Buying a house is a scary and exciting proposition! It is a major investment and of course, you want to make sure you are buying a house without hidden issues. As the new homeowner, you have certainly evaluated the house to see if it will fit your needs and maybe even looked at the visible systems such as heating and cooling or if a water filtration system is present. Luckily, home inspectors are there to explore and dig deep into all areas of the house. Have you ever stopped to think about what they look for in the plumbing system? In particular, what do they do with drains and the sewer system? Well, if you want these questions answered, you are in luck! In this article, we look at what inspectors do and the steps they take during a house inspection.
Step 1. Determine Type of Drain Pipe Used
The first thing that an inspector will do is figure out what type of drain pipe was used. Possible options include, but are not limited to, PEX, PVC, copper, APS, galvanized steel, and cast iron. The sewer pipe will be either PVC or clay. PVC has been used instead of clay since 1980.
Step 2. Analyze Pipe for Age
It is important to know when the drain pipe and sewer line was constructed. The time to failure depends on the material used for the drain pipe. Clay sewer pipes will last for anywhere from 50 to 60 years while PVC pipes will last for around 100 years.
Step 3. Look for Blocks in Line
The inspector will look for any root branches or other structures that could impede the sewer line. This is an incomplete assessment of blocks because in a standard inspection, sending a snake into the drain system and plumbing pipes are not included. If your home is more than 20 years old, consider getting a separate sewer inspection in addition to the regular inspection.
Step 4. Use a Camera
After the regular inspector takes those first three steps, the sewer inspector will come with a camera that can travel through the pipes. This provides much more definitive information as to if the sewer line has potential troublesome clogs and the overall condition of the sewer.
Step 5. Report Information
After all of these steps are taken, you, as the prospective homebuyer, will have all of the information you need to make a decision on the state of the sewer line. You can inspect this extra inspection to cost anywhere from $85 to $300 dollars. However, if a problem is found in the sewer line after you close on the house, the cost will be much higher to fix whatever smelly issue arises!
It is important to realize that the actions of the home inspector are not foolproof. The typical time that an inspector spends at a house will be 2-4 hours. Problems might not make themselves visible in that period of time. That is why having a specialized sewer inspector come out is never a bad idea. Hopefully, now you have a deeper understanding of when and why to perform a sewer and drain inspection on your targeted property.