Sewer inspection technology has come a long way. Our sewer cameras can go up to 100 feet into the drain system and return a clear, real-time video to the monitor. Furthermore, these cameras come with locating sondes. This means that once we visually identify an issue on the sewer line we can pinpoint the exact location above ground with our locating wand.
There are many things you can visually diagnose with a sewer inspection camera. You can often identify breaks or offsets in the sewer line, root intrusions, foreign objects, and bellies. A belly is a section of the pipe that does not have proper slope (or backfall) and always retains water in the pipe even when there is no stoppage. Being aware of the presence of bellies can give you a heads up for future backups down the road.
One limitation of the camera is that it can only see when the pipe is clear of obstructions. If the line is full of cloudy or muddy water, then visibility is limited. Legacy Plumbing typically needs to unclog the system first before we can positively identify the cause of the backup. If we are unable to clear the clog because the pipe is badly damaged, then we can run the camera down the sewer line until it reaches the clog and will not go any further. We can locate that spot as a starting place.
Some other methods Legacy Plumbing uses to test sewer lines are the hydrostatic test and isolation testing. These unobtrusive procedures allow us to determine unquestionably whether there a leak on the sub-slab sewer piping and pinpoint where that leak is.
This test consists of purposefully capping off the main sewer line where it exits the foundation. Once the only path of escape is blocked, we can fill up the sewer system with water until it reaches the level of the slab foundation.
You can watch the water level for a period of 10 minutes. If the water level starts to drop, it indicates that there is a leak somewhere in the system.
Isolation testing uses the same principles as static testing to locate leaks in sewer lines. Using the inspection camera, you can move the test balloons to different parts of the system to block off sections and test them individually. In this way, you can narrow down the precise pipe fitting that is leaking even if the issue is not able to be discovered by visual inspection only.
Using these tools along with a refined diagnostic methodology, Legacy Plumbing technicians are able to quickly and efficiently pinpoint issues with sewer lines under the slab and under the yard before they are excavated. This saves homeowners time, money, and keeps the disruption of your house and yard to a minimum.