There are two very different types of drain CCTV surveys and inspections:
The first, which is often referred to as an inspection, is to locate and diagnose a specific blockage inside a drain, usually a foul sewer pipe on your property.
The second, known as a survey, is to map out all the drains on your property so you know which ones are your responsibility and which ones belong to your neighbour or the local utility provider. This type of survey is also called a “Home Buyers Drain Survey”, it will also contain detailed information about the condition of the pipework.
If your home is experiencing persistent drain issues, such as blockages, waste draining away very slowly or unpleasant smells backing into the property, it’s often a good idea to instruct a professional company to carry out a CCTV drain inspection.
But how much does this cost and what other options are there?
Years ago, prior to the mass production of miniature cameras, a simple CCTV survey or inspection of a domestic drain would cost many hundreds of pounds.
Fortunately, technology has moved forward and CCTV camera systems are now far cheaper than they once were.
How Much Do You Think a Drain CCTV Inspection Will Cost?
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Do You Always Need a CCTV Inspection?
If the blockage or issue appears to a be a one-off incident, you could instruct a drain jetting firm to blast the blockage away.
There’s a good chance that this will resolve the problem.
When Should I Get a Full CCTV Report?
- When your home is experiencing persistent blockages despite previous attempts to fix the issue. A full report not usually required for a one-off blockage.
- If you suspect the blockage is being caused by an adjoining drain, perhaps by a negligent neighbour disposing of items incorrectly.
- If you want to map the route of the drain as you’re planning an extension or other similar projects.
- If you suspect a broken pipe and want to know its exact location so you can arrange a repair.
- If you want to re-line the pipe but need to know how long the pipe is.
Average CCTV Drain Inspection Cost
We contacted ten drain companies in the south of the UK and asked them to provide us with a price for inspecting a domestic drain that’s blocked with a camera.
The chart below provides you with an indication of how much you’ll pay.
Don’t forget; this is just for the inspection, it doesn’t include any remedial work:
The highest figure was £165 and this was from a specialist firm in London.
All other prices were somewhere between those two figures with the average price coming in at £95.
What About Detailed Survey Costs?
As previously stated, a full survey with mapping of the drains involves much more than locating a single blockage, you can expect the following:
- a condition report for all the drains on your property.
- a map of all the drains.
- you may also get still images and video footage.
The average cost for a small terraced home came in at £200 and for a detached 4-bed property was just below £350.
The Devil is in the Detail
When probed, most of the firms we contacted provided us with details of the specifics, the “small print” if you will.
Almost all of the prices we received for blockage identification included up to one hour of drain inspection time with additional charges per hour or per half hour.
We’ve included VAT in the prices shown above, even though one firm quoted us a price excluding VAT, which we felt was a bit sneaky.
All of the prices were for daytime and midweek callouts. We didn’t ask about weekend or evening callouts, we can only assume that these will cost more.
What Are The Three Most Common Causes of Drain Blockages?
When a drain blockage is discovered, it’s usually the result of one of these:
- A general buildup of waste, perhaps including sanitary waste or oils that shouldn’t be in the drain.
- A collapse of the drainpipe at a specific location.
- A cracked drainpipe.
Cause #1 – General Buildup of Waste
Foul water from toilets, showers, kitchen sinks and washing machines etc is sent into the same drain, this waste should then travel directly to the water treatment centre.
Unfortunately, blockages may occasionally occur within the boundary of your property, these are often the result of:
- oils and fat being poured down the kitchen sink.
- nappies, tampons and similar personal hygiene items being flushed down the toilet.
- the wrong type of loo paper being used, it should be of a certain type so it degrades quickly and doesn’t block the pipe network.
In almost all cases, a powerful jet of water should be sufficient to clear the blockage.
Cause #2 – Pipe Collapse
Pipes underground do occasionally collapse, perhaps due to age, nearby building work or heavy vehicles being driven on the ground above.
In most cases, the ground is excavated and the section of damaged pipe is removed and replaced. A reinforcement can then be placed on top of the new pipe for protection if required.
Cause #3 – Pipe Cracking
Cracks and splits are commonly found on older pipes, this can lead to roots, dirt and mud etc entering the pipe and causing a blockage.
Even after jetting the pipe, the blockage can reappear again in the near future.
The best option for this type of blockage is to re-line the pipe. Re-lining isn’t cheap but can be accomplished without the need for costly excavation work so is more affordable than digging out and replacing an entire pipe.
How Long Does it Take to Complete a Typical Drain CCTV Inspection?
In most cases, a typical blockage can be detected in less than 45 minutes. More complex problems will require a full survey and detailed report which can take several hours.
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