If you’ve ever had to dig up your yard and replace a sewer line, you know how expensive it can be. The national average cost to replace a sewer main was $8,000 just a few years ago – and we all know parts and labor have been going up through Covid, so I expect that number is even higher now. Depending on how far your house is set back from the city main or septic tank, that price may go up or down. Other factors are known to double the cost: such as whether the pipe runs underneath sidewalks, driveways, or other structures. Even if your lines don’t need to be replaced, the cost to repair or properly remove tree roots is still a significant investment. When you are buying a new home, the last thing you want is to be surprised with huge repair bills.
We have your back! Our team is trained and certified to inspect sewer lines with a sewer scope that includes photos and videos – so you know exactly what is found in your next home’s pipes. Your home inspection includes a visual examination of the exterior portion of visible drain pipes at each sink – but that’s just a few inches. A sewer scope inspects the inside of the lateral sewer main line from the cleanout (typically near the foundation) to the street or septic tank. It looks for what type of pipe was used – because every pipe material has a limited life expectancy. Most of the materials used prior to ABS and PVC are already beyond their life expectancy. It looks for breaks in the line, clogs, bellies, tree root infiltration, delamination, and other defects in the line. Any one of those problems needs to be fixed, and the seller is responsible to inform you of any problems they know of. But here's where the problem comes in:
The seller may not know of any problems that will dramatically affect you in the future. For instance – a single person living in a house will not put much demand on a sewer line. But a family of four will take four times as many showers, and probably far more baths. They will run the dishwasher four times more, they will wash four times as many clothes, drain four times as much down the sinks and toilets. That water really adds up. When a partial clog exists, the drain pipes can buffer water and allow it to slowly drain. But when a family of four multiplies the demand on a sewer line, there is no room for buffering. That waste water which can no longer slowly drain out will back up into the lowest drain – your basement, tub, or dishwasher. Water damage is expensive to repair, and even more expensive when human waste products are involved. So, we always recommend a sewer scope with home purchases, as well as for those who want to prevent catastrophic backups into their home.
I have heard people say they do not need a sewer scope for a variety of reasons, and that is their choice. But I would like to dispel some myths so that you can make the best decision for your family.
The only way to know for sure what condition your pipes are in is to have a sewer scope performed for you, by your independent inspector. Make sure problems are corrected before you are the one footing the bill.
Too Long, Didn't Read Version: Sewer pipes are an essential part of everyday life in a home, so you need to know if yours is on the verge of failing. We offer a video sewer scope with a discounted price when bundled with your home inspection to save you time and money, and so you don’t have to wait on a plumber’s schedule.
-Marshall Tramp, CPI, RMP
📋 Like what we offered you today? When you are ready to buy, sell, have an annual maintenance checklist, or other services – use our easy online scheduler to get a quote and reserve your inspection time!
💡 Don't forget to download your copy of The Safe Home Book and call, text, or email us today!
⚠️ Read this disclaimer and check out other articles provided by your Top Notch home inspector to learn about your home!