Sewer Scope Inspections and Why Buyers Should Get Them
When it comes to a real estate agent representing a buyer, it’s fairly standard procedure for the agent to recommend a home inspection. While, that serves as an excellent starting point in providing the buyer with an overview of the property’s condition, important details about other aspects aren’t usually included.
All too often, sewer inspections don’t make the checklist when advising buyers on what should be reviewed before signing on that dotted line. After all, when the water related systems in a home appear to be working fine, when it comes to giving any thought to those below ground sewer lines, the old adage ‘out of sight, out of mind’ certainly comes into play. However, sewer issues can arise very unexpectedly resulting in flooding and costly repairs.
Therefore, when encouraging buyers to do a home inspection, take it a step further and do the same with a sewer line inspection.
What is a Sewer Scope Inspection?
Equipped with special equipment, your home inspector can accurately assess the condition of underground pipes, sewer main line, and/or septic tank using a sewer scope.
A sewer scope is a small camera device attached to a cable and deployed into the underground pipes. As the sewer scope is routed through the lines, it records video footage and photographs to check for damage from tree roots and other causes along with finding evidence of previous repairs.
Damage from Roots
Roots from trees and bushes are the main culprit for damaging sewer lines. Roots naturally seek underground water sources, making sewer lines a prime target as they make their way towards available cracks or openings. As the roots grow and block water flow, sewage can back up if left unchecked, and the growing roots eventually cause the lines to collapse.
With a sewer line inspection, the camera footage will reveal any obstructions. Although larger roots in the system may require partial replacement of the line, when smaller roots are located, they can often be removed for a fraction of the cost.
Assessing Sewer Line Materials
Nowadays, most sewer lines are made of PVC piping, however, materials can vary between PVC, steel, and iron. Prior to the 1960s, iron piping was used in new builds and was eventually replaced with steel as that industry grew. While these two metals are strong, being in constant contact with water and moisture eventually causes them to corrode and rust, whereas PVC piping is not susceptible to corrosion and rust. A sewer line inspection can determine the type of existing underground materials.
Identifying Potential Issues
In addition to evaluating sewer line materials, your sewer inspector will look for everything from drainage issues and crushed pipe to a small clog in part of the system. Optimal drainage of waste is essential to health and safety and is usually accomplished by a downhill gravity system routing waste water once it leaves the house. Over time, the downward grade of the slope can change due to natural occurrences as well as heavy equipment and hinder drainage.
Sewage or water backup can result from major damage, such as a crushed or clogged pipes, all of which can occur due to aging pipes, grease build-up, or even from small items being accidentally washed down the drain. A sewer scope inspection will cover all these areas and, in the end, will provide the buyer with a detailed report of both major and minor concerns.
If you want to learn more about sewer scope inspections or wish to schedule an appointment, contact Shield Guard Inspections where Adam has been inspecting residential and commercial properties for more than a decade.
Adam C Clark
Owner & Operator,
Shield Guard Home Inspections LLC
45 Parkwood St Albany NY, 12208
NYS LICENSE #16000091657
NYS MOLD # 0321