To be completely candid, this is a hot subject for me.  I’ve been in the plumbing profession since 1997 and I am absolutely passionate about preventing property damage from plumbing issues.  One of the leading causes of major property damage in homes here in the Phoenix area is from sewer stoppages.  Stoppages are most often a symptom of a problem with the sewer line and to be frank, many homes go up on the market because the seller knows there are major issues with the sewer line.

Sewer Camera Inspections 

A sewer video camera inspection can give you a visual inspection of the inside of the sewer line which can let you know if there is an issue with the sewer line.  Some of the issues that can be diagnosed by a sewer camera inspection are bellies in the line, roots in the sewer line, breaks in the sewer line, excessive grease and sewer lines that are in poor condition due to age, like cast iron or Orangeburg pipe. 

Does a sewer camera inspect every drain?

Sewer camera inspections typically are only viewing and inspecting the main trunk line of the home, not branch lines.   A main line is the sewer line that is running from either the city sewer connection or the septic tank to the house.  Depending on the access of the sewer system often the sewer inspection will also include the main sewer line going into the house under the foundation as well.  Branch lines, such as tub lines, shower drains, toilets and kitchen sinks are not part of the normal camera inspection process and this is often done to access to the drain line as well as size of the drain line.  Sewer camera equipment has a camera on the end of the line that requires a minimum diameter of pipe to fit through as well as the camera head is too large to fit through tight turns like p-traps and small diameter 90’s that can be in the branch lines of older homes.  

A sewer camera video inspection is not enough

There are several companies that offer camera video inspections of sewer lines but they are missing the mark on a very important component of the inspection process, locating.  If there is a problem with the sewer line it doesn’t do any good to just see the inside of the pipe, you have to know where the pipe is and how deep the line runs in order to quote and fix the problem.  With the real estate market booming, we are seeing more and more of these video inspections clearly showing that there is a problem with the sewer line and then we are asked to quote the project based on the video.  The video does not give a plumber enough information to properly quote what it will cost to repair or replace the sewer line.  A visual inspection of the inside of the sewer line only tells the plumber that there is an issue with the sewer line, it does not tell him if the sewer line is 2’ deep or 8’ deep or if the sewer line is running under any obstacles like sidewalks, driveways, patios and other landscape. A sewer line repair or replacement can vary greatly in price based on this information, it is quite a bit more to excavate for a sewer line that is 6’ deep vs a sewer line that is 2’ deep at it’s shallow point and 3’ deep at the city connection.  If the sewer inspection company you’re hiring cannot locate the sewer line, we highly recommend calling a company that can.  We’ve seen too many times camera inspections have to be redone so that the issues can be located, not just viewed on a screen.  It can be incredibly frustrating to find out that the camera inspection you just paid for is useless when it comes to finding out how much it will cost and what it will take to repair the sewer line or to replace the line.  We go back out on sewer camera inspections several times a week because the original inspection done by another company did not include locating the sewer line or where the issues were.  We had a client just a couple of weeks ago have her $1,000,000.00 sale fall through because the sewer inspection was only visual and did not include the necessary information to quote the sewer repair and negotiate the repair within the inspection period.  Understandably the client was very frustrated, she’d called several plumbers all day trying to get a quote and none of us could without the required information.

Services in Phoenix & Beyond

When you’ve found yourself in need of plumbing services in the Phoenix, Glendale, Scottsdale, or Chandler area, you can trust Robins Plumbing to provide you with prompt and expert care, contact our team today! In addition to our toilet services, we also offer a variety of residential and commercial plumbing services, including: drain cleaning, water heater repair and replacement, sewer camera inspection and locating, backflow prevention, commercial and residential jetting, water treatments, and more. Visit our reviews online to see what others have to say about our local plumbing company!