The Benefits Of Using An Inspection Camera in the Plumbing Industry

by | Dec 20, 2021 | Blog

Reap the benefits of borescope inspections by choosing the device best suited for you. If you’re in the plumbing industry, use this guide to pick an inspection camera.

In the plumbing industry, the benefits of using a borescope are seemingly endless, and the variety of borescopes can feel never-ending, as well.

To reap the full benefits of your borescope rather than a standard “pipe inspection camera” in the plumbing industry is the ability to enter smaller pipe.   Overhead inspections require a rigid pipe inspection camera. Flexible borescopes are handy when examining complicated machinery. When you need a colleague’s second opinion, videoscopes allow you to easily share inspection footage.

With the right device, borescope inspections will save you time and money.  Using the wrong device, Quality Magazine warns, “will result in a less productive inspection and potential damage to the borescope that would have been avoidable with a more appropriate choice.”

In this article, we dive into the different types of borescopes and pipe inspection cameras the plumbing industry offers and the benefits of using the right borescope for inspection. Let’s get started!

Understanding The Basics of Pipe Inspection Cameras

Pipe inspection cameras are a type of borescope camera typically used to examine pipes and sewer lines. Designed for plumbers, these pipe inspection cameras are waterproof and certain types can reach up to 400ft in length, ensuring a thorough inspection.   These long length inspection cameras for plumbers are often referred to as sewer cameras.   These sewer cameras are usually designed with a semi rigid push rod that allows the inspector to cover a long range inside the pipe with diameters of 2-8 inches.

If you are going to inspect pipes with diameters smaller than 2 inches and with 90 degree bends such a ‘P-Trap’ you will most likely require an inspection camera with a much smaller head.  By the way, it’s called a ‘P-Trap’ because it is designed to Prevent odors from coming up the pipe in the living area.

While all pipe inspection cameras perform more or less the same functions, there are many to choose from in the plumbing industry. Industry standard with the inspection camera nowadays is:  Color screen, image capture, video recording and rechargeable battery pack.  But before you commit to one, let’s cover the devices that are available.

We all want the best sewer camera we can buy for our budget.   But sometimes as business owners we have to decide the difference between a ‘want’ and a ‘need’.   You may want the best inspection camera that money can buy, but do your really need it.   Who doesn’t want a HD Sewer Camera with all the bells and whistles?   But do you really need it?

Wöhler VIS 700 HD-Video Inspection System

You may very well find that a system that fits in your budget or under your target budget will meet the requirements of your pipe inspection activities.

Rigid Pipe Inspection Camera

Rigid inspection cameras are exactly what it sounds like.   The camera probe or push rod is designed with reinforced fiberglass rods that enable you to push the inspection area over a long distance.  Hence the other common name for these inspection devices is ‘push camera’, because you manually push the camera into the inspection area.

Despite excellent imagery, some inspections require additional light sources especially when inspecting pipes with a diameter greater than 8 inches.  Try attaching manufacture approved auxiliary LED lighting to your pipe inspection if you have difficulty viewing the inspection area.

When it comes to the plumbing industry, rigid pipe inspection cameras are required for certain inspections. Unlike flexible inspections cameras these tools aren’t influenced by gravity as much, so plumbers use rigid borescopes to inspect pipes that run overhead.   The flexible borescopes cameras can be compared to pushing a rope through a pipe.

When it comes to the plumbing industry, push camera systems are a popular type of videoscope. This tool consists of a camera mounted to the end of a snake-like cable, which typically measures 100ft to 400ft in length.

Push camera systems are also waterproof and typically fitted with LED lighting, making them ideal for navigating long, twisting pipelines. Some sewer camera systems feature transmitting camera heads as well.   The sewer camera head will transmit a signal inside the below ground pipe and with the use a sewer camera locator you can identify the location above ground.  These devices help plumbers pinpoint the camera system from underground once they discover damage with the inspection camera.

At USA Borescopes, we consider push camera systems to be one of the most valuable tools in the plumbing industry. The benefits of using this type of inspection camera are clear: practically no pipe is out of reach when you have a push camera system.

Semi-Flexible Pipe Inspection Cameras 

A flexible pipe inspection camera, also called a pipe camera, is an inspection camera consisting of push rod that is designed to navigate the bends in 90-degree pipes. These flexible cables allow technicians to easily navigate complicated piping, making them a popular choice for plumbers inspecting bending pipes.  Some pipe inspection professionals refer to the cameras as have the Goldilocks push rod as it is just right.   Not too stiff so that it can go around bends in the pipe but also rigid enough to go the distance required for the inspection.

Two of our most popular systems with a semi-flexible push rod is the MinCord 5 with it’s small 13mm diameter camera head and 15 meter probe.

The other popular pipe inspection camera with semi-flexible push rod is the USAP-12.8-130 flexible push camera.  This system offers a 12mm diameter camera head with 130 feet of working length.

While flexible inspection cameras may not be the most popular tool in the plumbing industry, those looking to conduct a thorough inspection with bends in the pipe will greatly benefit from using this push camera.

Videoscopes

Videoscopes are visual inspection tools consisting of a micro inspection camera mounted at the tip of a flexible cable that sends the image to a color screen.   Typically, the small diameter articulating systems have been used in Aviation and Aerospace industries and not in plumbing.  According to Engineer Live, “They offer maintenance and quality teams the ability to inspect the interior of engines, turbines, pumps, motors, tubing and pipelines without costly disassembly or confined space entry.”

However, with changes in technology this small videoscope cameras are being introduced to the plumbing industry mainly to inspection sink drain and supply lines.    Many professional plumbers have added a low-cost small diameter inspection camera to their arsenal on inspection tools.  This cheap borescope may sound cut-rate but when you measure the return on investment with the time saved as well as the ability to share visual data with your customers, this cheap borescope rapidly becomes a great borescope.

Not only are these borescopes able to navigate complex small pipes like drains with S-Traps and P-Traps, they can also record inspections! Furthermore, many videoscopes are fitted with external light sources and two-way or four-way articulation, making inspections even easier.   The articulation at the tip of the probe allows you to ‘steer’ or ‘maneuver’ the tip of the probe abound bends in the pipes.

The Benefits Of Using A Borescope

Now that you’re familiar with the types of pipe inspection cameras in the plumbing industry, let’s dive into all that they can do for you.

Inspection Cameras Offer Non-Invasive Inspections

Non-invasive pipeline inspections are one of the main benefits of using a inspection cameras in the plumbing industry. These types of inspection cameras fall under the description of non destructive test equipment or remote visual inspection cameras. Pipe inspection cameras allow an in-depth look at pipelines and sewers without having to dismantle any infrastructure.

Without an inspection camera, you may find yourself digging up a sewer line – a feat that will cost time and money. Even worse, each time you dismantle the pipeline, you run the risk of causing further damage.

With a pipe inspection camera, you can safely and efficiently diagnose a troubled pipeline. After diagnosis, you can conduct isolated repairs (and avoid digging up the entire property).

Borescope Inspections Prevent Damage From Snowballing

Stop trouble in its tracks with a pipe inspection camera survey.

Whether you’re conducting a regular inspection or looking to diagnose a damaged pipe, pipe inspection cameras will help you spot minor issues before they become major problems. You’ll save time and money by treating easy-to-fix problems the moment they arise.

So, if you have a pipe inspection camera, put it to use. At USA Borescopes, we recommend frequent, regular inspections to prevent plumbing catastrophes.

Borescope Inspections Boost Your Property Value

Sometimes, the benefits of using an inspection camera are valuable to homeowners, home inspectors, pre-buys and plumbing professionals alike.

For those in the process of selling their home, advertising well-maintained plumbing could give a competitive edge over other sellers. Before putting a home on the market, schedule frequent and thorough sewer and sewer line camera inspections.

Not only will camera inspections bump up property value, it will prevent homeowners from paying more later on should a plumbing emergency occur. According to The Seattle Times, “You want to keep an eye on the condition of your line…The homeowner is responsible for repairs to the sewer line all the way from the house to the city main in the middle of the street.” With this much ground to cover, it’s important to keep the property in check with a pipe inspection camera.

If you’re in the plumbing industry, make it known to your customers that this is another benefit of using your borescope inspection services.   And of course, always take pictures and videos of the pipe inspection to document your findings.

Looking For A Pipe Inspection Camera? Contact Us!

The benefits of using an inspection camera are limitless when you choose the right one. But with so many pipe inspection cameras available, it’s tough to decide what’s best for you. Luckily, USA Borescopes is here to help. If you have questions about plumbing industry borescopes, or any of our other inspection tools, feel free to contact us. Our experienced staff can walk you through your options and help you make the right decision.

Instead of looking for a sewer camera for sale, maybe you just need a borescope for rent or a sewer camera for rent instead of purchasing.   That’s fine, we can help!