We advise all of our clients, without question, to have a sewer scope performed as part the home inspection. Why do we recommend this? Sewer line problems are among the most common issues that arise during home inspections. Repairs can cost thousands of dollars. Below we have answered some of the most common questions.
What is a sewerscope?
Sewer scopes are camera inspections of the sewer lines from the house to the connection with the city sewer system. In general, the homeowner is responsible for the maintenance of the sewer pipe from the house to the tap (also known as the connection). The cost of repairing or replacing a sewer line can be high. It is important that you know the current condition before closing.
Why do you need a camera
Sewer lines are underground and cannot be inspected visually. A camera is needed to inspect them. As part of the inspection, accessible drain lines are visually checked. However, once they connect with the sewer lines and go underground, the visual inspection stops and a camera is used.
What are the most common problems?
A sewer line’s purpose is to transport waste water from a home or building into the municipal sewer, or septic tanks in rural properties. Any issue that prevents the sewer line from performing its function is a defect.
We encounter two types of blockages in sewer lines. We encounter blockages caused by foreign objects, such as construction debris, rags, grout and so on. Blockages caused by tree roots. These blockages may reduce the ability of the sewage draining from the home, and can lead to a back-up of sewage into the building or home. Foreign object blockages are most common after a remodel, when tradesmen have washed or flushed down construction debris. This debris will settle in the pipes and must be removed. The growth of tree roots in the sewer system can cause root blockages. Root intrusion is usually caused by a crack in the pipe. No matter what type of blockage, it must be removed by cleaning the sewer pipe. It is recommended that you re-scope after cleaning to check for any damage.
Belly or low spots
The belly is a term used to describe a low point in a sewer pipe. This is a serious problem, as a sewer pipe should be sloped consistently so that the water drains efficiently from the house to the main sewer. The water flow will be slowed by a low point, and solids and other debris can settle in the area and cause clogs. Severe bellys usually need to be repaired, while minor bellies are often maintained by routine cleaning and maintenance.
Cracks and breaks
The name implies that a sewer line crack or break can be caused by damage. Damages can be caused during construction, or with time and wear. The material of the sewer pipe can play a role, but any type is susceptible to damage. Even a hairline is not enough to cause a pipe to stop working, so it’s vital that you know whether there are cracks that could get worse. A large crack or break can cause sewage to leak out into the soil around it. This is a problem and needs to be addressed.
Separations or offsets
A separation or offset in a sewer pipe is more severe than cracks and breaks. It will allow sewage from the pipe to leak into the soil and not the main sewer, as it should. Sewer lines come in sections, which are then joined at the fittings or joints. When the sections of pipe are not properly joined together or they pull apart, separations or offsets can occur. In older pipe installations, root intrusion can also occur at these joints. Repairing separations and/or offsets is always necessary.
What is involved in a repair and what will the cost be?
The extent of a sewer repair depends on the severity, location and size of the damaged sewer line. Sewer line repairs rarely cost less than $1,000 and can range from $2,000 to over $20,000 for a complete line replacement.
Why is sewer line repair so expensive?
The cost of sewer line repairs is due to the difficulty in accessing the area where the repair needs to take place or the difficulties involved with installing the sewer line. Raw materials for a sewer pipe are relatively inexpensive. The majority of costs are incurred by the excavation, trenching, and restoration of hardscaping or landscaping above the repair area. The cost of sewer lines increases when they are 3′-15′ below the soil surface. Newer methods for repairing or replacing sewer pipes, such as pipe bursting and lining, do not require excavation but still cost a lot.
Do I need to install a sewer scope when building a home or installing a new sewer line?
Absolutely. There is less chance of an issue in a new home but still possible construction defects like cracks, belly and even construction debris. A Residential Sewer Scope in Pueblo is the only way to determine the state of a line.