Most home buyers hire a home inspection company to provide details on a home’s condition before their purchase. It’s an important part of the buying process that can help you make the best financial decision possible. Any issues that are found on the inspection can help the buyer to negotiate a lower price, ask that the repairs be fixed, or give the buyer the opportunity to walk away from a deal that may cause major financial strain in the long run. A home inspector has a large array of knowledge and completes a very thorough check of the home’s major components, such as the plumbing system, electrical system, hvac system, home’s structure, roof, and much more. With the home inspection, it is so thorough that most home buyer’s cannot imagine that any major system is being missed…. But it is.
The Sewer Line
A home’s sewer line is an underground, large drainage line leaving the house and connecting to the city sewer. All the drains in your home connect to this one drainage line, so it is very important that this line is in good working condition. An inspection of this line is not completed during a typical home inspection for a couple reasons.
1. This line is underground and not easily viewed.
2. It takes special equipment and training to perform a sewer line inspection.
Why do you need a sewer line inspection?
The importance of a sewer line inspection may be best explained through an example that we have seen, time and time again. Imagine that you found your dream home. The inspection came back clear, and you are all moved in. One afternoon, you go to flush your toilet and it starts bubbling. You start noticing a sewage smell, and look over to see sewage coming up out of your bathtubs and sinks! You have a MAJOR problem! You immediately call a plumber, who determines that the problem is your sewer line. After inspecting the line, the plumber determines that the lovely shade tree that made you fall in love with your front yard has roots that have grown into your sewer line, cracked it, and now the sewer line needs replaced. The problem doesn’t stop there. The portion that needs replaced extends underneath your driveway. Now, you not only need your yard excavated and a sewer line replacement, but you also will need a new driveway too. This is not a small repair- you are looking at thousands of dollars. And you have no working plumbing in your house and sewage backing up – making your house unlivable until you foot the bill. You can’t imagine how this problem wasn’t found – you just bought the home 1 month ago, and the inspection said everything was great!
…Except, the sewer line was never inspected.
Unfortunately, this is not a far-fetched example. Ask any plumbing company how often they get calls to replace a sewer line, and they will tell you: too many to count. Sewer lines can have problems, and those problems are often costly.
Even if your home doesn’t have trees surrounding that could damage your line, there are plenty of other things that can go wrong with a sewer line.
1. A sewer line can be clogged or full of foreign debris. This could be an easy fix, such as a simple main drain cleaning. Or, the foreign debris could have damaged the line, which may put us back at the scenario above- sewer line repair or replacement. Remember, you did not own the home, so you don’t know what has been put down the drainage system before you moved in.
2. A sewer line depends on gravity to drain. If the line settles at all, for any reason, there can be major issues. Settling can happen if the line wasn’t properly supported during installation, or just with normal ground settling.
3. Corrosion of old sewer line pipes can also cause the need for a full sewer line replacement. If your dream home is a beautiful older home, this should absolutely be something on your mind, but even if the home is newer, corrosion of pipes does happen and the result is expensive.
The bottom line is, sewer line repair and replacement is messy and costly. Home insurance typically does not cover such a repair, and once your sewer line is bad, there is not much time, if any, to save up for the repair. In a lot of cases, your home could have raw sewage coming up, and your entire plumbing system can be unusable until you complete the repair. This is not a position that you want to put yourself in if you can avoid it. You pay for a home inspection to give you peace of mind that all systems are working properly, and this is a system that is worth the extra money to inspect. A simple sewer line camera inspection can cost an additional $200-$300 during the inspection and buying process, but the amount of money it can save you and the peace of mind knowing everything is ok is priceless.
At Plumb Doctor, we have experienced, knowledgeable plumbers that can perform a video camera inspection of your main sewer line during your buying process. We will provide a report that details if there are any issues, and can provide an estimate for repair if one is needed. With this in hand, you can negotiate the best outcome for your purchase. In addition, we work with multiple home inspection companies to provide this service as an add on to their already thorough home inspections. If you would like a referral to a home inspection company that we work with, we would be happy to provide that referral so that you have peace of mind knowing that you will have a complete home inspection by the local, top home inspection companies AND a complete video inspection of your main sewer line by an expert plumber. For more information, please call us at 317-306-9343 or fill out our contact form HERE.
*If you are a local realtor or home inspection company in the Indianapolis or surrounding area, we would love to talk with you about our Sewer Line Video Inspections that can be offered to your clients at a discounted rate. Contact us at email@example.com