Pipe inspection cameras are essential to any pipeline or sewer pipe inspection. Those in the plumbing industry know technicians must locate the source of trouble in pipes before beginning repairs. This step not only saves you time and effort, it builds trust with your customers. These inspection cameras will offer the ability to capture images and videos so that you can show your customer or homeowner clear evidence of the issue and advise them on corrective action.
According to Plumber Magazine, “Just as patients expect to see the X-ray before the operation, plumbing customers increasingly want to see “proof” of the problem before the repair.” Pipe inspection cameras allow you to locate and diagnose plumbing problems quickly, ensuring your customers get the optimal repair. Faster and shorter projects also means you will get to serve even more customers.
Obviously, these pieces of equipment are a must-have for any plumber or pipe inspector. That’s why we’ve rounded up our top three pipe inspection cameras in the plumbing industry below.
What Are Pipe Inspection Cameras?
Before we share our favorite borescopes in the plumbing industry, it’s important we cover the basics on pipe inspection cameras.
A pipe inspection camera, also called a sewer inspection camera or plumbers camera, is a type of borescope typically used in the plumbing industry to inspect sewer systems and pipelines. These devices feature a high-resolution camera mounted to an insertion tube or a flexible rod, allowing the operator to insert the inspection system into hard-to-reach spaces.
The mobility and image-capture abilities of a pipe inspection camera enable a thorough inspection, even when examining isolated and hard to see areas. This could include pipes behind walls, pipes encased in concrete or plumbing systems beneath home foundations. Plumbing jobs may also call for sewer inspections, meaning you may need to examine underground sewer lines. Employing a pipe inspection camera means you can pinpoint the problem area without excavating plumbing and sewer systems, avoiding costly and labor-intensive inspections.
Though pipe inspection cameras are favored by the plumbing industry for their ability to detect cracks, find blockages and spot leaks, they can also be used by other maintenance professionals. Aviation technicians can use these cameras to conduct aircraft inspections, which include an examination of the engine, airframe, gear boxes, turbines and more. Those in manufacturing, such as oil and gas, may use pipe inspection cameras to inspection natural gas lines and fuel tanks. But for the purposes of this article, we will focus on uses in the plumbing industry.
What Are the Different Types of Pipe Inspection Cameras?
Though all sewer inspection cameras perform similar functions in the plumbing industry, there are several types you can choose from. Some cameras are more flexible and are intended to navigate twisting pipes. Other plumbing jobs require stiff pipe inspection cameras. Let’s explore the different inspection systems and how they are best used below.
Rigid Pipe Inspection Camera
A rigid or semi rigid inspection camera refers to the actual cable or push rod. These inspection cameras are used typically to be manually pushed into the pipe over a long distance. Some push cameras are available with up to 400 feet of working length. Standard length on most snake cameras are 100 feet.
Since these systems are designed to be pushed across a long stretch of pipe the push rods on these systems are typically made with reinforced fiberglass. These systems do not navigate around bends in pipes that easily. That is the trade off for having a push camera that can go long distances.
Flexible Push Camera System
Flexible push cameras are used in pipe and sewer inspections that are tight and hard to navigate. This inspection system consists of a small camera which is attached to a snake-like cable, which can handle twisting pipelines. Many flexible push cameras are also articulating, meaning the operator can point the camera in any direction. Using this feature, as well as the flexible cables, the operator can navigate any pipe until they discover the source of the problem. These flexible push cameras can navigate the bends in pipes even down into P traps and S traps. Maximum length on these inspection cameras is 100 feet some are designed with 35 and 50 foot probes.
What is the Right Pipe Inspection Camera For Me?
You may be wondering what makes a good pipe inspection camera. According to Digital Camera World, “there is a lot of flexibility, and the choices have become increasingly bewildering as more players have entered this fast-growing market.” Before we get into our top three picks, let’s go over how to choose a pipe inspection camera.
First, consider the task at hand. What tools will you need to help you complete this job? Insertion probe length, for example, is an important feature to consider. Are you inspecting a home plumbing system or a sewer line deep underground? The length of the probe could be the difference between detecting and repairing an issue, and missing it entirely.
Similarly, you must take into account the diameter of the insertion probe and the size of the pipe inspection camera. Some jobs will require you to examine small pipes; make sure you are properly equipped. At USA Borescopes, we offer pipe inspection cameras as small as 1/4 inch in diameter.
Some other features to consider include lighting. When recording a pipe or sewer inspection, sufficient lighting is crucial to capturing high quality images. Consider purchasing a device with adjustable LED lights or adding light sources to your current inspection system.
Your display monitor will also impact the quality of your images. According to the Chicago Tribune, “wireless inspection cameras have been introduced, using WiFi to connect to your smartphone or tablet screen.” With a wireless device, you have the power to choose your display monitor. If you’re working on a more complex project, opt for a larger screen that offers higher resolution.
What are the Top Three Borescopes in the Plumbing Industry?
Now that you know what goes into choosing a pipe inspection camera, here are our picks for the best borescopes in the plumbing industry.
1. PIVS3188DN Manual Push Inspection Videoscope
The portable and lightweight PIVS3188DN videoscope can be used for any pipe or sewer inspection. The camera tip is 1 inch in diameter while the insertion probe is 100 feet long, allowing for versatility of use. The camera head has been manufactured with a spring coiled joint for flexibility and the monitor is equipped with remote control features that control the camera. This allows the operator to easily record video during an inspection. Many may call this a cheap sewer camera, but more could not be true. This systems provides everything that that a start up plumbing business would need or those with high risk inspections that don’t want to risk damage to higher cost pipe inspection camera systems.
Additionally, this pipe inspection camera is compatible with eight different LED lights and comes in a waterproof case.
2. Wohler VIS 350
The Wohler VIS 350 is a sewer inspection push camera which can be used for a variety of applications in the plumbing industry, including pipe, sewer and drain inspections. However, this device is celebrated for its precise transmitter, which is used to accurately locate the camera head once it has detected damage.
Another feature also helped the Wohler VIS 350 secure its title as a stand out: interchangeable camera heads. The first camera offers a straight view while the second can tilt and pan. A wide viewing angle allows the operator to conduct a more thorough inspection. If you require a pan and tilt camera with remote focus capabilities you can test out the Wohler VIS 700 HD video inspection camera. The Wohler VIS 700 HD Video Inspection Camera is also available in a VIS 700 Plus series which also offers an interchangeable 1 inch straight view camera head for smaller diameter pipes. This HD pipe inspection system is also found as Wohler 7082.
3. Opticam Modular Sewer Inspection Camera
The Opticam Modular Sewer Inspection Camera is a high quality and affordable option for those in the plumbing industry conducting onsite inspections. This device is also versatile and can be used to inspect pipes and drains ranging from two to twelve inches. The inspection system comes with 200 feet of cable, though users can choose to add up to 400 feet of cable.
The Opticam Modular Sewer Inspection Camera features a WiFi app, meaning you can easily share recording footage with other devices.
Borescope inspections are an effective way for plumbing professionals to save time and money on repairs. However, it’s important to select the right borescope for the job. Luckily, USA Borescopes is here to help you choose. If you have any questions about pipe inspection cameras, or any of our other borescopes, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our seasoned staff of professionals is happy to help