Although home inspections are routinely conducted in advance of the sale of a residential property, home buyers may not realize that they need to invest in a detailed sewer inspection as well. Home inspections are not required to include the connection between a home and the city sewer line, and thorough sewer camera inspection may reveal cracked, broken pipes that can require extensive repair.
Thankfully, professional sewer camera inspection and sewer line repair is simpler than ever before. Contractors can install new pipe liners into existing sewer systems with minimal disruption and can also use pressurized water to flush pipes in advance of beginning repairs. Older homes often use clay pipes to connect to city water supplies, which are particularly vulnerable to tree root intrusion and breakage.
Furthermore, older sewers may have been installed at an incorrect angle; sewer camera inspection can help potential home buyers determine the extent of necessary repairs. Some homes that were built in and around the 1950s actually have sewer pipes made from a type of tar paper: obviously, the potential for blockage and disintegration is higher in pipes made from clay, tar paper, and even from concrete.
Older homes also carry a high risk of contamination from lead: sewer systems with lead-based joining material can actively leach contaminants into groundwater and into the soil surrounding a home. Installing new pipe liners into a home’s water system can provide protection from rust and lead; sewer camera inspection can also be done on residential water plumbing systems to check for disrepair and leakage.
Problems with residential water leakage are much more widespread than home buyers may realize: if a monthly water bill is $100, approximately 15% could be leaking into the ground. Water leakage can undermine concrete foundations and can cause mold blooms in basements and in walls; visual home inspections can assure that foundations are in good condition, but too many homeowners find themselves faced with major repairs after paperwork is already formally transferred.
In the event of a major sewer or water line issue, insurance companies may cover cleanup costs but often do not provide coverage for repair costs. Home buyers who take the time to contract for sewer and water line inspections know that investing in a comprehensive, professional evaluation in advance of purchase could save them tens of thousands of dollars in unplanned repairs in the first five years of owning their new homes.