am sure a clay tile roof would spread the heat signature.

The solar absorption of the roof is greater than any amount of heat loss from the interior.