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Why Is a Sewer Inspection Critical Before Buying a House?

by | Mar 24, 2022 | Atlantic Building Inspections, Blog, Home Improvement, Home Maintenance

Buying your biggest asset – your home can be a challenging task, especially when there are many inspections required to make the right decision. Checks become extremely necessary to find existing or potential issues. Inspections can be done for the exteriors, ducts, plumbing, etc. The reports identify problems that can be repaired or replaced and later adjusted during negotiations. Unfortunately, many people tend to ignore the sewer lines, which can be an expensive repair in the future.

Sewer system issues might get overlooked easily because of two main reasons. Firstly, most of them are underground, making it difficult to see and identify them. Secondly, fewer home inspectors may have the proper knowledge and tools to handle this inspection. The exhaustive systems to be checked and the specific equipment needed may make it difficult for every home inspector to be a pro in this field. It is often not considered that sewer lines are an extension of the plumbing system, and serious problems can spur after the house purchase if not checked during the inspection.

Reasons Why You Need a Sever Inspection

These are extremely important and should be a part of the house inspection checklist. The main reason is that sewer inspections can be affordable, but the repairs can be costly if the problem gets out of hand. The repair can be for something small like a blockage or can be huge, like replacing the pipes. The cost will mainly depend on the root cause, problem location, and the current state of the sewer line.

Sewer problems can creep in anytime, and the repairs can be a huge task. There can be a horrible smell in your basement, gurgling noises from the drains, or slow-running toilets for a long time. But suddenly, there’s a possibility that you won’t be able to flush the toilets, and there might be backflows in the bathrooms and basement. And when you call the plumber, it seems like there is a blockage in the whole line. It might need significant steps like digging out your driveway, etc. In addition, the bills can be exorbitant.

The Major Causes of Sewer Line Blockages

Tree Roots

Roots can be the most prominent problem creators in blocking the lines. Roots can grow from the smallest cracks and force their way through. They get the perfect source of water and nutrients hence can overgrow. These can be easily removed from the pipes at a minimal cost if found early.

Ground Shifting

Ground shifting can happen due to several reasons, like excavations happening nearby or changes in the groundwater table. The shifting ground issues can be quickly revealed in an inspection. However, if there is pipe blockage, it will need expensive repairs and digs.


Sometimes, the lines are incorrectly placed in compacted or supported trenches that might sink and create low spots. Also known as bellies in plumbing, this can create stagnancy and may cause slow sludge buildup, which can later lead to blockages. These are common but can only be solved by expensive treatments like excavating and repositioning.

Interior Pipe Materials

New homes have plastic pipes, but older houses were connected with concrete or clay tiles, which could crack over time. During the inspection, you will be informed about such inferior quality pipes.

Poor Installation

There might be cases where the installation was done with bad techniques like poorly fittings or improper joints and extreme angles.

The Process of Repairing

Blocked or damaged sewer lines can be repaired in two ways.

1. Internal interdiction – It includes a camera inspection of what the problem is and its location. The camera will detect how far away the blockage is from the insertion point, and a sonar transponder will detect its location and depth. If the piping system is sound, the blockage can be removed physically by mechanical cutters or washed out with high-pressure water. These methods can be affordable.

2. External interdiction – There can only be one solution if the report shows serious problems like poorly constructed pipes. It will need the excavation of the whole area to restore the lines, which can be very expensive.

Both these can be detected in a sewer inspection. Hence, make sure to get your new purchase inspected by a reputed company. Atlantic Building Inspections can videotape the sewer pipes and send you the video with comments and information. With a clean report, the reassurance you’ll get can be extremely good for your peace of mind and will not burn a hole in your pockets later!