Sewer Inspection and Why It Should Be Done?
What is a sewer inspection?
This is an inspection done by a camera attached to a snake line. The video camera records the state of the sewer, revealing any cracks, tree roots, collapsed lines, clogs and other problems inside the sewer.
When should I get a sewer inspection?
Many people get sewer inspections when they’re serious about buying a new home. It’s a good idea to get a sewer inspection done if your home is showing signs of a sewer backup or if your home has had sewer clogs in the past and you’d like to know how your sewer is doing.
Sewer Repairs Can Be Extremely Expensive
You might wonder, “Do I need a sewer line inspection before buying a house?” The answer is yes. A sewer inspection should be a mandatory part of your house inspection checklist. When considering what inspections to get when buying a house, do not overlook the sewer line. In fact, getting a sewer inspection is one of the most important home inspection tips for first-time buyers. Sewer line inspections are cheap, but sewer repairs can be extremely expensive. Why spend the money on a repair when you could have avoided with a simple inspection?
There’s no such thing as a typical cost for repairing your sewer lines. It can start at a few hundred dollars to snake out a blockage. Or, it could be tens of thousands of dollars to excavate your yard and replace the pipes. The repair bills depend on the sewer line condition, the problem’s location and the root cause.
No pun intended, but speaking of roots, tree roots are the primary cause of blocked sewer lines. Fortunately, roots are easy to find with a closed-circuit television inspection. Unfortunately, they can be very expensive to dig up and clear out. Having the sewer line scoped should be on your house-buying inspection checklist. In fact, you can’t afford not to inspect the sewer line before closing your house purchase deal.
What to Expect During Sewer Inspection
When you hire a professional with the proper equipment to perform your sewer inspection, you can rest easy knowing the job will be done right. The best drain and sewer cleaning technicians follow a specific series of steps to ensure your sewer line is clean and in proper working condition.
- For homeowners that are already living in their house, inspections start with a thorough cleaning and clearing of the sewer mainline. Even if you don’t suspect a blockage, clearing the line prevents any future buildup and makes it easier for the video cable to navigate the pipes.
- The most important step in sewer inspection is the use of a specialized video camera to examine the interior of your main line. The video camera is attached to a long line of tubing which can be fed into the sewer pipes. On the surface, the technician can watch a screen to view exactly what the camera sees in real-time, searching for any signs of blockage or damage.
- After the video inspection, your technician will provide you with a comprehensive report. The recording of your sewer line can also be saved and reviewed at a later date, if need be. Depending on the condition of the main line, repair or replacement solutions can be discussed.
Understanding the condition of a home’s sewer system allows you to make an educated purchase. If the house you’re looking to purchase has significant sewer line problems, it might be more cost-effective to pursue a different listing. At the very least, you’ll either want the current owner to fix the issues before closing or lower their asking price by an appropriate amount.
Here are three reasons why you should schedule a sewer inspection today:
- Repairs are Expensive
Inspections are relatively inexpensive and can be done quickly. On the other hand, sewer line replacements can be very expensive and are often not covered by your insurance because it’s the result of natural wear and tear. In addition to monetary costs, sewer backups can be messy and dangerous – causing flooding and leaking toxic sewer gas. Often, an inspection can detect a problem before it causes irreparable damage. When small leaks and clogs go unfixed, replacement is often eventually required.
- Roots Love Sewer Lines
Tree roots are constantly seeking a good source of water and nutrients, so it’s not surprising that they are attracted to sewer lines. Roots sneak into tiny openings and then expand over time, blocking flow and ultimately causing damage. If left unattended, pipes can be damaged and require excavation to repair. If you have trees or large shrubs anywhere near your sewer line, you should have regular inspections.
- Natural Wear and Tear Happens
Even new sewer systems can spring leaks and get blocked from time-to-time, but older systems have a much higher risk. Older homes may have been constructed prior to modern city sewer systems, relying on cesspools, clay, or tar paper. These old systems erode and collapse over time. If you’re not sure of the type of sewer system your home has and the state it’s in, it’s a good idea to have an inspection.
How to Inspect a Sewer Line
When you are setting up your home inspections before you close on a purchase, simply call a plumbing company and ask if the contractor can use a camera to inspect the sewer. Your real estate agent might be able to refer several companies to you.
The plumbing company will insert a snake attached to a small video camera into the clean-out. The snake will maneuver the camera through the sewer, and you can watch the resulting images on a monitor. Not only will the plumbing company find out if the sewer line is clean or clogged, but the inspection will also disclose the overall condition of the sewer.
Ask the contractor to tell you what kind of material was used to construct the sewer line. Find out whether that type of material is still considered to be good construction today. Sewer lines can be made up of different materials, including Orangeburg, clay, cast iron, and PVC.