Scope the Sewer Line?

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In today’s blog I’m going to talk about scoping a sewer line. It’s part of my due diligence post series. There’s multiple items for due diligence that you can find on other blog post that will just do a brief overview of all of the due diligence items you can do when buying a home. But a big one that a lot of people don’t do is checking out the sewer line and getting it inspected with a sewer scope camera.

The way this is done is you call a plumber and they have a camera on the end of a line that they put down the sewer cleanout. They push it down the line and have it hooked up to a video camera that has a recording unit (usually DVD). One other thing to note is who you can use to get the sewer lines done. Because different companies charge different prices, have different reputations, and also different quality of equipment you’ll want to make sure your using an honest company with a good reputation. For a general rule of thumb you will want a HD color video burn on DVD. The reasons for this are: one, so you can always refer back to it. Two, because you want the high-quality so you can actually see what’s going on inside the line if you ever have issues with the line. You will see people who have higher quality but only black and white, or people who don’t have good quality but in color. The preferred method is in color and high-quality so you can see everything going on in the sewer line.

You will want them to scope all the way from the start of the line to the end of the line, where it meets the city sewer line. Anything between your home and the city sewer line is your property and your problem if something goes wrong. The big thing about sewer lines is they can get expensive if something is wrong. The good thing is that 80% of homes in Salt Lake will have some type of minor problem but that is the norm. Minor root intrusion is usually the issue and isn’t a big deal. If that’s the case all you have to do is get the line cleaned out with a blade that matches the sewer line width (eg 4” line will need a 4” blade). Don’t ever let them use anything that is not a blade. There is a method where they wind a line around the roots and rip the roots out. If you go in with a blade it cuts the roots clean off. I’ve personally seen sewer lines get damaged when they use the winding line that rip the roots out because the sewer is very fragile in some cases. Since sewer lines are usually old and made of clay they are very weak. Too much pressure could cause it to collapse or take a chunk out of the sewer when they’re ripping the roots out.

If you ever need a sewer repair make sure you are getting multiple bids. Plumbing companies are known to rip people off for these types of repairs. Once they are done with any repair to your sewer line always make sure you get them to re-scope the line again with the camera so you can ensure everything looks good afterwards. That way you can sleep well at night.

I hope that educated you about the sewer line scoping. We’ll have more education about sewer lines probably down the road. So stay tuned and look for more information on due diligence items.