Inspection Camera Produces Sharp Images to Aid Pipe Problem Diagnosis

Opticam push cameras help drain cleaner and his customers see the big picture inside pipelines

Inspection Camera Produces Sharp Images to Aid Pipe Problem Diagnosis

Dan Kalscheur, owner of D & D Drain Service in Lodi, Wisconsin, uses an Opticam push camera from Insight Vision to inspect a residential sewer line.

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Dan Kalscheur is always focused on investing in technology that can clinch job sales, increase productivity, enhance customer service, and boost his reputation as an honest contractor who operates with integrity.

That’s where the Opticam push camera from Insight Vision comes in, checking off all those boxes and more for Kalscheur’s company D & D Drain Service, based in Lodi, a small rural town in south-central Wisconsin.

Kalscheur owns two Opticams — one that he bought in 2020 and another purchased two years later. That’s one Opticam each for him and his son, Dylan, who’s been working with his father for four years.

“We use the cameras multiple times a day,” says Kalscheur, who established his company in 2007.

He runs two service trucks: a 2016 Chevrolet 1-ton dually cutaway van with a box body from Utilimaster (a brand owned by The Shyft Group) and a 2021 Freightliner 2500. The Chevrolet truck carries a Water Cannon jetter mounted on a slide-out rail and equipped with a General Pump (3,500 psi at up to 8 gpm) and a 70-gallon water tank and the Freightliner features another Water Cannon jetter with a General pump (3,000 psi at up to 12 gpm) and a 100-gallon water tank.

D & D Drain Service’s work generally centers on cleaning 3- to 6-inch-diameter residential sewer laterals and 12-inch sewer lines that carry manure from barns out to lagoons on dairy farms, Kalscheur says. The company also relies on two RIDGID K9-102 and two K9-204 FlexShaft drain cleaning machines.


The Opticam cameras help the company sell jobs because customers can see visual proof of exactly what’s clogging their pipes.

“They can see what they’re getting for the money they’re spending,” Kalscheur says. “A lot of times, customers will come and look over my shoulder while I camera a line. They’re usually amazed at the technology.”

Kalscheur says the high-resolution, roughly 10 1/2-inch LCD screen allows him and customers to see details inside a pipe.

“It’s a great picture,” he notes. “Some cameras give you an OK picture, but this one is really sharp, which is important because you want to be able to see exactly what you’re looking for. That’s not always the case with cameras.”

Kalscheur used to charge an extra fee for inspecting sewer lines, but too many people didn’t want to spend the extra money. That put him at a disadvantage in terms of diagnosing problems. So now he inspects all lines, typically before and after they’re cleaned. 

“I stopped asking customers if they wanted to pay for it and just made it an automatic part of my service,” he says. “I just don’t want to be guessing about what’s wrong. I adjusted my price accordingly and no one has ever balked at paying the higher price. If customers want a job right so that they don’t have to call you back, it’s worth the extra money to camera a line.”

Always televising lines also provides the company with an insurance policy of sorts because if customers call back in, say, a couple of months because their line is clogged again, Kalscheur can show them before-and-after videos that prove a problem was fixed correctly and that something else must be causing the current problem.


The Opticam camera features a multitude of features, including 200 feet of 0.475-inch-diameter cable; a 1.3-inch, self-leveling color camera head with a stainless steel body and a sapphire lens; a built-in 512 Hz sonde (Kalscheur pairs it with a RIDGID NaviTrack Scout pipe locator); on-screen distance counter; one-touch recording; Wi-Fi streaming capability; and a built-in microphone and speaker. The reel weighs 62 pounds and the monitor/control panel with a case weighs 8 pounds. The reel measures 30 inches long by 16 1/2 inches wide by 32 1/2 inches tall.

Kalscheur also notes that he can download videos onto a memory stick and give it to customers. And the Wi-Fi streaming capability, which links the camera to either an Android or an iOS smartphone, allows him to watch inspections on his phone.

“That comes in handy when I’m putting a camera down into a roof vent and the monitor and reel are on the ground with Dylan,” he explains. “I can watch the inspection on my phone without carrying the entire unit up there. We don’t do that very often, but when we do, that’s a very useful feature.”

The camera head’s modular design also makes for easy swap-outs if it needs a repair. 

Kalscheur says he also likes the unit’s optional battery-power adapter, which enables operation with a Milwaukee Tool M18 battery — a big help when electrical outlets aren’t readily available.

“We just did a job recently at a home that was being remodeled and no power was available,” he says. “So we just grabbed the battery and went to work.”


Overall, the two cameras have been a great investment at roughly $7,500 apiece. The units also help the company generate more revenue because they help forge mutually beneficial working relationships with area plumbers who don’t do drain cleaning.

“I get a lot of referrals from plumbers that don’t like drain work,” Kalscheur says. “And if we find broken pipes, which we don’t fix, we refer work back to them.”

The cameras also amp up productivity because Kalscheur doesn’t waste time trying to figure out what’s clogging a line, which enables him and his son to do more jobs per week.

“They’ve been a good investment, for sure,” Kalscheur says. “When you stop and think about all the sewer jobs we do in a year, those cameras make us a lot of money.”


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