Schedule a Sewer Scope Inspection as part of your Home inspection
When searching for the perfect home, you’ll want to make sure there are no surprises that could cost money and cause headaches once you’ve settled in. One of the more unpleasant moments new homeowners encounter is the sight of water backing up into their home or the smell of raw sewage due to a clogged sewer line. Even more troubling can be a significant rise in your water and sewer bills when mainline leaks are present.
During your home inspection, find out if your home inspector performs “sewer scopes” of the main sewer line in addition to a complete visual foundation-to-roof home inspection. This valuable service, performed by companies such as A-Pro Home Inspection, can identify trouble before you sign on the dotted line. Many home-shoppers have found that hiring one company to perform the standard home inspection plus the sewer line inspection saves them time and money.
Sewer scope inspections are not typically included in a typical home inspection and are usually ordered separately. Some professionals recommend doing a sewer scope inspection on a home 25 years or older. However, some real estate agents argue that they should always be performed as part of the home inspection process.
Josh Goldstein, Licensed Real Estate Agent
” As an agent, I ALWAYS recommend my clients get a sewer inspection. It’s important to make sure the pipes are clear of any roots or blockages, and also to make sure the pipe isn’t cracked or separated as that can be a very expensive problem. This inspection is relatively inexpensive and can be done very quickly, so there’s no reason you shouldn’t have this done before moving forward with your purchase.”
Before 1984, many homes constructed used clay sewer pipes, which are easily broken, crushed, and or separated. A sewer scope inspection may also be helpful if water is backing up inside the home or in the crawlspace. Another cause for concern is if there are large trees in the yard near the sewer line which can cause the ground to shift or settle unevenly.
What is a sewer scope? During a sewer scope inspection, the certified home inspector will insert a small video camera into the sewer line through the sewer cleanout (in the basement, crawlspace, etc.) to check on the length of pipe that can be accessed by the camera—ideally, all the way to the city mainline. The scope provides visual evidence of the sewer line’s condition and whether it needs to be cleaned, repaired, unclogged, or, in worst-case scenarios, replaced. Your home inspector will mark the ground above the problem areas. In some cases, clients will receive a DVD of the inspection.
What problems will a sewer scope inspection reveal? Most commonly, tree roots are literally at the root of a blocked and damaged sewer line. Even a slightly leaky sewer pipe will draw the attention of roots that are seeking moisture. The invasive roots of large nearby trees can enter a pipe through holes and gaps. Over time, they can tangle themselves into a twisted obstruction inside the line. Left unchecked, tree roots can lead to a complete collapse of the sewer line. The home inspector’s sewer scope report will note the extent of the problem and how many feet the roots appear from the access point.
The sewer scope inspection may also show large and hairline cracks, holes, pipe separation, pooling water, sagging caused by shifting soil (known as a “belly,” which often holds water or debris), as well as heavy grease buildup, and corrosion deposits (scaling) in cast-iron pipes.
If problems are discovered, the home inspector will recommend an appropriate course of action, such as root cleaning, descaling, hydro-jetting, repair, or replacement. These procedures should be followed by a re-inspection. Your home inspector will also advise you on steps to maintain the sewer line’s proper function.
Inspecting a home’s sewer line is extremely important and just one part of A-Pro’s home inspection services.