Fixing my leaking shower

How to Look at Sewer Pipe Drainage Issues With a Homemade Sewer Camera

by Andy Butler

If you are having drainage issues in your home or commercial property, you can hire a drain excavation expert to help you set up better storm drainage methods, to unblock sewers, or to reroute existing plumbing lines. Ultimately, what a drainage excavation expert decides to do depends on the nature of your issue.

However, if you believe your drainage issues stem from a blockage in your sewer system, you may want to check that out on your own first. Luckily, it's relatively easy to make a camera that can see into your drains. Here's what you need to do.

1. Find a waterproof night vision camera

If you hire a drainage expert, they are likely to have a professional-grade sewer camera that can show you exactly what's going on in your sewer lines. However, if you want to avoid paying their fees, you can do a little preliminary research on your own.

First, you need a small waterproof camera that can see in the dark. Make sure you choose a camera that can focus close up and look for one with a long cord that can snake out of the drain and back to your receiver.

2. Create a flexible line to snake into the sewer

So that you can snake your camera into your sewer lines or whatever other pipes are giving you issues, you need a flexible line. This line needs to be stiff enough to efficiently go deep into the drain without breaking, but it needs to be flexible enough to make turns in the pipes.

You can use PEX tubing or fishing tape. Look for line that is hollow so you can run the cords for your camera through it.

3. Hook your camera up to a receiver

If you decide to choose a fishing camera, you don't have to worry about hooking your drain camera up to a receiver as these cameras come with a monitor attached to them. However, if you use any regular type of underwater or night vision surveillance camera, you will need a receiver.

Any small old TV with video inputs works fine. If your camera does not feature AV cables that can be hooked directly to a TV, you need a converter that can take the USB plug from your video camera, receive the signal and then release it through AV cords which can be put into your computer.

4. Test it out

Once you have built your sewer camera, make sure it is secure, and slowly snake the line into your pipes. The picture on the monitor or TV will show you if you have tree roots, clogs or other issues. Once you have an idea what is going on, you can start to make decisions about how to resolve your drainage issue. Contact a professional, such as Minpex Drainage, for more advice or information.