Do You Really Need a Sewer Inspection? 

Why Every Home Inspection Should Include a Sewer Scope

Julian Andes

12 Mar 2024

How costly can plumbing issues be if left undetected? In Southern Illinois and St. Louis metro area, the average cost of sewer repair typically falls within the range of $1,000 - $5,000. From hidden leaks to deteriorating pipes, the consequences of neglected plumbing can be both financially and emotionally draining. One often overlooked but critical aspect is the condition of the sewer system. This is where sewer scope inspection steps in as a vital safeguard for both older homes and new constructions.

When it comes to older homes, it’s important to give them a thorough inspection. With aging infrastructure comes the risk of deteriorating sewer lines. Many older homes were built with materials like clay, cast iron, or Orangeburg pipes, which are susceptible to various issues over time. Clay pipes, while durable, can become brittle and crack with age or root intrusion. Cast iron pipes are prone to corrosion and rust, leading to leaks and blockages. Orangeburg pipes, made from tar and wood fibers, have a limited lifespan and are prone to collapse.

Common problems associated with older sewer pipes include:

1. Tree root intrusion: Roots seeking moisture can infiltrate joints and cracks in sewer lines, causing blockages and damage.

2. Corrosion: Cast iron pipes are prone to rust and corrosion, leading to leaks and structural weakness.

3. Bellied pipes: Sections of sewer lines can sink due to ground shifting or settling, creating low spots where waste and debris accumulate.

4. Cracks and breaks: Aging pipes may develop cracks or fractures due to ground movement, freezing and thawing cycles, or simple wear and tear.

5. Blockages: Buildup of grease, debris, or foreign objects can obstruct the flow of wastewater, leading to backups and overflows.

But what about new constructions? Isn't everything brand new and thus immune to such problems? Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

Common issues found in newer construction sewer pipes include:

 1. Improper Install: Despite modern construction techniques, mistakes can still occur during the installation of sewer lines. Improper slope, incorrect joint seals, or inadequate support can lead to future problems.

2. Material defects: While newer pipes are typically made of PVC or ABS plastic, which are more durable than older materials, defects in manufacturing or poor-quality control can still result in premature failures.

3. Design flaws: In some cases, the original design of the sewer system may be flawed, leading to issues such as inadequate capacity, improper flow dynamics, or vulnerable connection points.

4. Ground settling: Newly constructed properties may experience settling of the ground over time, which can cause stress on sewer lines, leading to misalignments, bellies, or collapses.

5. Construction debris: During the building process, debris such as rocks, concrete, or construction materials may inadvertently end up in the sewer system, causing obstructions or damage to pipes.

6.Root intrusion: While less common in newer constructions, tree roots from nearby landscaping can still infiltrate sewer lines if not properly mitigated, leading to blockages and structural damage.

7. Inadequate maintenance access: Poorly designed access points or lack of cleanouts can make it difficult to inspect, clean, or perform maintenance on the sewer system, increasing the risk of issues going undetected until they become major problems.

8. External factors: Environmental factors such as soil conditions, seismic activity, or nearby construction projects can impact the integrity of sewer lines in newer constructions, leading to unexpected issues.

While newer construction typically offers the advantage of modern materials and techniques, it's still essential to conduct a thorough sewer scope inspection to identify any potential issues early on and prevent costly repairs down the line.

In conclusion, the cost of a sewer scope inspection pales in comparison to the potential expenses associated with undetected plumbing issues. It's a small investment that can yield significant returns in terms of property value preservation and peace of mind. So, whether you're in the market for a charming historic home or a state-of-the-art new build, don't overlook the importance of a thorough sewer scope inspection. In conclusion, safeguarding your investment starts from the ground up, quite literally. Don't let hidden plumbing problems undermine your dreams of homeownership or turn your property into a money pit.