Do you sometimes think that there might be something wrong with your home's plumbing, but you're not sure? There are plenty of warning signs that a problem could be lurking beneath the surface, including:
Mold and mildew on non-shower walls
Musty smells around the house
Sudden problems with rodents and insects
Unusually high water bills
Water backups on the ground floor or in the basement
Still, sometimes a broken sewer line (just to pick an example) that is leaking water into your home might be hard for even a professional plumber to diagnose. You might think that the recent backups it caused were just the product of a heavy rainstorm that happened around the same time.
The only way to remove all doubt is to have a professional plumber come over and do a video camera line inspection. Specially made, waterproof video cameras can be inserted into the sewer line and moved around inside the pipe to inspect its condition. Let's look at a few issues a camera inspection could bring to light:
Trees such as maples have extensive root systems that naturally grow toward sewer lines, which are rich in both nutrients and of course water. These roots can get inside pipes and clump up as thick hair-like masses. The pipes then become congested and highly pressurized, leading to possible backups. Cameraing can find roots so that they can be removed in an appropriate manner, like with a snake/auger. Paring cameraing with a chemical root control formula creates a killer combination.
Long-chain fatty acids (aka fats and grease) are one of the leading culprits of clogged pipes. Many homes do not have the grease traps or interceptors in place to stop these long-term buildups. So homeowners often have to rely on homemade tips and tricks. Sometimes, though, the clog is so serious that it has to be addressed by a team of licensed plumbers. Cameras can pinpoint the exact location of these buildups.
Some homes are outfitted with old pipes that may be made out substandard materials, especially when compared to what is now available. Damaged cast iron or clay tile might be replaceable with newer PVC, for example. A camera inspection is useful for finding these issues as well as others such as bellied pipes that are collecting paper and waste, corroded pipes, leaking joints, etc.
Depending on the location of a house, it's possible that foreign objects such as large rocks might have found their way into the sewer line. Needless to say, you might not suspect that this had happened unless you had a licensed plumber run a camera line into the pipe.
A broken or backed up sewer line is a plumbing emergency. If you notice something different about how quickly your water is draining or how your walls look, be sure to contact a professional plumber to help with a camera line inspection to diagnose the issue, a cleaning to remove any obstructions and possibly a sewer line repair.