Sewer Scoping—Inspect before you buy

Sewer Scoping

When buying an older home (20 years or older), many house shoppers focus on things like windows, electrical, roofing and plumbing. These are all important areas to inspect. However, what about what’s underground? The sewer system should most definitely be added to the list of necessary points on your checklist.

Over time, roots can work their way into the sewer lines where they cause obstructions. Debris like grease, wipes, pads or other solids can latch onto the roots, creating clogs and backing things up. Even worse, the pipe itself might get damaged, and if that happens, chemicals and snaking might not be enough to fix the problem. Damaged pipe can require excavation—a costly prospect. And unrelated to tree roots, low spots or sags in the line can accumulate debris and also cause obstruction.

sewer lines should not be a mere afterthought


So where to start? Sometimes the seller has records of what’s been done when, or else the City, especially if the problem was on their end. Therefore, asking the seller or calling the City are good places to start. If no history shows up, have it scoped. Scoping involves running a “snake” with a video camera attached through the pipe all the way to the municipal sewer line. This will show you the condition of the pipe, what the line is made of, and what problems, if any, you can expect.

If the pipe is intact, a power flush or auguring inside the pipe’s length can clear out obstructions that might be forming. If the root situation is severe, you might want to consider getting the line augured every year to ensure it stays clean.

If the pipe is damaged, repair can involve excavation, which is very expensive. This is where the pipe gets dug out and replaced. In some cases, a sleeve liner can be inserted at the problem section.

It’s important to be careful not to put anything that can create clogs down the drain. These include grease or oils of any kind, sanitary wipes, dental floss, fibrous food scraps, etc. Your well-flowing drain will thank you.

As all of us want to avoid sewer backups, so sewer lines should not be a mere afterthought.

Sewer Scoping—Inspect before you buy