What You Need To Know About Sewer Line Inspections When Buying or Selling a Home

July 16, 2018 | By Joe Brooks

Sewer line inspections are an important part of your entire home inspection and helps to address any unforeseen issues that may impact the sale of a home. For buyers, it can give peace of mind knowing that the plumbing pipes underneath the home are intact or can alert them to any potential problems that may need to be addressed prior to purchasing. For sellers, it provides the opportunity to give a clean bill of health or correct any issues that would complicate the sale of the home.

What is a Sewer Line Inspection?

A plumber typically will perform the sewer line inspection by using a special camera to inspect the entire length of the drain from the home to the city sewer (septic tank if your home is not connected to the city sewer). The camera will look for any blockages, breaks, roots, or offsets throughout the length of the drain line. You will get a full 360° perspective of the drain system. It’s during this process that you’ll discover the age and condition of the sewer line and find out if the sewer line will need any repairs, a complete replacement, or if it’s in good health.

 

What Does It Mean When You Have Roots In Your Drain Line?

When the technician is using their camera to inspect the sewer line, they’ll look to see if you have any tree roots in your drain line. Problems from tree roots range from a hole or crack to a partial collapse of the piping. When roots are present, you should assume a repair is needed, regardless of what you see on an inspection. While roots can be cut and maintained for a period of time, eventually the roots will either crush or collapse the piping. Your technician should provide you with an assessment along with any recommendations. The assessment will help guide your decision in how to proceed if roots are present in the line; it can range from cutting the roots to replacing the line if there is severe damage.

Roots are a major problem for sewer lines | Real Estate Problems

What Does An Offset In Your Line Mean?

An offset is when there is a flat part in the drain line. Water gathers in this offset and can cause drainage problems. An offset typically results from a broken fitting connecting two lengths of pipe. This usually is the result of one of two reasons:

  1. A root intrusion at the joint of the pipe, which can gradually break the fitting.
  2. Improper installation and settling of the pipe, which can stress the pipe at the fittings.

 

Are There Any Factors That Contribute To Drain Problems?

Typically, there are two reasons that you will have drain issues in the home:

  1. An Integrity issue within the piping from age, roots, or offsets.
  2. Improper use of the drains, like putting items such as “flushable” wipes, paper towels, feminine hygiene products, grease, etc. down your drain. While these items may flush, they’re likely to get caught in your drain line. Because many of the city sewer lines are made of cast iron, which has a sandpaper-like surface, it often causes these items to get caught in the piping while draining.

 

Do You Need A Sewer Line Repair or a Replacement?

A sewer line repair can be done to single issue that’s causing backup problems, however if more than one repair is required, you should consider replacing the entire line. In many situations, the cost of two spot repairs can equal or outweigh the cost of replacing the line in its entirety.

 

Blog Content Courtesy of TLC Plumbing

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