Are You Buying a House? Don’t Forget a Sewer Inspection

Buying a home is one of the most exciting and stressful events in our lives. After all, buying a home is a considerable investment, and for many people, it will be the single largest purchase that they will ever make. Once you’ve been approved and the offer has been accepted there is still a great deal to do. The inspection is extremely important, and it’s your defense against purchasing a home that has one or more hidden problems. One area that is often neglected during an inspection is the sewer system because it carries an additional cost. But, there are many reasons why you should make sure that you get the sewer system checked out and this will benefit you in the medium to long term.

How Does a Sewer Inspection Work?

Most homes are connected to a sewage system, and if there are existing problems, they can be expensive to fix. When you hire a local certified plumber, they can carry out a comprehensive inspection that includes your sewage system for an additional premium. The plumber will insert a sewer cable with a video camera into the sewage system and examine the internal structure of the pipes. This will help the plumber to identify any areas where the pipe has cracked or broken and become compromised. This information is extremely useful in your negotiations because you will have a clear idea of what the cost of the sewer repairs will be, and the price can be adjusted accordingly.

Getting a Professional Opinion

Like many other areas in your life, it makes good sense to get a professional opinion when you purchase your home. A local certified professional plumber will have the expertise, knowledge, and specialized tools to give you the best advice. Many of us have access to a set of basic tools, but a plumber will have a sewer line camera system, hydro jet technology, and other equipment to detect potential plumbing problems. If you want an accurate repair estimate, you need to use a certified plumber with plenty of experience.

Detecting Damage from Tree Roots

The length of the sewer line camera will extend far into the sewer line, and this will take it out under the yard. This is where many sewer line problems occur, and it’s useful to see how the nearby trees or larger shrubs have affected the sewer line. If there are minor cracks in the sewer line, water is released, and this can attract thirsty roots to the source.

Over time the roots can reach the sewer line and even penetrate the crack to search for more nutrients. Eventually, the roots will make the crack wider until it’s broken and there will be sewage leaking into the soil under the yard. When this occurs, you may see a great deal of plant growth above this leak on the surface of the yard. Excessive plant growth is one of the signs to look for if you think you may have a leak in your sewer line.

When the sewer line becomes compromised the ground around the area can settle, and there is a risk that the foundation wall could be sheared. The piping can drop, and this will lead to a blockage that needs to be cleared professionally. In many cases, this problem can continue for a number of years without a backup occurring. But, a catastrophic backup will occur sooner or later, and it makes sense to detect and fix the problem before you make your home purchase.

Clearing the Sewer Line

Another problem that can occur is a buildup of sediment and grease deposits that gradually narrow the sewer line. This can lead to problems with effective sewage disposal, and in extreme circumstances, it could even cause a backup of sewage into the home. Needless to say, this is an extremely undesirable event that could cause a great deal of damage, and it represents a significant health hazard that would be extremely unpleasant to clean up. When the sewer line has been assessed, the plumber can tell you if the sewer line is clear or if it needs to be cleared out. If the sewer line isn’t compromised, it can be hydro jetted to sluice the line clear with high pressure water. A plumber will be able to give you an estimate for this work, and this can be included as part of your negotiations.

Examining the Septic System

If your potential home has a septic tank installed instead of a connection to the municipal sewer system, you need to make sure that this system is fully functional before you make a commitment to buy. If you have any standing water or strange odors in the yard, this could indicate that the septic tank has a leak and sewage seepage into the surrounding area is taking place. This needs to be fixed quickly, puddles of sewage are a serious health risk, and the problem will only get worse over time. Of course, fixing this would be the responsibility of the seller, and it would be made a condition of the sale. This is another clear example of the importance of getting the plumbing inspected professionally.

Increased Negotiating Power

When you hire a professional plumber to inspect the plumbing and sewage system in your potential new home, you can be forgiven for hoping that they find nothing. After all, it’s natural to feel disappointed when you’re told that your dream home has sewer line or plumbing issues that need urgent attention. But, this is the wrong way to look at the process and finding these problems before you make a final purchase is a good thing. Any problems that the plumber finds can be used as additional leverage for the purposes of negotiating the price in your favor. At the very least, the seller may make repairs as a condition of sale, so that you don’t have to pay for the repairs later on down the line. This is why a comprehensive plumbing inspection that includes the sewer line is such an excellent investment for any home buyer.

By Giovanni Longo President Flood Brothers Plumbing
Giovanni Longo is a 3rd generation master plumber who has been practicing his craft and trade in the greater Los Angeles area for well over a decade and a half. A plumbing and hydraulics-engineering innovator, Giovanni’s particular world-class expertise focuses on dealing with challenging sewer system designs as well as resolving complex commercial and residential draining issues. As a certified Flood Mitigation expert, he is also well versed in a wide variety of water damage and remediation solution.