Sewer Line Inspection: What Is It And Why Do You Need It?

Posted on: 6 March 2017

The sewer line that runs from your home to the city system or to your septic system can be the source of problems in older homes. When you buy a home, especially an older one, along with a home inspection, you should hire a plumber for a sewer line inspection as well. While often overlooked, a damaged or blocked sewer line can be very expensive to repair or replace.

A Sewer Line Inspection

A sewer line inspection takes a look at the inside of the sewer line coming from your home to determine if there are blockages, damage to the pipe, or roots growing in the line. The inspection starts with a fiber optic camera and a small monitor that a plumber uses to view the inside of the pipe. The camera is on a long tube and is snaked into the line. The plumber or operator will slowly advance the camera as they check for damage to the pipe. An experienced operator can see cracks, damage, or foreign matter in the pipe and will report back where and what they found.

Dangers Of A Damaged Sewer Line

If the inspection reveals damage to the sewer line, you will need to talk to the plumber or another contractor about replacing or repairing that damage. If you do not fix the damaged line, it can weaken over time and eventually collapse under the weight of the soil above it. Once the line collapses, the only fix is to dig up the line and replace it. It could be an expensive repair and not doing it is not an option. Once the line collapses, the sewage will have nowhere to go and can back up into the home, causing damage inside as well.

Roots and Obstructions

The other concern that may be revealed by the sewer line inspection is an obstruction in the line. Most of the time this is in the form of roots that have infiltrated the line through a crack or hole in the pipe. The roots are a problem because as they grow, they can further damage the pipe and the roots inside the pipe will catch material like tissue that has been put in the system. The more material caught up in the roots, the larger the obstruction becomes until you can not get anything through and the system backs up.

Have the system inspected when you buy the home to see if you have any problems with the sewer line flowing or working properly. Detecting a problem early could be the difference between replacing one section of pipe or installing an entirely new sewer line.