How to Use a Drain Camera

If you’re a homeowner or in the plumbing business, it’s crucial to understand how to use a drain camera.

By utilizing drain camera inspection equipment, you can ensure that your underground drains are functioning properly.

Routine inspections can prevent sewage backups and flooding in your basement, home, or yard

how to use a drain camera
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How to Use a Drain Camera

Let’s go over how to inspect pipes with a drain camera.

First, turn on your camera and make sure that you have your SD card, USB drive or whatever other way your going to record (or take images) hooked up properly. Test it before putting the camera down your pipes.

Second, once you can be sure that your camera is recording and playback is working, make sure the LED lights are functioning and the picture is clear on your monitor.

Third, uncoil some of the cable and insert the camera into your drain. Very slowly, feed the camera and cable down your drains while you record. If your camera only takes pictures, then your goal is to take a picture of any issues you might see.

Fourth, once you’ve reached the end of your pipes, you can turn off your camera and reel it back in.

If you find a clog, debris, or some roots, it may a simple fix with a drain auger you can buy online. Most residential drain augers are about 25 feet long. If the clog or problem is deeper than that, you will need to call in a plumber to fix the issue.

How to Maintain Your Drain Camera

As you reel in your camera, hose off the cable as you bring it in. This removes any large gunk on it. We also like to spray the cable with bleach and then rinse it as we reel in it.

If it’s really sunny outside, you probably won’t be able to see your recording screen. You’ll have to record the pipe inspection and view it indoors, on a large screen.

Pro Tips on Using Your Drain Camera Properly

Going slowly means that you will be able to properly identify any issues in your pipes for repair or maintenance. If you go too fast while scoping a sewer line, you could miss something important that might lead to a drainage emergency.

Transmitters and locators are the golden goose for drain camera options. Having a locator on your camera means you will know exactly where the issues are in your pipes. No more costly guesswork.

Be careful when you reach turns and bends in your pipes. Most cables should never be fed through 90 degree or greater bends, or you risk snapping your cable. And that’s an expensive fix you don’t want to deal with.

How Do Drain Cameras Work?

Using a drain camera isn’t rocket science. First, let’s talk about how a drain camera works before learning how to use a drain inspection camera.

Drain camera’s are small cameras attached onto the end of a durable yet flexible cable. They comes with anywhere from 6 to 12 LED lights to light up the inside of your pipes during your inspection. Some camera’s come with a self-leveling feature that keeps them level while it travels through your pipes.

Some cameras come equipped with guards to keep them from getting damages during your inspection.

Cables are typically 50 to 200 feet long. This is to ensure that the cable and camera can reach all the way through your sewer pipes. Nothing worse than finding out your sewer camera cable is too short to get the job done.

How do I choose the right drain camera for my needs?

When selecting a drain camera, consider factors such as cable length, camera resolution, lighting, self-leveling capabilities and durability. If you plan on using it frequently, investing in a high-quality, professional-grade camera may be worthwhile. Read out detailed post on the Best Drain Camera for all the info your need.

What is Drain Camera Inspection?

Drain camera inspection is a valuable tool that helps you to detect any issues within your pipes before they turn into significant and expensive repair problems. In essence, a drain camera works by inserting a long cable equipped with a camera into your drain pipe, which transmits a live video feed to a monitor. This video feed provides a clear picture of the inside of your pipes, allowing you to detect any anomalies that might be present.

To properly utilize drain camera inspection, you need to know what to look for when examining the video feed. Some of the things to look out for include clogs, breaks, roots, sagging pipes, or cracks. Detecting any one of these issues early on can save you a great deal of money in repair costs down the line.

So, if you want to avoid costly repairs and keep your plumbing system in top shape, regular drain camera inspections are a must. Don’t wait until it’s too late to take action – invest in this invaluable tool today!

Should I Inspect my Drains? Is buying a Drain Camera Worth it?

As a homeowner, it’s important to keep an eye on your plumbing system and a drain camera can be a helpful tool. Fortunately, drain cameras are affordable and can save you money in the long run by catching issues early on. Regular inspections can easily be done by yourself, without needing to hire a plumber.

If you’re in the process of purchasing a home, a drain inspection is a must. It can uncover any costly issues that may exist, giving you the opportunity to address them before making a major investment.

Additionally, if the inspection reveals neglectful maintenance by the seller, it may be wise to look into other systems like electrical and plumbing before proceeding with an offer. Don’t underestimate the value of a thorough inspection before making a big decision.

Why You Should Inspect Your Drains Regularly

Regular inspections using a camera can help prevent costly and damaging sewer backups and flooding in your home, basement or yard. By catching potential issues early, you can avoid emergency repairs that can cost thousands of dollars.

Additionally, sewer backups and flooding are often not covered by home insurance, making it even more important to take preventative measures. A drain camera allows you to see inside your pipes and identify any issues that may be developing, such as clogs, cracks, or damage from tree roots.

This information can then be used to make informed decisions about maintenance and repairs, potentially saving you time, money, and hassle in the long run.

How to Know You’ve got a Good Drain Camera

The best drain camera is fairly simple to use and will come with some neat features like high resolution video, a decent sized monitor display, LED lights, and a self levelling camera. 

For even more high end features, you have to move into the higher level professional cameras that a plumber or large industrial company might own. 

Drain Camera Inspection: How much does it Cost to Camera a Drain?

Are you wondering how much it costs to get an inspection? You might be surprised to know that the lowest price you can find online from a professional is about $100. However, this price can vary based on your location and local market rates.

On average, you can expect to pay around $600 for a drain inspection. That’s a pretty penny, considering you could buy a decent mid-range drain camera and do the inspection yourself.


Using a drain camera to inspect your pipes is an effective way to prevent costly plumbing emergencies and keep your drains flowing smoothly. With the right equipment and technique, you can easily identify any issues that may be lurking in your pipes and take proactive measures to address them.

Regular inspections can save you thousands of dollars in repairs and give you peace of mind knowing that your plumbing system is functioning properly. So take the time to learn how to use a sewer camera and start protecting your home or business today.


Why should I use a drain camera?

Using a camera can help you prevent costly plumbing emergencies, as you can identify and address issues before they become serious. It can also help you avoid unnecessary digging and damage to your property, as you can pinpoint the exact location of any problems within your pipes.

Can I use a drain camera myself or do I need to hire a professional?

While it is possible to use a camera yourself, it may be wise to hire a professional plumber if you are unsure or inexperienced. They can provide expert advice, pinpoint any issues and ensure that the camera is used correctly.

Can a drain camera locate the source of a blockage?

Yes, many cameras come equipped with transmitters and locators that can pinpoint the exact location of a blockage or other issue within your pipes.