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Borescope Cameras – Essential for Leak Detection

A good borescope camera is one of the useful and essential pieces of leak detection equipment that we utilise to help find local water leaks, damp, investigate mould issues in houses and other things when inspecting or surveying properties.

Borescope cameras, sometimes known as endoscope cameras, endoscopy (or even fibrescope cameras), allow you to see in places that she would otherwise not be able to, even in very small or concealed locations within a property. This can be extremely valuable to a leak detection specialist, alongside other equipment.

In this guide we will see what role a good high quality professional borescope camera can provide. And look at how they differ to cheap borescope inspection cameras. Note – it is borescope, not ‘boroscope’ or ‘borascope’ too.

Borescope Camera Guide
Borescope Camera Guide

Borescope Cameras for Leak Detection

We have mentioned previously that doing leak detection we utilise a wide range of devices to help maximise the chances of finding water leaks in properties. these water leak detectors can provide very useful evidence that a water leak is present and importantly, where it is located.

In particular, a borescope inspection camera is often a secondary device to investigate further after primary evidence provided by another piece of leak detection equipment.

Borescope Camera Leak
Borescope Camera Leak in Floor

So for example, let’s say you are looking for a central heating leak because somebody’s boiler is losing pressure – one of many pieces equipment that can be used to help locate such a leak is acoustic water leak detection or thermal imaging leak detection which takes advantage of thermal imaging inspection cameras.

Both of those devices are non-invasive leak detectors that might suggest the possibility of a water leak in a ceiling, leaking a floor or a leak in a wall. However, in most instances, they will not allow you to directly see the water leak. This is where a borescope camera comes in.

Borescope Inspection Camera
Borescope Inspection Camera – Waste Pipe Leak

How Borescope Cameras Work – Functions

Borescope cameras work in many ways like a conventional camera, the difference being that the lens and camera is most commonly:

  • Small – often just a few millimetres across
  • Compact – able to fit into small spaces
  • Extended = from the body of the borescope camera
  • Can be rigid, semi-rigid or flexible inspection cameras
  • Has a short focal length – for seeing close up
  • Even in high definition (HD) – or in HD video
  • Has an LED light source – to light dark spaces up
  • Is often waterproof – or water resistant (important!)
  • May have dual lenses – for different angles
  • Are sometimes articulated – directional camera

So you can see from that useful list how a borescope camera can be very beneficial. Going back to one of our examples earlier, let’s say you suspect a water leak underground or under floorboards but the floor void under is not enough for a crawl space.

By drilling a very small hole in the area (or using one that is already there), you can put your borescope probe in to have a look around for more evidence or to actually see the water leak on many occasions.

Depstech Borescope Camera
Depstech Borescope Camera

This Depstech Borescope camera above is an example of a mid-range camera which is relatively inexpensive but is reasonable quality, has good functionality and is quit well made. A few years ago something of this quality and spec would cost many hundreds of pounds but this, and others, can be purchased for under a hundred pounds often. More on this next. Something like this wireless borescope camera below (without a screen) would be cheaper:

Wireless Borescope Camera
Wireless Borescope Camera

These can work on Bluetooth or WiFi to connect to an Google Android or Apple iOS phone or tablet.

Varieties of Borescope Camera

Like lots of modern technology, now that borescope cameras have been in existence for a number of years not only has the technology greatly improved but they have also become more affordable.

Like many things they vary in price a lot from many hundreds of pounds (even thousands) down to just a few tens of pounds. Clearly, the quality will vary across this price range, like many other things. Do your on research to see which one suits you best and check out other independent customer reviews.

Borescope Camera Water Leak
Borescope Camera Water Leak

The price of a borescope camera will also depend upon its design and form factor. for example, many of the ones we use are higher quality and come with a built in screen or touchscreen, plus have many additional functions.

At the other end of the spectrum, some cheaper cameras maybe wireless borescope inspection cameras, without a screen. Often these connect to your phone or other device, with a supporting app, which can in some instances be quite useful.

One of the additional functions on a borescope camera, which not all varieties have, is a dual or sometimes triple angle camera system. This means that as well as being able to see directly ahead of the borescope camera, you can also see at right angles which as you can imagine can be extremely useful in a confined space when looking for a water leak.

We show some pictures from a borescope camera in our guide to leaking washing machines.

Other Uses of Borescope Inspection Cameras

Borescope cameras are not only used in water leak detection there are other industries that utilise them too, this includes:

  • Borescope cameras for mechanics
  • Borescope cameras for medical purposes
  • Borescope cameras for engineering
  • Borescope cameras for HVAC
  • Plus a variety of other uses

Clearly, although some cameras can be used in a number of situations, there are also specialist borescope inspection cameras for bespoke purposes, such as ours by doctors or surgeons in medical situations – maybe endoscopes keyhole surgery or to look in someone’s ears for example. Clearly, that is a task using specialist clear equipment so don’t try that yourself!

Something that he’s starting to come into development is thermal imaging borescope cameras, which combined the use of a thermal imaging camera and borescope, which is very useful. An example is the Flir VS290 ‘industrial thermal and visual videoscope system’. However, at the moment there are a limited number available and they are more expensive, understandably.

We can help to find a plumbing leak even if your plumber cannot find it – in fact we do a lot of work for local plumbers in York and the surrounding areas.

Borescope Cameras – Top Tip
“Although there are cheap borescope cameras on Amazon and Ebay, they are generally not going to be as good quality as professional, more expensive devices. Plus, inexpensive cameras can be less robust, which is important when you are using them in confined spaces, in contact with tough building materials which could damage less resilient devices”

Leak Detection Team

Speaking of tips, our article showing Christmas water leak tips is useful too. We also discuss cameras in our article explaining how ultrasonic leak detection works.

Borescope Cameras – Skills

Like a lot of the leak detection equipment that our technicians utilise, their knowledge, skills, training and experience are very valuable in getting the best out of such devices. They know what to look for, where to look and what precautions to take.

For example, we mentioned earlier about drilling a hole for a borescope camera. You don’t want to be doing that randomly, accidentally drilling into electric cables or even water pipes causing another water leak! Our qualified leak detection specialists know to take precautions, proceed carefully and use other devices to help with this such as pipe detectors.

Borescope Cameras – Other Useful Information

Here are a few other articles related to this subject that you may find useful to review too:

If you have a water leak in York, or around, contact our friendly local team for help.

Rainbow Restoration Leak Detection
Rainbow Restoration – Leak Detection

What is the difference between borescope and endoscope?

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When looking at the a borescope vs endoscope basically they are used to describe similar things, an endoscope is effectively a borescope. Endoscope cameras tend to be used in things like specialist medical applications whereas borescopes is more of a general term. Consequently, endoscopes are often very highly calibrated, sensitive and designed for a bespoke, specialist purpose. They can be very expensive in comparison to borescopes which are commonly ‘general purpose’ and are used in home inspections, leak detection and by mechanics or in industrial settings which are less sanitary often and need to be rugged.

What should I look for when buying a borescope?

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Like a lot of DIY or Professional tools, especially those which are technological there is a wide range of prices and specs and, in many respects you get what you pay for, but the technology is improving and prices falling in the longer term. That said, when looking to buy a borescope for leak detection, something that is quality (especially picture quality), with a good focal length, screen, light and functions is important for what we do. You need to be see things accurately and precisely.

How much does a borescope cost?

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Borescope cameras vary wildly in price. A cheap device bought online with basic functionality may cost £10 to £20 but is likely to be lower quality and less robust. Importantly, the picture quality will likely be compromised. In comparison, a top-end borescope can cost thousands of pounds. For most people looking for something quality but for day-to-day use a sweet spot is £100 to £300 or so.

When would you use a borescope?

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A borescope camera is most commonly used to inspect visually in confined or hidden places where the human eye or a conventional camera cannot get to such as through holes in walls (like checking a cavity wall) or in floors or ceilings. Their small, flexible, compact form factor coupled with their design are tailored to that situation which means they will likely include a light and have a short focal length which is better for seeing things close up, a bit like a macro camera lens.

At Rainbow Restoration – York & Yorkshire Coast we are local experts in Leak Detection, including business water leaks, so if you need help finding a water leak or getting your property back to normal after a water damage or a flooding, please get in touch with our friendly local team who will be more than happy to help you with this.

We are based in York and help with water leak detection in York.

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Leak Detection Logo