No one would consider buying a new house without a general home inspection. Checking out the structural integrity of your new home before finalizing the home purchase is vital. A sewer inspection, on the other hand, is far rarer. Few buyers think about what is going on underground, but it can be just as important, and carrying out a sewer inspection is an incredibly sensible step to take when buying property.
Indeed, a sewer camera inspection can be a great idea even when you already own your home! Getting a clear picture of the state of your plumbing and sewage networks can avoid big problems further down the line.
Despite being out of sight and out of mind, sewers shouldn’t be treated as an afterthought. A sewer inspection should be a basic element of any home purchase and can also be extremely useful as part of the ongoing management and maintenance of your home.
Reasons to carry out a sewer inspection
If you are buying a house that is over 20 years old, a sewer inspection is a must. Even if the sewer line itself is relatively new (compared with a property that dates back to the 50s, 60s, 70s, or 80s), it only takes around 20 years for tree roots to damage or clog it up. Plant roots and vegetation can enter through the tiniest cracks, grabbing hold of organic waste and debris, and cause blockages, clogs, leaks, and breakages. Some chemicals can kill the roots themselves, but if they’ve damaged the sewer pipe, it will need to be replaced.
If your house was built before the city sewers were created, it might have originally used a cesspool. These should have been destroyed when the public sewer system was put in, but often they were left in place and just linked up to the system.
Similarly, plenty of houses from the 50s were constructed with pipes made from tar paper, which can fall apart over time. If your home relies on tar paper sewer lines, then a complete replacement is vital. The only way to discover how your sewer system is constructed is with a sewer camera inspection.
What to expect during your sewer inspection
Sewer inspections use a video camera attached to a long, flexible tube called a snake, which is inserted into your drains. Your sewer inspection company will maneuver this gadget through the pipes and into the sewer, providing a live feed of the state of your plumbing.
Sewer inspectors will need to investigate your home to find the best access point. As the inspection goes on, any blockages or damages will be marked on the floor, usually with tape.
Your sewer inspection will find out whether your pipes are blocked or clogged in any way, as well as providing an overall impression of the condition of your sewage system. You’ll also be able to discover what sort of system you have in place, what material it was constructed with, and how modern your plumbing is. Some plumbing materials can stand the test of time, but others will require replacement even if they aren’t currently damaged.
How much will a sewer camera inspection cost?
Sewer inspections can be swift, sometimes taking less than ten minutes if there are no problems. However, they are not cheap. A sewer camera inspection usually costs around $300. Obviously, if the inspection reveals a problem or an issue that needs repairing or replacing, the costs can rise. Although seemingly quite expensive, the cost of an inspection is nothing compared to replacing the sewer line, which would be thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars. As a result, identifying and addressing issues before they become serious is money well spent.
How to fix sewer issues
Fixing sewer issues can be a simple task or a major undertaking, depending on the type of issue and its scale.
Tree roots are the most common problem but can be surprisingly easy to take care of, with plumbers able to auger tree roots out of pipes quickly and simply.
If your pipes were installed in poorly constructed trenches, they can ‘settle’ or sink into holes in the ground, distorting the lines and causing buildup and blockages. Settling is easy to identify but requires a lot of work to fix.
Sometimes the ground under your home will move, and even if your pipes were installed perfectly, they could warp or shift. Again, this might require full excavation and repair to fix.
If you are interested in knowing more about sewer inspections or want to schedule an appointment, get in touch with State 48 Drainstoday!