Whilst drain systems are underground and hidden they should not be ignored. One of severest drainage issues that can affect all types of home is that posed by leaking drains. Over time drains and sewerage systems can degrade leading to structural problems through wall collapse or ingress from plant roots / builders shovels. With the passage of time this will lead to a greater problem which will show itself on the surface with flooding. The homeowner can visually scrutinise most drains fairly easily if there are satisfactory inspection chambers, and if they are not closed off. At this point you should assess the inspection chambers in your property, are they easily accessed or has someone identified a fence panel or small wall across one?
Visual Drain Inspections by the householder
Inspecting your drains only involves raising manhole covers and running water through the drains from the taps inside your home, you should then see the water running through the drainage system. This can be transported out by any able DIY practitioner with care, take care of your back and feet when opening a drain cover and ensuring that nothing falls in, including toys or your tools. Anyone with very old drains systems should note that drains constructed many years ago may not have inspection chambers and your only way of seeing inside the drainage system will be via a small camera.
Look in the chamber, if any of the following cases can be seen then there may be a cause for concern: –
– Tree roots growing in the chamber and any of the linking pipes.
– Stagnant water lying in the drain canal instead of flowing through the system. In particular if you see dark and possibly putrid water then there is almost certainly an obstruction
– Signs of debris in the channel, while this may come from part of the drain up-stream from your location it will indicate the general state of disrepair of the drains
If you have any worries following your drain inspection it may be worth contacting a drain specialist to conduct a thorough CCTV drain survey to prove the true cause of the problem.
CCTV camera surveys are inexpensive
These days small, good quality CCTV cameras are cheap and have enabled the price of a CCTV survey to be within the reach of most homeowners. CCTV drains surveys involve inserting a small-scale CCTV camera into your drain system to identify any problems that are hidden from sight above ground. These surveys can be used as part of a preventive maintenance program or to identify existing problems without needing a hole to be dug. CCTV surveys of drains, pipes, and sewers can also offer an accurate, visual and cost effective means to discover any drains problems, see the source of the problem and help to establish the most economic repair alternatives.
What are the benefits of CCTV Surveys?
A CCTV evaluation can be executed with little fuss and disturbance but they quickly establish the facts. A CCTV survey requires sending a TV camera into your sewer and making a video recording of what it sees. A CCTV survey will not check that drain is watertight or leaky, however it will establish and locate areas of damage or blockage. Critiquing the CCTV survey the drainage engineer will be able to pinpoint the troublesome area without the need for cost exploratory holes in the ground. At this point a repair program can be set up and whilst a hole may need to be dug it will be at the precise location of the trouble thereby minimizing consequent costs and disturbance.
Many commercial enterprises are now using drain surveys as part of a regular maintenance plan. In these cases the survey may not show any problems at all. This is not a bad income and affords the business proprietor the confidence that they will not be facing a surprise bill in time to come. They can also be satisfied that t they will not be contravening any laws should a blockage lead to flooding of their business concessions or contamination of their goods for sale.
CCTV images can also be collected after a repair has been completed. If your drain contractor offers this as part of their service you will be able to see the results of their work and have the confidence of a job well done before you make that final payment.
Pre Home Purchase Surveys
Camera CCTV surveys are not exclusively used for fault finding once a problem is encountered; it is now becoming common practice for aspiring homebuyers to arrange a drain survey ahead of completing the purchase to discover any potential and costly issues. Underground drains may be inconspicuous but they should be looked at as part of the overall purchase appraisally particular if you are purchasing a new property. Drainage systems can be very complex and maintenance work can be cost if it requires excavating areas of land. Recognizing the likely high price of drain repairs, CCTV surveys before house purchase can be cost-effective investments and pay for themselves several times over.