Sewer Scopes - What are they and do I need to have one done when I purchase a home?
When you buy a home, you become responsible for the sewer line (sewer lateral) from the house to the city main. A broken, flat, bellied, offset, or root-infested sewer line can cause sewage to back up into the house or the commercial building leading to extensive property damage in the home or business. Sewer back-ups can cause thousands of dollars in property damage and loss of valuable operating time for businesses. Although insurance companies will usually pay for cleanup and restoration; repair or replacement of the line is typically excluded, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
How far away from the the city sewer connection the house is, will determine how much of sewer line you are responsible for. Having that sewer line inspected can save you thousands of dollars in future repairs.
Standard home inspections do not cover the structural integrity or condition of sewer or septic lines. Having a sewer or septic line inspection prior to purchasing a property is a proactive and innovative approach to make an educated buying decision, plan for upcoming maintenance, budget for necessary repairs, or gain valuable purchase price negotiation.
Sewer scope inspections have become a standard component of the pre-purchase inspection period. A standard scope inspection for a single family residence takes approximately one hour to complete and costs around $125 in the Portland/Vancouver metro areas. To schedule, you will need call 1-2 days prior to the date you would like to get the inspection done. Keep in mind, that one of our team will need to be present at the sewer scope to let the technician in, it is great when all of the inspections can be performed on the same day, but that is not always possible.
The technician will insert a mini video camera into the sewer line through the sewer clean-out. The clean-out may be located in the basement, crawlspace or outside where the sewer line exits the home. In some cases, the technician may have to remove a toilet and gain access to the sewer line through the toilet drain pipe. If no obstructions are encountered, we will inspect from the clean-out to the city main.
If problems with the line are found, they will be able to accurately pinpoint the location and depth of the trouble area. The problem area typically will be marked on the ground surface and will be noted in comments on the video. Common sewer line problems are root intrusion, holes, pooling, cracks, and pipe separation. A functioning sewer line may have problems that do not currently affect the performance of the line. However, these problems may cause a future sewer backup leading to an unexpected emergency line repair or replacement.
When the inspection is complete, you will be informed as to whether the line passed inspection and be sent a report stating what was found during the inspection, and a link to the video will be sent to you. You will usually receive a final printed or electronic report the following business day. If problems are found in the line, most companies will want to provide a proposal for either repair or replacement.
I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THAT YOU FIND AN INSPECTION COMPANY THAT DOES NOT REPAIR SEWER LINES. MAKE SURE YOU ARE GETTING A COMPANY THAT SHOWS YOU WHAT IS GOING ON WITH THE SEWER LINE, NOT A COMPANY THAT WANTS TO GET A JOB REPAIRING A SEWER LINE.
If the sewer line passes inspection, the seller will be released from future liability and as a new owner, you will know that the sewer system is in good working condition and will not need any major repairs.
Denice Thompson Neddo email@example.com
The Portland Vancouver Home Team