Sewer Scopes are Cheap. Repairs are not…
Sewer scopes commonly find problems in the lateral lines between the home and septic tank or municipal connection. In addition, this small fee is approximately half the cost of pumping the tank, and based upon visual evidence we can recommend pumping in some cases, therefore saving the client money.
Sewer Repairs are Expensive!
Most home buyers today wouldn’t think about closing their purchase without getting a home inspection. That’s particularly so with older homes, but many also elect to have new buildings examined by an independent third party, such as Pro-Tech Inspections. Inspections are meant for discovering existing and potential problems. Unfortunately, home inspectors are not required to inspect sewer lines and systems as a part of our Standards of Practice. Failing to examine the sewer lines can turn out to be a critical and costly mistake for a home buyer.
Unfortunately, some inspectors fail to consider the sewer lines as an extension of the plumbing system and do not recommend a sewer scope inspection. That’s when problems begin to back up, so to speak. A serious plumbing backup could happen right after you move into your newly purchased home. Someone has to pay for it, and this is when the finger-pointing starts. However, it could have been totally prevented if only someone thought to suggest having an inexpensive sewer line inspection done. That’s where we come in, we are making that suggestion now.
Do I need a Sewer Scope?
You might think, “Do I need a sewer scope inspection before buying a house?” The answer is yes! We believe a sewer scope should be a mandatory part of your home inspection checklist, whether public sewer (because the lines to the street are the homeowners responsibility) or a septic system. In fact, getting a sewer scope inspection is one of the most important home inspection tips for first-time buyers. Sewer scope inspections are cheap, but sewer repairs can be extremely expensive.
Recently, a home we inspected had a sewer back-up that originated as tree roots in the pipe from their home. The buyer was offered a sewer scope and declined. The sewer line crossed under the road to the municipal sewer line. The road had to be dug up and replaced. Which required flaggers, heavy equipment, and replacement of the asphalt. In the end, the Buyer called wanting us to pay the $45,000 bill they now had in front of them. Our answer was no, because they declined the service we offered for a small fee.
As you consider home inspection needs, remember this story. It’s the worst case scenario – but it happened…
Typical Sewer Repair Cost
There’s no such thing as a typical cost for repairing your sewer lines. It can start at a few hundred dollars to snake out a blockage. Or, it could be tens of thousands of dollars to excavate your yard and replace the pipes. The repair bills depend on the sewer line condition, the problem’s location and the root cause.
No pun intended, but speaking of roots, tree roots are the primary cause of blocked sewer lines. Fortunately, roots are easy to find with a closed-circuit television inspection. Unfortunately, they can be very expensive to dig up and clear out. Having the sewer line scoped should be on your house-buying inspection checklist. In fact, you can’t afford not to inspect the sewer line before closing your house purchase.