A leak in one of your water lines, drain pipes, or the main sewer line is a serious issue. Leaky plumbing can waste a huge amount of water and cause your water bill to spike. Leaks can also increase the risk of mold and damage your home’s foundation or the structure. Unfortunately, leaks can be tough to spot and go unnoticed for a long time, especially in places like Florida, which tend to have slab foundations rather than crawl spaces or basements.

If a water line or drain pipe leaks inside a wall or between a floor and ceiling, you’ll almost always be able to spot some signs of the leak fairly quickly. With a slab foundation, the majority of the water lines and drain pipes are buried in the ground beneath the concrete slab. This makes it impossible to perform a normal visual inspection to check for leaks and also means that you may not see the same kind of telltale signs of the leak. These issues are why camera inspections can be extremely useful, as the camera will allow a plumber to quickly identify any leaks and pinpoint their exact location.

How Camera Inspections Work

A plumber will perform a camera inspection using a special waterproof camera that displays a live video feed to a monitor. A flexible snake is attached to the camera, allowing the plumber to feed it through any water lines, drain lines, or the main sewer lines. The flexibility enables the plumber to fully inspect the entire plumbing system, even around tight corners and sharp turns. The attached light illuminates the interior of the pipe, allowing the plumber to see everything within the plumbing lines on the monitor.

The plumbers who perform camera inspections are specially trained. They know exactly how to spot all of the telltale signs of a leak. If your plumber suspects that you have an underground slab leak, they may first use other methods to help them identify the approximate location of the leak. This way they won’t need to inspect all of the pipes in the home since they will already know the approximate location of the leak. One option in this situation is to use a special microphone to listen for the sound of drips or running water. A thermal imaging camera is another useful tool. This shows temperature differences and hot or cold spots that are a sure sign of a leak.

When inspecting drain pipes or the sewer line for leaks, the plumber will look for any cracks, holes, or other signs of damage. Using a camera to inspect the sewer line can also help spot problematic tree roots, one of the most common causes of sewer issues. Not only will roots cause the sewer line to leak if they get inside it, but they can also cause toilet paper and other solids to get stuck, clogging the sewer line. This is why having a camera sewer line inspection performed every year or so can also be a great preventative measure that can help you avoid major sewer issues.

The camera can typically see larger water line leaks because the pipe will usually be cracked or have a hole in it. Sometimes, the joints or connections in the water lines can also come loose, and this is also easy to see on the camera. The camera might have a harder time picking up tiny pinpoint leaks, which is why the plumber will check to see if water is moving or flowing through the pipe. When all of the plumbing fixtures in the home are shut off, all of the pipes will be filled with standing water. If the water is flowing through the main water line or any pipes, it’s an obvious sign that there is a leak.

Advantages of Using a Camera to Detect Leaks

We recommend camera inspections and video leak detection over the traditional methods of leak detection. For starters, plumbers will not need to rip up all of the floors and cut through the foundation to inspect all of the water lines and drain pipes. A camera inspection also allows the plumber to quickly identify and locate any leaks. By using video leak detection along with other diagnostic tools like thermal imaging and listening equipment, a plumber can usually find the leak in only an hour or two. On the other hand, traditional leak detection methods might not find a leak for days.


Video leak detection is also extremely precise, enabling the plumber to pinpoint the exact location of the leak. Repairing a slab leak almost always requires cutting out and removing the concrete above the water line or drain pipe that’s leaking. However, the amount of work that needs to be done to access and repair the pipe will be less since the plumber will know exactly where the leak is. Knowing the precise location of the leak and what needs to be done to repair it allows the plumber to provide a much more accurate cost estimate and timescale for the repair.

Finding the Cause of the Leak

Slab leaks and sewer line leaks can occur for a variety of reasons. Tree roots or other obstructions can cause sewer line leaks. However, they’re not the only culprits. Ground shifts can crack or break the sewer lines, too. A slab leak is often the result of corrosion, sediment buildup, abrasion, improper installation, and various other issues. By performing a camera inspection, the plumber will also usually be able to figure out what caused the leak and determine if it’s an isolated issue or a more systemic problem.

Knowing the specific cause and whether or not it’s an isolated issue can help prevent future leaks from developing. If the problem is more systemic and due to an issue like improper installation or your foundation shifting or settling, you’ll want to get the underlying issue fixed at the same time as the leak is repaired. If not, the problem will likely keep recurring and more leaks will develop at some point.

Locating Lost Objects

Camera inspections aren’t just great for finding leaks. They can also be useful for finding lost objects that you dropped down the drain. Accidentally dropping your wedding ring down a sink is a nightmare. Luckily, the ring could still be somewhere in the drain and sewer system. As long as you act quickly and don’t use the sink, a plumber will usually be able to find your ring using the camera and retrieve it for you.

If you need professional leak detection in Navarre, Panama City Beach, or the Panhandle area, Paradise Home Services is ready to help. Our expert team has been helping Florida residents with all of their plumbing needs for over 10 years. We specialize in camera inspections and slab leak repair as well as drain and sewer line repairs. We’re also the area’s most trusted source for air conditioning and heating repairs, maintenance, and installation. For more information on the benefits of video leak detection or to schedule a camera inspection, contact us today.

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