Do I Need A Sewer Scope with my Home Inspection?
Without a functional sewer line, a house really isn’t a house but more like a really nice tent. The sewer line from a house is responsible for taking away all of the water that goes down the drains in the house. Every time you take a shower/bath, flush a toilet, do a load of laundry, or brush your teeth, the sewer line must do its job.
Thankfully, there is some really affordable technology that can give you a look into how the sewer line in your prospective house is performing. This technology is called a Sewer Line Video Scope. The inspection consists of a light and a camera on a long cable reel being pushed through the inside of the sewer pipe to inspect for installation or performance problems between your house and where it meets the city sewer main.
Without going into details that you likely don’t want to think about, problems with sewer lines can be complicated and expensive to repair. Lines can be installed incorrectly and hold water, sections break apart, and materials simply wear out. The cost to repair these problems varies widely but on the upper end can be prohibitive. A line that is deep in the ground or difficult to access can easily cost over $10,000 to repair or replace. With the cost of a sewer line scope being around $125, having one done is almost like an insurance policy of sorts.
FAQs about Sewer Line Scopes:
It’s a new/newer house, do I still need a scope?
Yes. Statistically speaking problems with newer lines are less frequent, but defects are still very common. Improper grading, poor attachment at the main, lines being broken during construction and debris clogging lines are all very common problems that are discovered.
The seller has lived in the house for many years and never had a problem, do I still need a scope?
Yes. Everyone uses a house differently and just because it’s working for the current owner is no guarantee it will work for you. A very common scenario is for a line to be obstructed by some blockage or break but still allowing just enough flow to prevent things from backing up. Once a new set of owners move in and use the system slightly more, things back up and a potentially huge repair needed.
The Home Inspector will find a problem with the sewer line if there is one, right?
No. Home inspectors cannot discover problems with a sewer line that is underground. During the course of a Home Inspection the plumbing fixtures are tested, and if the water goes down the drains in a reasonable amount of time the Home Inspector has no defect to report. A camera scope is the only way to get an idea of the condition of the sewer line leaving the house.