Get A Sewer Line Inspection Before You Buy A House
Most home buyers today wouldn't even think of buying a home today without getting a general home inspection done first. Home inspections are great for discovering potential and current problems with a property before your buy. However, many home inspection companies often overlook performing a sewer line inspection. Not knowing what is going on with the sewer line can be a home buyer's nightmare.
Inspection companies will review a home inspection checklist of items and report on the main elements of a home, such as the roof, structural integrity and framing, electrical set up and the air conditioning unit. A good home inspector will also be able to give you a good idea of the life expectancy of these items as well. While a home inspection will report on plumbing issues inside the home, they may not investigate the underlying cause of problems that arise, which could be related to the sewer line itself.
Do I Really Need To Have My Sewer Pipe Inspected?
Not every home needs a sewer line inspection. However, homes that are 20 years old or older with large trees in the front yard probably should have their sewer line scoped. Replacing or repairing a sewer line can potentially be the most expensive repair you can perform on a home. So, if you are considering the purchase of an older home, you will want to know what condition the sewer line is in before you make a commitment.
Even if you already live in an older home and are getting a 4 point inspection for insurance purposes, it is suggested to inspect the sewer line as well to identify possible issues down the road.
How Expensive Is It To Repair A Sewer Line?
A sewer line inspection is fairly inexpensive, but to actually repair a sewer line is not. When buying a home, do not forget about the sewer line. In fact, for first time home buyers it should be a mandatory item to add to your home inspection checklist.
Sewer line repairs are not typical. They can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to clear out a blockage to tens of thousands of dollars to dig up the yard and replace the pipes. It mainly depends on the cause of any problems and the condition of the pipes.
Tree roots are the primary reason for sewer line problems. They are easy to spot using a sewer line scope and camera. However, they are very difficult to dig up and repair. In many cases, an entire tree must be removed before the pipes can even be repaired. One can imagine the costs involved starting to pile up. This is why getting a sewer line inspection is so critical to your home buying decision.
What Causes A Sewer Line To Break?
Sewer lines can last a lifetime without any problems whatsoever. Unlike pressurized plumbing pipes, their function is actually rather passive. Plumbing lines with a high amount of water flow and pressure are much more likely to break down due to stress on the pipes and joints.
Sewer lines are installed at a slight slope and rely mainly on gravity to move waste water to the main city sewer line. However, that slope becomes useless if there is a blockage.
These are the primary problem when a sewer line gets blocked. Unfortunately for home owners, trees love sewer lines. They are damp and provide a constant source of water and nutrients. If a sewer line has a small opening at a joint or connector, a tree root can often crack it open and force its way through the pipe. At Solid Rock Home Inspections, we can perform an extensive camera scope of your entire sewer line. If any roots have breached the line, we can easily see it.
Low Quality Pipe Material
Older homes often used sewer line pipes that were constructed using clay or cement. These materials are highly susceptible to breakages due to ground shifting and tree roots. Newer homes use high quality and strong plastic sewer lines that are highly resistant to penetration. Our video scope of the sewer line can identify poor pipe material and report any concerns for potential problems in the future.
When sewer lines are not properly installed, they can sink into the ground creating pockets called "bellies" in the pipe where water settles and builds up. Aside from root problems this is a fairly common problem in sewer lines and unfortunately, the fix is very expensive. The pipes must be dug up and rebuilt properly.
Seismic events, sink holes and natural causes can cause even the best laid sewer lines to shift and detach. While our sewer line inspection can easily reveal ground shift problems, fixing the pipe requires the line to be excavated and repositioned accurately.
Like many construction projects, sewer line installation is subject to poor construction techniques. Our sewer line inspection can reveal sharp pipe angles and faulty workmanship in order to spot potential future issues you may have with the line.
Call The Inspection Experts At Solid Rock Home Inspections
If you are buying a new home, a sewer line inspection should definitely be on your inspection checklist. If you would like more information on having a sewer line scoped or would like to schedule an appointment, please call our office at (727) 386-8677 or contact us on our website here. We are here to support the purchase of your new home with a reliable inspection and the advice of trusted professionals. Call us today.