One of the most common questions I hear from buyers and agents alike is related to inspection of sewer drain lines under the home and on the property. As a home inspector in Texas, this information exceeds that Texas SOP for home inspections, and is generally the purview of a plumbing service company.
The most effective way to provide this information is by using a camera attached to a cable to view the interior of the sewer line for defects. This process is generally referred to as using a sewer scope.
The photo above is a great example of the value of such a service. The photo shows a clear indication that the sewer line below this home(mine!) has been damaged and is compromised by tree roots. The sewer lines below my home are comprised of cast iron, which is known for rusting and degrading over decades. Of course, my home is over 55 year old, so it is no surprise that these lines are beginning to fail. This has presented the good ol’ fruitless mulberry tree in my front yard with a veritable endless supply of nutrient (yuck!) rich moisture to pilfer at will. And that’s just what the tree roots have done. By entering the small crack in the wall of the sewer line, they have accessed the drain line and will only continue to damage the sewer line over time.
The bad news: there is no repairing this type of damage. The modifications necessary would include replacement of the damaged area of the sewer line (though replacement of the entire sewer line is a better long term solution) or having the sewer line lined with a special product that in effect creates a new sewer line from the inside out. Each of these processes are offered by many local plumbing companies. Costs range from about $5000 on up for a home like mine. Needless to say, this is not cheap, or fun. Plan to be without sewer access for a day or more, at least.
However, when buying a used home, or sometimes even a brand new home, hidden problems are everywhere. As an informed home owner, you can plan ahead and be as prepared as possible for the unexpected.
I can offer you some helpful advice if you are facing this problem with your own home. It might even save you some $$$. Call me for more details and we can discuss further!!
(806)544-8540 or (432)202-7544
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