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Homes older than 25 yrs: All homes pre 1975 are more likely to have lateral lines made of materials that break down over time, like Orangeburg, cast iron, clay and fragile lines like concrete. Homes mid 80’s and below can still have concrete or clay pipes based on location. As for 90s and later homes, pipes can be displaced from settling, tree growth, clogged from waste disposal and so on.
Rodents entering home through plumbing: rodents can enter through side sewer lines when brakes or separation are in line; often from tree roots and foliage where burrows may be.
Water Backups: water backup can occur from broken or clogged lines inside sewer. Often from roots and food oils and grease.
Lush Green Patches: Green patches in lawn over top of sewer line area, can indicate waste leaching into soils through broken or separated lines.
Large Trees: Trees depending on root system can displace newer plastic pipes or intrude and restrict older loose joints where roots are drawn to sewer from leaching wastewater.
Ground movement: Settling in improperly compacted ground from new construction can often lead to bellies in lines, along with collapsible soil from excess rain and/or water run off from higher grounds of neighboring properties and depending on location underground wells and springs. (found in rural and island area)
Sewer Scope Video Inspections Guide What and Why?
During most real estate transactions, a common practice is to get a Home Inspection. However, you might not have heard of the sewer scope inspection practice, performed at time of home purchase or sale.
That may bring the question, of what is a sewer video scope inspection? In short, it’s when a technician runs a camera and rod through your side sewers to the sewer main. We monitor the travels via CCTV monitor, checking for damages, obstructions, low spots, and leaks.
While a sewer scope inspection is not required during a real estate transaction, most of the time scoping at time of inspection is best practice. A Sewer Scope will allow one of the most important major systems that are not readily accessible to be viewed. When a sewer scope is performed at the time of a standard home inspection, it allows all found problems to be a negotiable item in the inspection response period.
Sewer scope inspections are also generally not included in the typical home inspection and are an additional inspection item an agent should recommend out of due diligence, and a client should consider ordering as it is a major home system.
More About the Sewer Scope Inspection & Process.
During the time of your sewer scope inspection, a technician will use a camera on a push rod with a length between 150’ to 200’, which is monitored and recorded during the scope as the camera travels along the inside of the pipe. It very important we get clear images to properly diagnose any adverse conditions. At iNK Sewer Inspections we use a high-definition color self-leveling camera, to get the best images in the industry.
Now about accessing the homes sewer lines. Depending on the access available, functional, and correctly directed will help make the decision of point of entry. One of common access points is through a 3” to 4” main vent stacks, if present. One of the benefits of entering through the vent stack, is it allows a full scope of the sewer system from the vent to the sewer main, giving the most comprehensive view of inside main sewer lines and underground main side sewer lines.
This gives the inspector the best chance to find damage since the inspector can view the sewer at the longest active run when possible. The sewer clean-out is typically located in a basement or crawlspace. In some older homes where no cleanout was installed a technician might remove a toilet to access the sewer line. The inspection generally takes about 30 minutes and the entire inspection is typically recorded on the camera. Then, the technician can usually report most the findings after the inspection, yet final calls will be made after review on a larger monitor as to easily identify and concerns.
Here’s a brief list of what your technician will be looking for.
Cracks or imperfections in the line
Blockages or clogs
Low areas in the drain (bellying)
Separation or failure of the line
Type of material used for the line (concrete, clay, etc.)
Failing Conditions of older sewer line materials.
Sewer Inspection Cost Risk Balance
The cost of a sewer scope will depend on a few variables, including local market, the contracted company you hired and cost of resetting a toilet or adding an access if needed. Side sewer inspections range from 300-600 in Skagit and Island County.
This may seem like another added expense when buying a home. Yet a small number when purchasing a home nearing a half million dollars and up. Now the cost of repairing your side sewer drain often is around $1,500 - $2,500 which is comparatively higher than the inspection itself. And becomes a negotiable item at time of home purchase.
New Construction homeowners should consider getting a sewer inspection done as today’s building practices often is about how fast they can complete a job and not the quality of time taken to check installs and care of back fill and compaction. When issues are found on new construction that cost automatically goes to the builder. Check with your lender and agents if they recommend a sewer scope as a good decision for your future property and real estate portfolio.