When making the choice to purchase a new home, most potential buyers elect to have a full home inspection performed. This ensures that they are not purchasing a home that has existing or potentially costly issues. While general home inspections offer a prospective buyer a myriad of helpful information regarding the property, the inspector often overlooks the sewer lines of the home. Since the actual sewer system is located underground, it may be particularly difficult for a home inspector to access. It also could be easily forgotten since it is not something that you would physically see on a regular basis.
Do Home Inspectors Check Sewer Lines?
Even if sewer systems are considered in the inspection, home inspectors typically are not equipped with the specialized equipment that is needed to carry out a proper inspection of sewer lines. While inspections of plumbing systems are required during a home inspection, many home inspectors do not deem the sewer system to be part of the plumbing that they need to inspect. This leads to home buyers purchasing a home and then running into monumental expenses to repair a sewer system that was most likely already a problem when they purchased the home. Consider the following when you are buying a home and need to decide about having a sewer line inspection in addition to your home inspection.
Common risks to sewer lines include:
- Plant & root intrusion - Ask any seasoned plumber what the biggest risks to sewer lines are and they will reply with plants, people, and pipes. The roots of trees are infamous for breaking through pipes that are extremely sturdy. This happens because plants and trees want the nasty (to us) water that is inside of the sewer lines. The roots will grow around the sewer piping and then take advantage of any rusting or damaged weak spots. This can cause either a catastrophic backup/blockage, or it causes the pipe to burst altogether. Both of these situations will result in considerable damage to your belongings and home.
- Putting things in sewers that don't belong - The next most common reason for problems with sewer lines is due to people. Yes, that means you and anyone else who has ever used the home in question's sewer system. Most people do not understand that sewers are not built to withstand being used as a garbage can. Pouring grease and oil down sink drains and flushing feminine products down the toilet are two common huge issues that can devastate your sewage lines. Sewers are designed to handle two things, and those two things are sewage and toilet paper. It takes time for different objects and materials to disintegrate, even with the presence of bacteria and microorganism enriched sewage. When materials cannot break down fast enough in your sewer, a blockage will occur. You can expect the plumber that you hire to come right to you with a handful of whatever it is that you or the owners before you have been flushing down the toilets or pouring down the drains.
- Old pipes - Pipes are another common cause for problems with sewer lines. Older homes will naturally have older sewer pipes. Throughout the years, numerous materials have been used to produce sewer pipes as improvements in durability and functionality have been made. Pipes that are made of cast iron or clay can easily have years of build up inside that reduce the amount of internal space that sewage can effectively flow through. Not only does this make the pipes more susceptible to blockages, but it also results in a buildup of internal pressure. Too much pressure over a period of time will always result in the pipe bursting or collapsing.
Fortunately, having a sewer line inspection done prior to purchasing a home will allow you to find out beforehand if the sewer lines are made of older materials, if there is damage to them due to tree roots, and if there are materials built up inside of them that should not be there.
After The Fact Repairs Are Costly
While a sewer line inspection will cost you around a couple of hundred dollars on average, the average sewer repair will cost at least a couple thousand dollars. Most new homeowners are not prepared for taking on the massive expense of a sewer repair. In addition, depending on whom you have homeowners insurance with and the parameters of your policy, you could be looking at a denied claim for any property damage that occurs due to a problem with your sewer. Catching potential problems early on gives you an opportunity to request that the sellers fix the issue themselves.
Opportunity For The Seller To Remedy
If you do elect to have a sewer line inspection done, and what you find is less than desirable, that does not mean that you have to find a new house to buy. If a problem is identified through a sewer inspection, then the sale of the property can be made contingent upon the seller paying for the necessary repairs to the sewer system prior to closing. You should not feel that a bad sewer inspection report is a reason to turn away from the home that you have fallen in love with and want to purchase. Any problems that are found during your inspections will arm you with the right and the information you need to request that the seller remedy the issue appropriately prior to closing on the property.
There is no doubt that a sewage issue can put you in a grimy position once you have purchased a new home. You have the opportunity to prevent these issues by hiring a professional like Mr. Sewer Rooter to perform an inspection on the home's sewer lines.
For details on pricing and more information regarding how a sewer line inspection works, call Mr. Sewer Rooter at (323) 688-4565 or contact us online!