Sewer Line Inspections: Forewarned is Forearmed

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All waste leaving a building’s plumbing system goes through the sewer line, or sewer lateral, that usually runs beneath the yard and ultimately connects with the city main. When something goes wrong with the sewer line, it can be extremely expensive to fix because the yard often needs to be excavated to reach the pipe.

With structures built before 1980, pipes made of clay and tile were generally used for the sewer line that is prone to cracks, breaks, and obstructions because of root interference, poorly connected pipes, and other issues. Therefore, it’s critical that real estate agents and potential property owners know the true condition of a building’s sewer line prior to purchase, and the best way to do this is through having a sewer scope inspection (also known as a sewer line video inspection) done.

Sewer Scope Inspections via video camera in Vancouver WA by TLS Plumbing and Drain

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Why Plumber Camera Inspection is Recommended

Something that many property and homeowners find out the hard way is that they are financially responsible for the sewer line until the point it connects to the city main. In some cases, it’s even necessary to dig below the street itself to fix a problem with a sewer line. If the street must be shut down during repairs, the property owner is stuck with the bill.
The good news is that a sewer scope inspection can spot potential problems before investing in the property is made. When a sewer line video inspection is done, a plumbing company uses digital imagery to get literal pictures of exactly what state the line is in.

The Limitation of Home Sewer Scope Inspections

Many home inspectors have a very simple test for evaluating the integrity of a building’s plumbing system – they flush the toilet. If there aren’t any issues, they indicate that the plumbing system is fine.

The problem is that there can be an issue with the sewer line – such as being partially blocked by a root – where the system can handle a small amount of water but backs up when more water is introduced. The buyer will find this out the hard way the first time they run the washing machine and the shower at the same time in their new home and find sewer water flowing back into the basement. Again, the best way to give a potential buyer the information they need is to have a sewer line video inspection done, a procedure not included in most home inspections.

Professional Sewer Video Inspection

The price of having a sewer scope inspection done varies. Difficult sewer scope inspection jobs that require at least two plumbers, such as when there is the only access to the sewer line through a crawl space or roof vent, are more expensive than easier jobs where there is access through a clean-out. In any event, the information gained from a sewer line video inspection is always a bargain compared to the cost of major plumbing work down the line.
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