Inspection cameras are an important part of any drain cleaning contractor’s equipment arsenal. These units provide the contractor and their customer a first-hand look at what is going on in the plumbing system.
The camera systems provide a clear picture of problems whether it be roots, grease, the dreaded flushable wipe or other potential clogs. Armed with this information, the contractor can properly combat the issue at hand.
Ranging in price from $2,000 to $15,000 depending on manufacturer, length of the reel and additional equipment, most drain cleaning contractors might have one or two cameras on a truck. Just like with any other piece of equipment, downtime means you are not earning money. The best way to avoid this costly downtime is proper care and handling of the equipment.
Pipe Cleaning PRO reached out MyTana LLC, a manufacturer of drain inspection systems for 1.5- to 12-in. systems to offer up some basic tips on caring for maintaining inspection cameras. It should be noted that it is best to follow your own equipment manufacturer’s instructions for equipment use and care.
- Don’t use a camera to clear blockages. This can result in a buckled, kinked or broken pushrod, or damaged camera head.
- Never use the camera to go through any kind of “traps” unless it is specifically designed for this application (as with MyTana’s DrainTracker mini-cam). Even if a trap seems large enough, due to the tight turns involved, the camera could become lodged and incur damage.
- Always use a poly cover (such as MyTana’s IceBall camera guides); the covers are integral to the functionality and protection of the camera head. There are rounded styles to help jump offsets you may encounter in larger lines.
- At the end of the job, remove and clean the fittings for all guides and centering devices, then place one back on the camera to protect the threads and the camera head during transport.
- Don’t use a camera in the same line as a cable machine or jetter, to protect both the push rod and camera head.
- If the camera system (not in use) is sitting near where you are cleaning the line, be sure to keep it out of the “spray” of cable machines and jetters. Inspection systems’ control panels are usually water resistant, but not waterproof.
- Never use wet or dirty gloves when operating the controls. This can get dirt and grit into the buttons and cause them to not function properly.
- When pulling the camera out of the line, wipe the pushrod down with a cleaning solution on a rag.
- Adjust the tension knob for best rotation of the reel to allow easy and proper stacking of the push rod in the reel and to avoid kinking of the pushrod.
- At the end of the day, check the camera head for damage and signs of water ingress.
- Cleanouts and entrances can be sharp; cover sharp edges with a rag or use a guide to avoid cuts to the pushrod. [see picture for example of one of these protective guides]
- Keep the camera head attached to the pushrod at all times to avoid accidental damage to the connection components. Before you start a job, check that the connection is snug. Hand-tighten only if needed, but don’t over-tighten. Don’t use any kind of tools on connections.
- If it’s an option, consider running water to reduce pushrod friction as you push the camera through a pipe.