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Sewer Scoping in Baltimore Maryland

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Sewer Problem

You just bought a beautiful old home from a lovely retired couple.  You’re excited about moving your family of four to get your life started in your forever home!  Two months later you come home one evening to a basement filled with sewage water!  Yuck!!  How could this happen?!?  You had a home inspection!

What some people overlook is that a home inspection is a visual inspection.  Inspectors can’t report on something that they can’t see.  The sewer pipe that runs from the home to the street is not visible, which is why we recommend getting a sewer inspection.

So why did our family of four’s basement flood?  Their daily plumbing usage was different from the retired couple. The sudden increase in usage, amount, and the unknown root intrusion into the pipes all contributed to the backup.  A simple sewer inspection could have saved your family of four $5,000 – $10,000 by finding a pre-existing condition that could have been handled at closing.

Sewer inspections are not something most buyers think about. They know to get a home inspection, but sewer lines aren’t thought of until there is a problem.  Yet it’s one of the most important inspections buyers and homeowners can conduct.

There are several exterior home issues that could lead to clogged sewer lines:

  • Root intrusion – one of the most common causes
  • Deterioration of pipes
  • Collapsing pipes
  • Pipes that don’t slope properly due to either improper placement/installation or soil movement.
  • Pipes clogged with debris, solids, grease, and other waste

This last reason is one of the other most common problems for sewer backups.  The unaware homeowner is often the cause of sewer problems by trying to put items through drains, garbage disposals, or toilets.  Things such as:

  • Kitchen items which include grease and starchy foods
  • Bathroom items such as non-flushable wipes or feminine hygiene products
  • Construction items like debris, paint, paint rags, cleaning gardening buckets (if your home has been completely renovated it is highly recommended to have a sewer inspection!)

So, as you can see, it’s important to know before you buy a home if the main sewer line is damaged or clogged and needs to be replaced.  It’s also a good idea if you own a home to have your sewer inspected periodically.  Some telltale signs are:

  • a change in how your toilet flushes+
  • an odor of sewer gas from your drains
  • more than one drain is slow or clogged
  • a spot in your yard that is greener, soggy, and sinking
  • rodent and insect infestation
  • foundation and wall cracks

“We didn’t do a sewer scope when we first bought our house. Within the first month, our sewer backed up into our basement. It cost almost $4,000 to dig up the front yard and find and replace the damaged pipe. But I was given estimates of up to $10,000 for the repair.”-Cynthia S.

Sewer scoping involves inserting a small camera into the sewer system. As the camera moves through the pipes, it sends images back to the operator at measured points. The inspector can then see what the problems are and if the pipe is flowing properly.  This pinpoints any issues accurately, without having to dig up the pipes.

Some tips from the inspector:

It is often a good idea to scope the sewer if there are clues there have been prior problems, so you don’t get stuck with the problem.

If, as a homeowner, you have a sewer that needs to be snaked every year, it’s a clue that the sewer should be fixed Also, the clients will get a copy of the video of their sewer scope.

Remember to take care of your plumbing, an ignored sewer line will only make the problem worse.

You Can Rest Comfortably Knowing…

This is my go to home inspector. Always great service and detailed reports.
I do approx 20 inspections a year and I am always satisfied.
Kudos to the staff and inspectors.
-Deric S Beckett Laurel, Maryland

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