Sewer Line Inspection 101

As homeowners we should always be aware of issues that may come up so we can be prepared.  I think it is safe to say that we have all had things happen around the house that we didn’t expect and money has been tight that month and had the thought of why didn’t we think to get that fixed or check earlier.  Today I talk to Merco Mohr of Dry Pro Drain who will go over the importance of a sewer line inspection.  He will explain what an inspection is, who needs to get one, and how often you should get one.  Pipes can be costly to fix and if you can help prevent it why not.


What is a sewer line inspection?

A camera is inserted into the clean-out to inspect the line running from the home to the sewer and the technician can show you the images on a monitor. The Purpose of these sewer line inspection is to provide a current report and condition to the owner or potential owner. When a plumber performs these inspections a detailed report with real expected cost can be provided to the owner or future owner. Using a Plumber is recommended, clarity on cost and general understanding to the issues or potential issues can be presented from someone who actually performs the install/repair work.


Why is a sewer line inspection important?

Ownership of your home comes with ownership of the sewer line. Clarity on the current to date issues can be addressed and presented by performing sewer line inspections. In many cases this will allow a homeowner to foresee what is expected in the future as maintenance or repair. It is always better to know than leave the unknown available to cause a situation to arise unplanned. 


Who needs to get a sewer line inspection?

Most importantly Home Owners & Renters – anyone can have a inspection completed.  I would always recommend a owner have a inspection performed before any new tenants take occupancy of the house.  A report can be made to the owner protecting the owner in the event a issue arises.  If a snake can’t unclog your drain, a sewer line inspection is the next step to identify the problem so it can be resolved.

Home Buyers  – To find out if a sewer is faulty or needs replacement especially if the home is older than 20 years, the line may have collapsed or be compromised. The information obtained from the camera inspection is a good negotiating tool.


When do home owners, homebuyers, renters need to get inspections?

We recommend having an inspection completed immediately if there has never been one completed. In the event a backup has occurred in the past once every 18 months to 2 years.  In the event your drainage system has started to slow down and you hear a gurgling sound coming from your toilet bowl, we recommend a sewer inspection.


What can you do if you cannot replace the sewer line is there a more affordable method?

There are 3 trenchless methods that allow manual excavation cost to be reduced dramatically. Each sewer drain system is custom made to fit the home. By evaluating the sewer drain pipe size, location and length we can provide which trench less option is best and will save you the most money. Trenchless sewers rehabilitation cost savings can be as little as one-third the cost of manual digging to replace.


Do homeowners need to relocate while sewer line is being fixed?

In our experience we have been able to keep homeowner/tenants from relocating during almost all repair work. Trenchless replacement is efficient and allows minimal time for sewage to remain unavailable. In the event sewage causes damage with in the home relocating for a time is likely.


What is the common cause of bad sewer lines?

Tree roots are the #1 culprits. Older, clay tile pipes are most susceptible to invasion, but roots can even penetrate concrete and PVC pipes. All cast iron drainpipes wear and eventually fail. The life expectancy of a metal drainpipe is 40-60 years. If your home is with in this range and you are unsure of what condition or issues you may have, have a sewer line inspection completed.


For more information please check out Dry Pro Drain.

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Suzy Frank is an expert on Venice Real Estate as well as L.A.'s entire Westside.

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