If you have ever lived in a home with particularly problematic plumbing, then you know how hard it can be to locate and repair tricky leaks and clogs in hard to reach pipes. As with about everything else these days, technology has a solution that helps you locate the exact cause of the clog or leak in a pipe without having to tear the whole plumbing system apart. There are pipe inspection cameras that you can feed into a pipe and see exactly what is going on by viewing the returned picture on a small, often hand-held monitor.
Cost of Equipment
Surely most of you are aware that such technology never seems to come cheap. The same is the case with a top of the line pipe inspection camera with all the necessary equipment to use it. Ready to go kits can cost anywhere from $275 for a simple unit for inspecting up to a six foot section of pipe, to $15,000 units that can be submerged in over 300 feet of pipe. Those can cost $15,000 for just the cable and camera head.
You still have to buy a monitor, locator and accessories to be able to use it. Among the necessary accessories, the most expensive other than the camera and cable, is a locator device. Professional Ridged brand plumbing locators can cost from about $1,300 to $2,200. They some don’t come with the monitor that can cost up to $1,000.
So as you can see, depending on your needs, purchasing the equipment can be extremely expensive and unless you are a plumber that would use it regularly, you probably don’t want to make that type of investment. Luckily, if you only need to use a professional high dollar pipe inspection camera one time or rarely, there are places that will rent one to you, but it will still cost a pretty penny.
We found them online for upwards of about $400 a day. So, knowing the cost to get the job done with a pipe inspection camera, you may wish to revert back to old fashioned methods and do the work necessary to find a leak or blockage in your pipes.
Brands and Types of Pipe Cameras
Probable the most popular brand of equipment used for video pipe surveillance is Rigid. They have ones that range from the inexpensive to ones that cost thousands of dollars. For example, a Rigid SeeSnake Micro Inspection Camera with 9.5mm Camera Head and a 2.4 inch hand held color LCD monitor costs $251.81 and a Rigid color 325 foot system without monitor and accessories costs $14,070.14 online at toolsdirect.com. Rigid also has many systems that cost anywhere in between those two units.
Another popular brand is Rothenberger. They have industrial portable units that cost from about $3,000 to $4,500 at toolsdirect.com. Some of the Rothenberger units have distance counters so you would not need to have a locating device to know how far down the pipe the damaged area is.
Those are the two commonly seen brands. Of the two, the Rothenberger units seem to have more features. With a Rothenberger pipe camera system, the monitor is included normally and again you may not need a locator with one either.
Many of the Rigid pipe camera systems have monitors that are sold separate and you will need an expensive locator device with most of them as well. Both are very capable product lines with outstanding reputations though, so it is hard to say one is really better than the other.
We hope this article has enlightened you as to what is involved in buying, renting and using a pipe inspection camera. As you now know, they are not cheap and may not be for the common do it yourself types, but for plumbers that have to fix leaks and clogs every day, they will prove to be a valuable asset despite their costs. It can be a real benefit to actually see the inside of a pipe.
You will surely see all kinds of stuff that you wouldn’t have a clue about otherwise. You would have the opportunity to see how sediment can build up in pipes and clink to the sides, reducing the pipe’s inside diameter and slowing the flow of water.
Sometimes the problem area can be over a hundred feet into the pipe and a pipe camera is the only way of seeing exactly where it is. Whatever your reason for needing a pipe camera, either by renting or purchasing, they are available to anyone who has the money.