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  • Writer's pictureInsideOutNB

Sewer Scope Inspections: A Guide For Homeowners

Updated: Nov 15, 2022

Sewer line damage can have devastating consequences for a home, including both health and structural issues. Fortunately, homeowners and buyers can be proactive by having a sewer scope inspection. A trained and certified inspector will examine the sewer line using specialized camera equipment to identify issues. They will also provide a thorough inspection report with findings and recommendations. Here is everything you need to know about sewer scope inspection, and what sewer line issues and risks to look out for.

What Is A Sewer Scope Inspection?

A sewer scope inspection employs a camera attached to a flexible cable to investigate a home's sewer line. Sewer scope inspection can identify issues such as pipe damage, blockages, and other potential problems. It can also locate potential problem areas before they evolve into more severe problems or hazards. Following the inspection, customers will receive a document detailing the findings and suggestions. This gives homeowners, home buyers, and home sellers the opportunity to act before significant damage, health concerns, or costly repairs occur.

Sewage Exposure May Cause Health Risks

Sewer line damage or blockage can cause sewage to back up into the home. This water contains various biological hazards that can lead to intestinal, lung, and other infections. The moisture also provides the perfect conditions for mold to grow. Additionally, if backups go unnoticed, the issues can spread and expose people in the home to further health risks.

Some Potential Health Risks:

  • Bacteria in sewage can cause diseases such as E-coli, typhoid fever, salmonella, and cholera. Symptoms of bacteria exposure include diarrhea, fever, cramps, vomiting, headache, and weakness.

  • Funguses such as aspergillus grow in compost and can cause allergic symptoms and make asthma worse.

  • Parasites found in sewage include roundworm and giardia lamblia. These parasites cause diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, and fever.

  • Sewage can contain viruses like hepatitis A, which causes liver disease.

  • Harmful gases include carbon dioxide, methane, chlorine, nitrous oxide, hydrogen sulfide, and sulfur dioxide. These gases can lead to a lack of oxygen in the home, causing sickness, disorientation, and even death.

  • Mold spores can be extremely dangerous, especially to people with preexisting respiratory issues. They can cause or increase the severity of respiratory problems, as well as eye or skin irritation.

Damaged Sewage Lines May Cause Structural Issues

Blocked and damaged sewer lines can potentially cause extensive structural damage. Basements and flooring are especially vulnerable to sewage exposure, as well as structural beams and support systems in the home. Unless the damaged lines are discovered early, the damage can be very expensive to repair or restore.

Some Potential Structural Issues:

  • Flooding in your home: Sewer backups can cause flooding in your home, damaging the building and your belongings.

  • Flooding in your yard: If a sewer line beneath your property leaks, septic waste can pool and create flooding.

  • Sinkholes and indentations on property: Damaged sewer pipes beneath your property saturate the soil, which can lead to sinkholes or indentations in the land or pavement.

  • Foundation problems: Underground leaks near your foundation can cause heaving, and cracks in your foundation.

  • Mold growth: Damaged sewage pipes can leak into your walls and create the perfect conditions for mold to grow and thrive.

(Left) Mismatched pipe materials, likely replaced separately throughout the history of the home.

Getting a Sewer Scope can help you determine the vitality of the plumbing system in your home, and can help prevent expensive repairs & health risks later.

5 Main Causes of Damaged Sewer Lines
  1. Roots: This is the most common issue for sewer line blockage. Fast growing tree roots find their way in through the smallest cracks to feed off water and nutrients within sewer pipes. Having regular sewer scope inspections can help identify signs of root damage early and save on more expensive repairs later on.

  2. Settling: Sewer lines that are located in an unsupportive or poorly built trench can begin to sag over time. This creates a spot called a belly where sewage can build up and create blockages.

  3. Ground shifting: Naturally occurring events such as excavating or seismic activity can cause the ground to shift. This can result in misaligning sewer lines, no matter how well they were first laid.

  4. Inferior pipe materials: Older homes are often equipped with pipe clay or concrete pipes. These materials are much more prone to problems than the plastic pipes used in newer homes. A sewer scope inspection can detect inferior pipe materials and raise potential concerns for future issues.

  5. Poor installation: Unfortunately, sometimes sewer lines are poorly installed. Improperly fitted connections and severe angles along the pipes are among some of the most common issues. If your home sewer line is poorly installed, it's important to identify this and make repairs as soon as possible.

A Professional Sewer Scope Inspection Can Help Mitigate Your Risks

The risks a damaged sewer line poses can become increasingly worse over time. A professional Sewer Scope Inspection by a certified Sewer Scope Inspector can help you discover potential issues early on. Early detection and following intervention is the best way to prevent long term, and expensive, damage to your home (or a home you're looking to buy).

Warning Signs To Watch For
  • Pungent Odors (Sewer Smell)

  • Backed up drainage

  • Slow draining fixtures

  • Insect infestations e extra greens

  • Insect infestation

  • Rat problems

  • Foundation/structural issues

  • Mold growth

A Sewer Scope Inspection - How It Works

First, running water will be flushed through your home's sewer lines. This sill provide a freshly lubricated surface that will help ensure the camera doesn't get caught on debris remaining in the sewer lines. it will also help the camera "float" through the pipes, making it easier to observe more during your inspection.

Next, the best access point will be located and the inspector will thoroughly check the camera equipment for accuracy and operational capability. your inspector will begin by checking for leaks around the access point location.

Your inspector will then push the camera system through the sewer lines and observe inside the pipes for obstructions, damage, leaks, and any potential hazards. Your certified inspector will then be able to evaluate any risks or damage and provide recommendations to remedy those issues.

Where To Get A Sewer Scope Inspection?

To be sure your sewer lines are inspected properly the first time, you need to rely on a certified and qualified inspection professional with experience in the field. We offer an excellent Sewer Scope Inspection at a very competitive price! Just $299, and only $199.99 if paired with a Home Inspection! Learn More > or Book Now >


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