The Importance of A Sewer Line Inspection

One great thing we have been seeing increasingly are both clients and realtors recommending and getting separate sewer line inspections. Typically known as “Scoping the Line”. During a home inspection, we run water at least 10 minutes from every device, but this is still limited and does not find every possible issue. 

The average cost of clean-up and repairs from a sewage back up into your home is about $7.00 per square foot?  A 1500 square foot home can exceed $10,000 and often does.  The average cost for a plumber to clear the clogged line is typically about $250 if it is just a simple clog from an object or tree roots.  What if it is more than that?  Maybe the sewer line collapsed, a pipe has broken, or separated out of position at a joint.  These can become major repairs and typically cost anywhere from $3000-$6000 on average.  If piping needs to be replaced below the home’s slab, bump that price to $7000 and up depending upon the complexity of the project.  

Most folks have no idea the condition of the sewer line when purchasing a home, and sometimes not knowing while living there. The sinks drain, the toilets flush, so it must be good, right?  Maybe, maybe not.  You truly won’t know the condition of the sewer line without having a sewer camera inspection.  These typically cost about $175-$275 depending on access to the sewer line and in most cases, can be completed during the home inspection.  

Who needs a sewer line inspection?  I would argue that maybe everyone needs a sewer line inspection just based on the cost potential for repairs that we discussed earlier in this article.  In reality a great majority of newer homes won’t have any issues but there is no guarantee. (we have had a few with issues, especially flips and remodels) The safe bet would be to recommend a sewer line inspection on any home that is more than 20 years old, especially if there are mature trees in the yard.  I would definitely have one completed on any home more than 40 years old, with or without mature trees.  We have seen inspected sewer lines on older homes like this, and on half found issues that will need to be addressed to prevent a future backup or other problem.  Other items that can be detected with a sewer camera are cracked or broken pipes, settled piping that may hold objects and water, and on a recent inspection, poor planning on a bathroom remodel that resulted in nails being pounded into the main vent pipe that was causing a sewer gas smell in the home.

Have questions?  Give us a call. 480-361-8120 We are always happy to talk to you!

John Tyler

General manager

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