Drain Problems: What To Look For- San Diego Home Inspection- Part 2
"However, the problem may not be completely solved"...
The sewer line (lateral) between the house and the municipal connection (in the street) may still need repairs. Tree roots may have grown into the sewer line, or the line may be deteriorated or crushed causing blockage. If so, repairs will have to be made to ensure a free-flowing drain system.
The best way to determine if there is blockage in the system is to have a video inspection of the sewer line- something this San Diego home inspector often recommends. A video inspection involves inserting a camera scope into the sewer line and visually inspecting the interior of the pipe. If trench repairs into the street are necessary, costs can easily run into the multiple thousands of dollars. A $200 video inspection by a qualified plumber is worth it's weight in gold!
If you are interested in buying a home built prior to 1975, here are five important items to look for:
1. Look at the street curb in front of the home. You will usually see an "S" stamped into the curb. The "S" is where the home's sewer line enters the street. If you see a long, narrow repair in the street, the sewer line has probably been worked on.
2. Look at the sight line between the "S" and the main bathroom in the house. Are there large trees or mature vegetation growing in this line? Do you see tree stumps in this area? If tree roots have grown into the sewer line, you will have drain problems.
3. Look at the street walkway. Have sections been repaired or replaced? Is the walkway cracked or heaved? If so, there may be drain issues.
4. Look for added cleanouts in the front lawn or other unusual locations. If there has been blockage in the system, a plumber may have installed new cleanouts to gain access to the sewer line.
5. Look at the main plumbing cleanout (usually at the rear house wall). If the cap is loose or you see an ABS cap installed in a cast iron pipe, if you see grooves in the pipe or rust-colored splatters, or if you see dried toilet paper laying nearby, there has probably been blockage in the drain system.
If you see any of these conditions, do not despair- all is not lost! If adequate repairs or upgrades have been made, the property may have just become more valuable for you! Check the seller's disclosures and find out when, if, or what repairs have been made. First Choice Inspections, a San Diego home inspection company, has your best interests in mind. Steve Stenros is an experienced CREIA MCI home inspector and can be reached for appointment at 888-335-3040.