All About Plumbing Daily Today

You Might Need a Sewer Scope Inspection

Sep 24

Home inspections are a standard part of purchasing a home. But you might not know what a sewer scope inspection is. What exactly is a sewer scoping inspection? It is simply when a technician passes a camera down your sewers to inspect for damage and leaks.

It doesn't necessarily have to happen during a property sale, but most sewer scope inspections are. Sewer scope inspections should be ordered separately from the home inspection.

Let's discuss sewer scope Portland OR inspections, and how they work.

How is the Sewer Scope Inspection & Procedure Like?

A technician will use an adapted camera and a long cable during the sewer scope inspection to see the inside of your drains.

Depending on access and company, a technician might work on your roof before entering the vent stack on the other side of the sewer to gain access to the sewer. The inspector has a clear view of the sewer from the beginning, which gives them the best chance for finding any damage.

Vent Stack

Some companies and technicians might not see the sewer as it flows from the cleanout to the street. The sewer cleanout is often located just outside the house. Although it is not a complete view of the drainage pipes this can be sufficient to assess their general condition.

Although other technicians might take out a toilet to make it easier to access the sewers this is not a common practice.

The inspection typically takes 30 minutes. Most inspections are recorded on the camera. The technician can then usually report on the findings. For any decisions regarding next steps, however, the client should wait to receive the final report. This will include photos and conclusive findings.

What Does It Cost?

A sewer scope inspection costs $150 if it's done in conjunction with a house inspection or more than $400 if it's performed on its own.

Why a Sewer Scope Inspection

There are many reasons that you may need a sewer scope examination. 

Risks to Health

Your sewer system could cause serious health issues if it were to burst or leak. These are just a few of the health hazards associated with your sewers.

  • Bacterial infections
  • Fungal Infections
  • Parasites
  • Viruses
  • Harmful Gases
  • Mold

Your sewer could back up or leak beneath your home, which can have negative health consequences.

Structural Foundation Matters

Structural Damage

Structure damage can also be caused by a leaking sewer. The home could be affected if it leaks below your house.

A sign of shifting and home settling is also a settling drainage pipe.

Finally, if you suspect that tree roots may have impacted your sewage system, you need to act immediately so they don't affect your foundation.

Signs you Need a Sewer Scope

To determine if you require a sewer scope inspection if you are the owner of your house, you might want to look at these:

  • Water Backups - This could indicate damage, breakage, or a significant obstruction to the sewer system.
  • Roots Around the Pipe - Roots can grow around pipes and cause damage. Roots can grow and constrict pipes, causing damage or clogging them.
  • Older Home (Pre-1970): Older Homes are more likely than others to have damaged and degraded sewers.
  • Structural Movement It is possible that the pipe has been affected by shifting soil. It might have broken, bent, or been damaged if the pipe has moved. This could lead to costly repairs.
  • Lush Patches of Grass – This can be a sign of a septic leak or a septic tank. Because of its contents, sewer water can be a powerful fertilizer that can stimulate plant growth. If there is an area that looks unusually healthy, especially if it seems less lush or green than the rest of the yard then you should be concerned.
  • Pests or Rodents -- Pests and rodents are allowed to live in sewers.

Are You Buying A Home?

When you buy a house, it is a good idea to have the sewer scope inspected. This is due to the possibility that homes built before 1970 may have Orangeburg- or cast-iron drain lines.

These drain lines cannot be used today because they are too old and will need to be replaced. They may be damaged by roots, rust, or degradation. This can eventually lead to home backups and sewer smells.

  • Orangeburg Drain Lines
  • Cast Iron Drains
  • Roots Growing into Drainage Tube

Sewer Drainpipes that are damaged

Sewer Scope Inspection Results

Once the inspector has finished their inspection, listen out for these things:

  • Blockages and clogs
  • Cracks, cracks, or other imperfections in the lines
  • The type of material used in the line (clay/concrete, plastic, orangeburg and cast iron, etc.
  • Roots growing throughout the line
  • Separation or failure of the line
  • The drain will make your belly swell

These items may require repairs or replacement. Each case is different so it's important to talk to your inspector.

Does a Sewer Scope Inspection Make Sense?

The short answer is "Yes." It is estimated that the average cost of replacing your drains will be between $3,000 and $30,000. This could be due to factors such as location, size, and type. To access drains below your home, it is possible to have the flooring removed.

Technology is available that allows plumbers simply to install a liner on your existing drains. But it is still not possible to provide reliable data.

Many sewer scope companies recommend this inspection for all new construction homes. This is due to the fact that sewers were only installed and not tested. It's not unusual for new construction drains to be damaged or incorrectly installed.

Overall, the cost of replacing your sewer drains may outweigh the cost associated with a sewer scope examination.

Final Thoughts

A sewer scope involves the use of a camera to inspect a home's drain lines. An inspection can cost anywhere from $150 to $400 and is necessary if the home was built after 1970. A sewer scope inspection is recommended for homeowners and homebuyers, regardless of whether their home was built before 1970.

Sewer scope Portland completes sewer scope inspections for the Portland Region, OR.

Leave a comment below if you have further questions.

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