The Importance of Sewer Line Inspection for Homeowners


The linings of sewer lines wear down, clogs form, and damage occurs over time. Problems like these are difficult to see from the surface of your home and take years to develop into something more serious, but once they do, they can tank a home sale.

Many homeowners need help to arrange for a sewer line inspection. This can leave you with costly repair bills and a major headache.

Damaged or Deteriorated Pipes

Most home inspections don’t include checking the sewer line’s condition. This oversight can be a major headache for homeowners later on, especially if the sewer line bursts and floods the interior of their homes.

A sewer line inspection involves feeding a camera into the pipes to look for damage or blockages. A camera can detect various issues, including broken or corroded pipes, root infiltration and snags or jams. It can also spot the location of a cleanout, a capped pipe that gives access to the sewer line for maintenance and cleaning.

Over time, the walls of a sewer pipe will build up with gunk from congealed cooking grease, soap scum, decaying food particles and other contaminants. These can cause the pipes to crack or deteriorate, leading to leaks and blockages. Regularly inspecting your lines can help you keep up with maintenance and replacement schedules.

A faulty sewer line can be extremely expensive, especially if the sewage backs up into your home and damages its interior. This can cause extensive property damage and potentially deadly mold development. If your insurance doesn’t cover the reason for the break or deterioration, you may have to pay for the entire repair bill out of pocket. That’s why a sewer line inspection is important for everyone.

Root Infestation

Tree roots often cause sewer line backups. They can get into the smallest cracks of underground pipes, searching for water and nutrients. Once inside, they can expand and latch onto debris such as paper, grease, or other waste, contributing to a massive clog that requires expensive excavation.

Older cast iron or clay plumbing lines can be particularly susceptible to root invasion. But even newer plumbing lines can develop cracks over time due to aging and ground shifts.

During a sewer scope inspection, professionals look for access points to the main line, like cleanouts, roof vents, or toilet flanges. Once they have access, they push a camera through the entire line length to check its condition. If they discover a problem, they can determine if it is the homeowner’s responsibility to make repairs or the city’s.

A major benefit of a sewer line inspection is that it can reveal problems before they become a crisis. For example, wastewater backing into a home indicates that the sewer line is blocked or damaged. If a homeowner notices this, they can call a plumber for maintenance before the issue becomes severe. This can prevent costly property damage and avoid unnecessarily stressful situations for homeowners.

Untreated Sewage

When the sewage line is damaged, waste can return to the house. This is dangerous for your health and can damage the property. A sewer line inspection can help you prevent problems by finding any issues before they become major problems.

Over time, the walls of your sewer pipes collect gunk and grime. This can include soap scum, grease, food particles, and other debris. This gunk can cause the walls to crack or detach from the pipe, leading to breakages.

Older homes are more likely to have problems with their sewage lines. Metal pipes can corrode over time, and the corrosion can cause leaks and clogs. In addition, older homes often have clay or Orangeburg piping, which can be very susceptible to damage and wear.

A broken or leaking sewer line can be costly to repair. A home inspector can use a sewer scope to see the condition of the sewage line. This can help determine whether the repairs fall within the homeowner’s responsibility or civic jurisdiction.

A sewer line inspection should be a standard part of any homebuying process. A sewer line inspection is inexpensive compared to the cost of a repair, so it’s well worth it. It’s important to schedule the appraisal before closing on a home. Then, if the inspection shows problems, you can negotiate with the seller to lower the price or come up with other solutions.

High Water Bills

Homeowners who have high water bills could have a sewer line problem. A broken sewer line can cause sewage backups, leading to expensive repairs and higher water bills. A video inspection will find any issues with the line that can be fixed, like cracks and clogs. A plumber can also repair any damage and replace broken pipes.

New homeowners should have a sewer line inspection before closing the property. A general home inspector will not check the line’s condition, but a specialist can perform this test at an affordable cost. This add-on inspection can save new homeowners a lot of money in the long run by preventing costly sewer line repair or replacement costs.

Most of the time, tree roots are the cause of blocked sewer lines. They love the water and nutrients sewage provides and often force their way through even the smallest cracks in a pipe. A camera inspection will easily spot these problems; a plumber can augment them cheaply.

Another problem that can be spotted during a video inspection is the presence of a “belly.” A belly is a low point in a sewer pipe that obstructs the flow of waste and sewage. A plumber can remove the belly with a special tool, but it’s much easier to prevent the problem in the first place by scheduling regular maintenance inspections.

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