One of the most commonly ignored – yet most important – parts of inspecting a home that you’re interested in purchasing is a sewer scope inspection. We offer Sewer Scope Inspections as an ancillary service to our standard home inspection. Adding this service at the time of your inspection can save you real money. Getting a sewer scope inspection can help you avoid investing in a home that has serious issues with the sewer/septic system.
The entire process of having a sewer scope inspection performed usually takes no more than an hour, altogether. A trained, professional inspector will run a specialized, flexible borescope camera, which feeds images and video to a monitor. Then, this camera is run through your home’s drainpipe or clean out, down the sewer lateral line, to examine the sewer lines and other underground pipes for any flaws, imperfections, or serious problems.
After this, your inspector will tell you about their findings, and issue a report with pictures and videos, that’s given both to you and the home seller, with information about the condition of the sewer line.
What signs may indicate that you must get a sewer scope inspection before making an offer on a house. Here is a short list of some of the most common signs that something may be wrong with the sewer system, or that it’s at risk of being damaged.
Even if you don’t see any of these above issues, we would still recommend a sewer scope inspection. More minor issues with the sewer line may have few or no symptoms at all – but may still cost thousands to repair.
Wondering what to look for during the inspection? You’ll typically watch the video feed throughout the process. You and your inspector will be looking for:
Your inspector will walk you through the entire process, and help you understand what you’re seeing. If no issues are detected, great! If there are some minor problems, you may be able to negotiate a better price on the home, or at least plan for the repair in your home budget during the next few years. Finally, if there is a major issue, you likely will be able to walk away from the sale, require the homeowner to make the repair themselves, or get them to reduce the cost of the property accordingly.
HOW ABOUT NEW HOME CONSTRUCTION?
Even with Homes Newly Constructed, a vitally important area to include in your due diligence is inspection of the sewer lines, yes, even in new construction. Why? A number of reasons.
During the construction process, a number of issues can affect the condition of the main sewer lateral line that eventually connects to the city main. One recent example of the malfunctioning of a brand new main sewer line is that in the course of filling in the trench, the installers had compacted the dirt above the new pipes to the point that they managed to shear off the pipe where it connected to the city lines. The sewage had been seeping directly into the ground on the property!
In addition, it is not uncommon for our inspectors to find debris of all kinds in the sewer line, everything from bits of drywall, broken up concrete, toys, plastic water bottles to actual plumbing fittings. While we do not think this is done on purpose by construction workers, but unfortunately it does happen on occasion.
Another common practice on new builds, is to rinse drywall mud into the sewer lines during construction. The problem is that since the mud is rather thick, it can stick to the inside of the pipes which then catches other debris thus creating blockages in time. This is why better construction companies include hydro-jetting the lines at the end of the job to prevent this exact problem. You may want to inquire of your builder regarding this provision.
There is no better way to discover the true condition of the sewer lines than to get a camera inspection done by unbiased, qualified, professionals BEFORE you purchase the property. These are among the reasons why we recommend sewer line camera inspections for both commercial and residential properties of both older and new homes.
NOTE: Your builder may offer coverage for correction if issues develop within the first year of the “Fit and Finish Warranty,” however discovery of issues at the beginning can be immediately submitted to the builder for early correction, avoiding frustrating problems and greater complications down the line, or perhaps discovering sewer line issues after the first year warranty has expired, as some sewer line problems are exacerbated over time or can develop more slowly than others.
For the above reasons, we recommend this ancillary inspection service even with new homes. These inspections are relatively inexpensive but the cost of remedying the problems caused by improperly constructed or blocked sewer lines can be astronomical! Not to mention the peace of mind that can be attributed to taking pro-active measures in your new home inspection process