13 Tips for Using a Sewer Inspection Camera

Posted by Spartan Tool on Dec 22, 2022

13 Tips for Using a Sewer Inspection Camera

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A sewer inspection camera is an incredibly useful tool when it comes to plumbing, and one of the most revolutionary ones of the last few decades. With one of these in hand, you can find out all sorts of things you would not have otherwise been able to without a great deal of guess work and trial and error. You can find out in almost no time at all exactly what is clogging up a drain or sewer. That being said, a great tool is best used when used properly. Because of this, Spartan Tool is here to help you out with a list of 13 tips for using sewer inspection cameras.

Tips for Using a Sewer Inspection Camera

Having a top of the line tool for finding whatever it is that is blocking a drain or sewer gives you a significant advantage as a plumbing professional. However, having the tool and having the knowledge on how to make the best use out of it are two entirely different things. Fortunately, the following tips for using a sewer inspection camera should help you be able to go a long way in having several successful sewer and drain cleaning jobs and also have your hardware stay in tip-top shape for several years to come without coming across any serious problems.

1. Never Use Short, Fast Motions

One of the most commonly made mistakes when operating a plumbing camera in a sewer or a drain is to make fast motions in order to be able to get the insertion probe around corners and bends. By doing this, you increase the risk of the sewer camera’s lens getting damaged significantly. What should be done instead of this is for you to move around the drain or sewer pipe in a slow and careful manner. By doing this, you can end up avoiding having a sewer inspection camera that is faulty and needing repairs that would cost you several hundreds of dollars in order to repair.

2. Never Use Force with Your Sewer Camera

Your sewer inspection camera is a semi-delicate piece of technology, not to mention a significant professional investment in your business. While it is meant to be able to stand up to a number of different things that you might find in a sewer or drain, you should still be as gentle and caring with your plumbing camera as you can be. You never want to use force with it in any situation you might find yourself in. By using force to rectify a situation, your pipe camera’s lens as well as its cable can end up getting severely damaged, thus leading to costly repairs as well as downtime that prevents you from profiting from more sewer inspection jobs. Because of this, you want to easily push the insertion probe into the pipe as you conduct your work.

3. Do Not Keep the Sewer Camera Continuously Immersed in Liquid

Despite the fact that a sewer inspection camera is designed to go into a place that is meant for the specific purpose of transporting water from one place to another, that does not mean it is completely immune to water related damage. Regardless of whether it is an open reel sewer camera or a closed reel sewer camera, he tubing for a sewer inspection camera is designed to be waterproof, but you do not want to continuously soak it in any kind of liquid, especially for a prolonged period of time. Additionally, plumbing cameras should be stored in a place that is dry as well as out of direct sunlight when it is not currently in use at a sewer and drain cleaning job. The reason behind this is that if you do not, the continuous exposure to the sun can potentially crack the lens of your sewer camera as well as any supporting adhesive materials.

4. Always Stay Standing Next to the Drain’s Opening

When you are in the process of operating a sewer inspection camera, you want to be certain that you are constantly standing next to the drain that it is exploring. You must also be kneeling beside the drain opening while doing so. By not doing so, you run the risk of the plumbing camera breaking while pushing it into the drain. In addition to that, you also need to be certain that your hand is kept near the drain or sewer opening while you push the insertion probe through. Reeling could cause kink up and possible damage to your sewer camera if you are standing when you insert the tube.

5. Refrain from Subjecting your Sewer Inspection Camera to High Levels of Heat

Another safety consideration you should take when caring for your sewer inspection camera is that you do not want to expose it to any heat that is above 80 degrees C or 176 degrees F. The reason for not wanting to do this is that your sewer camera could end up receiving considerable damage. No plumbing camera is engineered to be able to stand up to overly intense levels of heat. That being said, you should consult with the user manual of your individual unit in order to find out what its specifications for heat resistance are in order to know exactly when you should pull it back for the purposes of protection.

6. Do Not Bend the Tube Ever

You should also refrain from ever bending the tube on a sewer inspection camera. It should never be wound because doing so will damage the plumbing camera’s fiber optics, which will in turn reduce the quality of the image that you get when you are searching for a blockage in drains and sewers. This is quite costly to get repaired. When you are not currently using your sewer inspection camera, you should make sure that you are keeping it in a proper storage case. You will also want to make sure that the insertion tube is completely and safely inside the storage case when you go to close the lid.

7. Always Keep Your Camera Clean

There are a number of different things you can do to extend the life of your sewer camera, but one of the most important ones is keeping it as clean as possible. It helps prevent the build-up of undesirable things such as oil, grease, as well as other types of residues that could cause damage to your plumbing camera’s lens. To do this, you will want to keep a soft rag on hand at all times so that you can wipe down the lens after every time you pull it out from a sewer line or a drain. In addition to this, you will want to keep the lens of the plumbing camera in clean condition.

Furthermore, dirt and fingerprints can end up causing serious degradation to the quality of your sewer inspection camera. In order to clean its optical surface, you can use an isopropyl alcohol solution. You should always make sure to clean off the distal tip glass where the insertion probe of the sewer camera is attached. You will want to wipe off the surface where the sewer inspection camera’s insertion probe has been attached.

8. Avoid Using Harsh Chemicals

When you are cleaning your sewer camera’s lens, you will want to avoid using an oil cleanser to do so. You want to use just a dry cloth to wipe off its head in order to remove any debris and dirt. A soft linen cloth or lens cleaning paper can easily take care of the upkeep of the lens. You never want to use any kind of harsh cleaners or solvents to clean a sewer inspection camera, as this can cause some serious and irreversible damage to the lens. You can also use a blower to blow dust off of the plumbing camera’s lens, but you should always be sure to avoid poking the inside of the camera. This could end up causing damage as well.

9. Do a Simple Equipment Check Before You Start Working

Before you get started on a sewer and drain cleaning job that involves a sewer inspection camera, you will want to be sure that you do some preventative maintenance ahead of time. This means that before you get started, you should do a quick simple equipment check. Some general maintenance items you should check on your plumbing camera parts before each use includes:

  • Damaged power cords
  • Damaged switches
  • Pulled out strain reliefs
  • Missing ground prongs
  • Damaged cable

Should you find any damaged equipment on your sewer camera, you should replace it as quickly as possible. In addition to this, you should also make sure to expose, clean, and lubricate all bearings, bushings, as well as moving parts on a twice yearly basis. Having a clean and properly lubricated sewer inspection camera makes it less likely to experience a break down during a sewer or drain cleaning job.

10. Do Not Use Your Camera as a Tool for Removing a Blockage

One thing you might end up finding yourself tempted to do from time to time is to use your sewer inspection camera to remove a blockage. This is something you want to avoid, as plumbing cameras are designed in a similar fashion to those that are used for everyday things like family photos. By using a sewer camera in such a fashion, you can end up cracking the lens, which as a result will lead to some costly repairs that you do not want to have to be responsible for in any fashion. What you need to remember is that a sewer inspection camera is a diagnostic tool, not a way to actually rectify whatever the problem is.

11. Run a Bit of Water Through the Pipe

From time to time, you might find yourself losing your sense of direction with your sewer inspection camera. It might be difficult to be able to get a firm grasp of what direction your camera is heading in, and wondering if it is going where you need it to go. This is where running a little bit of water through the pipe can come in handy. The water can help you determine the direction of flow, letting you know which way your plumbing camera is heading. It can also help you find lines that tie into the one that you are inspecting. Plus, if you are using a camera that does not have a self-leveling sewer inspection camera head, it can help you in figuring out what part of the pipe is the top, and which is the bottom. This helps you maintain your sense of direction when making turns.

12. Use One Guide at End of Spring for Maximum Efficiency

Placing multiple guides on your sewer inspection camera’s cable can help provide you with a stable, and steady experience while you are traversing the inside of a drain or sewer. However, if you want to have more directional mobility, try placing the guide on the end of the spring. This will allow for you to be able to easily tilt your plumbing camera up and down much easier, allowing for you to see what is going on in a pipe in an upward as well as a downward direction instead of just straight forward and side to side. As a result, this can provide you with a much more comprehensive view of what you are dealing with.

13. Make Sure Your Monitor is Easy to See

Depending on the conditions you are working in on a given sewer and drain cleaning job, you may be outdoors during daylight hours. As a result, you run the risk of the sun shining directly on your monitor’s screen. This can make it considerably more difficult to be able to properly see what your sewer inspection camera is seeing as it makes its way through a drain or sewer. Because of this, you will want to make sure that the monitor is placed in a way where the sunlight will not be pointing directly at it. You will have a much clearer view at what is going on, and you will also make the screen last longer as well.

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