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The Key Questions To Ask Before Picking the Right Inspection Camera

Updated: Jun 5, 2023

Sewer inspection cameras have led the way for innovation and design in the plumbing inspection industry for the last 30 years.

Sewer Line Cameras

As technology continues to advance and improve, plumbing professionals often use a sewer inspection camera to quickly discover the problem, locate it and repair it. Sewer inspection cameras boast the ability for plumbers to show their customers proof that the job has been completed. This can avoid future issues down the road for both parties.

There are many types of inspection cameras on the market but knowing the type of projects you expect to do will help you choose the right inspection camera for your work.

What is your budget?

Like with any tool, don’t just assume a high price means high quality. Sometimes a product is higher priced because it includes features you don’t need. Sometimes a lower price is hiding the fact that the product is cheaply made with less than sturdy materials.

Purchasing an inspection camera offers you two things. The first is just the ability to see inside the pipes. What’s causing the blockage or the slow run of water. The second is that armed with that information, you can recommend further plumbing jobs like pipe repair, drain cleaning or blockage removal.

Keep these factors in mind when looking for the right Sewer Line Cameras for you.

What kind of pipes are you normally working with?

Having the right equipment to handle the pipes you normally encounter can make your job infinitely easier. Newer homes will probably have PVC pipes but if you are in older residential areas, there is a chance the pipes will be made of clay or cast iron.

Ensuring you have a camera that can handle that harder material without getting damaged is important. Cameras also have plastic skids to help protect the outside of the unit. Understanding what you're working with can dictate what kind of camera and what kind of skid you need to get the job done.

Knowing the size of the pipes you are working with is also important. If your plumbing jobs are normally residential, the pipes are normally 2 to 4 inches. However, if your job is dealing with mainline plumbing, those pipes could be as much as 12 inches. So you need enough camera to handle that size.

Pushrod Length

Buying an inspection camera isn't just about the camera. The cable that the camera head is found on is called the pushrod and the size of the pushrod dictates how your camera can do the job.

A pushrod that is too thick means it will have little flexibility to get around p traps and other difficulties. A pushrod that is too thin means the camera head will “fish tail” and not give you the ability to navigate through the pipes.

Pushrod length is also an important aspect to look at when buying an inspection camera. Even if your average job is only 100 feet normally, buying only a 100 feet of push rod may not be enough. Getting more pushrod length than you need will prevent headaches down the road.

Video Output

The first sewer cameras allowed plumbers to see the footage on grainy CCTV. As technology has improved, more easily viewable options have become available.

Currently, the most popular option with inspection cameras is with a monitor or controller directly on the reel. When looking at that option, make sure the screen gives off a bright and clear image that can be easily seen in sunlight.

The advent of wi-fi technology has become a game changer in the inspection camera business. Instead of needing a camera that comes with its own monitor, some companies offer a wi-fi option that allows the user to have the footage be seen in real time on their phone or tablet.

While there are many sewer inspection cameras on the market, they all have various benefits and capabilities. Some may come with more features than you need. Outlining those important points before you make a purchase will always be beneficial.

Once you have established a budget and understand the details surrounding your line of work, finding a sewer inspection camera can be a simple choice. Before making a purchase, always discuss the camera's capabilities, pushrod sizing and the special features it can offer. When sticking to a budget, it is important to understand common pricing but also inquire about warranty, after-sales support, and estimated maintenance costs to avoid any unexpected added expenses.

And while sewer inspection cameras can seem like a costly investment, considering future jobs and whether this camera will suit your exact needs is important. Having the ability to use the sewer inspection camera on various jobs throughout your career will enable you to reap the rewards of owning such a valuable, innovative tool that can show your customers a job well done.

Contact Hathorn today to learn more about our sewer video inspection equipment and learn why thousands of plumbers use Hathorn daily across Canada, USA and Australia.

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