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Sewer Pipe Camera Inspections Save Money!

Read on to find out why a sewer line camera inspection can catch problems before they become emergencies and why every home inspection needs a sewer line camera inspection.

Most often sewer backs are a result of a clog caused by a problem in the main sewer line. A drain camera inspection will catch problems before it is too late.

Plumber with Drain Camera, in Alberta
The worst part of homeownership is unplanned expenses

While some home expenses are easy to anticipate, others sneak up on you. Sewer issues can become major expenses before you know there is a problem.

main sewer line problems

A camera inspection down your main sewer line warns you of smaller plumbing issues before they become major repairs! Root intrusions, blockages, and damaged or aging pipes are costly to repair. The sooner you are able to recognize the problem, the more solutions are available. Before purchasing a home or remortgaging, have a camera inspection down your main sewer line.

What is the main sewer line?

While some home expenses are easy to anticipate, others sneak up on you. Sewer issues can become major expenses before you know there is a problem. Learn more about the difference between a sewer and a drain.

main sewer line diagram

A blockage or damage in the main sewer line is usually much more costly to repair than a blockage in a drain pipe within your home. A regular sewer line camera inspection allows you to catch small problems in the sewer line before they become major problems and require repairs.

What is blocking my sewer line?

Most often homeowners discover a problem in the main sewer line when there is sewer blockage or backup. Because the main sewer line can be much larger in diameter than a drainpipe, a blockage indicates there is likely a bigger problem causing the blockage. Your main sewer line is designed to convey human waste and toilet paper. Flushing the wrong things can create clogs, but they are not the only culprits.

flushing the wrong things

Roots intrusions, cracked, bellied, or rusted pipes can also create blockages. Removing the main sewer line blockage may treat the symptom, but may not address the underlying problem.

obstructed sewer pipes

How are roots entering your sewer line?

roots growing in sewer pipe progression

Roots are always in search of oxygen, water, and nutrients (from waste). Sewer lines provide a regular supply of all three. Roots the size of a hair can enter into the smallest crack in a sewer pipe and establish themselves. Before long roots grow and over time act as a net, catching waste and causing a major block. Clearing the roots with an auger or a hydro jet will temporarily restore flow through the sewer line, but over time roots will reestablish within the pipe. Fixing the main sewer line before the crack becomes worse will save the cost of having to clear the pipe (auger or hydro-jet) by properly taking care of the cause of the root invasion (cracked pipe). Repairing the pipe with a pipe liner is less invasive and less expensive than excavation and full sewer pipe replacement. If the crack is caught early, a pipe liner will more likely be an option.

pipe liner

Having a sewer pipe inspection will detect if roots are starting to make a home in your sewer line. Identifying roots in your sewer before they create a clog saves you money. Doing repairs before an emergency arises allows you to address a smaller problem before it becomes a major problem.


Sewer line misalignment is when one pipe in your main sewer line misaligns with the pipe or joint of another pipe.

pipe misalignement

Pipe misalignment can be identified through a sewer line camera inspection. Pipe misalignment is often caused when a pipe joint is not properly sealed. The misalignment can become more severe over time as water leaks from the joint. The pack of soil that holds the pipe in place becomes loose over time as water leaks from the pipe and loosens the earth around the pipe. Over time as the pipe misalignment becomes worse, leaking sewage can attract root growth or cause the pipes to belly.

pipe misalignement and belly progression

Misalignments can cause sewer backups, meaning your sewage flows back into the house instead of reaching the municipal sewer line. Yuck! As a misalignment becomes worse the solutions to fix the issue become bigger and more invasive. Misalignments can be prevented. If you have older pipes that are decaying, a pipe liner is a good option to salvage the pipe before an excavation or pipe replacement is needed.

Pipe Belly

Because sewer lines in Calgary, Edmonton, and RedDeer are buried deep in the ground, pipe bellies are discovered on through camera sewer inspections. A pipe belly is when the main sewer line begins to sag. Typically the cause of the pipe belly is because the soil supporting the pipe is softened, often because of a crack.  

pipe belly in main sewer line

A pipe belly is a very invasive repair requiring excavation and pipe replacement. Discovering a pipe belly during a camera inspection can help save money and avoid greater costs.

● Knowing the repair is required allows you to schedule service and not be at the mercy of a major emergency.

● Pipe bellies create sewer backups that are costly to clean up and require augering to clear the blockage created in the pipe belly. (Repairing the belly will save maintenance costs including augering or the cost of cleanup from a sewer backup.)

● If you are purchasing a new home or refinancing, the cost could be mortgaged into the home.

Aging Pipes

Sewer pipes can collapse or stop holding their round shape over time. This happens as the sewer pipe material begins to break down.

Before the 1970’s sewer pipes were commonly made with clay pipe, Orangeburg pipe, or cast iron. Over time the seals adjoining the pipe can break down or the pipes can wear out.

Clay pipes are prone to cracks and aging seals, leading to root intrusion and leaks.

Orangeburg pipe (or black pipe) was commonly used in Calgary, Edmonton, and Red Deer for a time. Orangeburg pipe, made from wood fiber coated with bitumen is prone to collapse as the pipe integrity breaks down over time.

Cast iron sewer pipes, commonly used before the 1970s, rust and corrode over time. Expected to have a 50-year life cycle, corrode and rust from the inside out. Rusted castiron pipes will more likely create clogs because the interior is not smooth like the modern PVC (plastic) sewer pipe.

Have a sewer line camera inspection before you buy or sell

Schedule a plumbing service to perform a camera inspection before you purchase or sell your home. This will give you an understanding of current or potential issues that could be costly. Many homeowners are unaware of developing issues in their sewer line until a major event results from the problem.

Although older sewer pipes are more likely to have sewer line issues, a sewer-line inspection is recommended for homes of all ages.

When buying a new home, schedule a main sewer line inspection during your home inspection. Typically in Calgary, Edmonton, and Red Deer a home inspection does not include a main sewer line inspection.

Schedule Regular Sewer Camera Inspections

We recommend an annual sewer inspection. In most cases, an annual sewer camera inspection will allow small issues to be detected before they become major issues.

If you live in Edmonton, Red Deer, Calgary or surrounding areas consider joining our club membership, The Gentlemen’s Promise.

In addition to added discounts, you will receive an annual home inspection including a camera down your main sewer line for free.

If you don’t live in our area, consider scheduling an annual home inspection to ensure your drain is healthy with a local, reputable, experienced plumbing company.

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