No home emergency repair is worse than a backed-up sewer line. The costs can be extensive, sewage comes with added health concerns, and like any major home repair, it can occur without obvious warning and at the worst possible time. But trouble with your main sewer or septic line doesn’t have to be an unexpected surprise, says Dwayne Boggs, of Thurston County-based Boggs Inspection Services, which is why he and his team offer sewer scopes and septic line inspections.
A sewer scope requires specialized equipment and training. “We run a special camera the length of the pipe from your home to the sewer line connection at the street,” says Dwayne. During the inspection, water is run through the pipe so the inspector can see the drainage in real-time. The inspection can help uncover a number of issues.
What’s Going on in There?
One of the most common findings is root intrusion. Even the slightest leak between connections can invite root intrusion by nearby trees. When the tree roots locate the water and nutrient source from the leak, they begin directing their energy to grow towards the source. As the roots grow, they push their way into crevices offsetting the pipe and filling the pipe with dirt rocks and organic material. Likely, you won’t even notice this occurring. After all, who would be concerned about healthy, thriving trees? The end result is either a broken line or one that has been completely blocked by roots.
The scope can also uncover several other concerns. Besides root intrusion, inspectors are looking for misaligned or offset connection points; leaking at the joints; cracked pipes or corrosion; and “bellied” or sagging pipes. Poor connections, leaking, and sagging pipelines can be caused by ground shifting or settlement that occurs over time. Corrosion has several causes and presentations and will worsen over time. Broken or cracked pipes have many causes. Driving or parking large vehicles over the line can be one cause.
Oftentimes there are few, if any, warning signs before catastrophic failure. Partially blocked lines can cause slow drainage. Cracks and corrosion can cause spongy areas in the lawn with poor drainage. “You don’t want to wait until these major signs and symptoms of a problem occur,” says Dwayne. The small cost of an inspection is a great investment in peace of mind. Homes of all ages can benefit from a sewer scope or septic line inspection. “We strongly recommend a scope in any home that is more than 20-years-old,” he adds.
Saving Time and Money
Most home inspectors refer their customers out to a separate inspector for sewer scopes and septic lines. Boggs Inspection Services found it was a great benefit to offer the added-on service to their customers. So, a few years back every inspector went through specialized training, and since that time, new inspectors receive the training as well. “Our customers find it more convenient to get the scope done at the same time as their inspection, instead of having to schedule it out separately.” Not only does it save time, but customers also save money if they book the sewer scope in conjunction with their home inspection.
Light at the End of the Tunnel
Customers will receive a detailed report with video and photos, as well as recommendations for any actions that should be taken, both over the short and long term. Even if your sewer line inspection isn’t as squeaky clean as you may have hoped, not every inspection finding is a worst-case scenario. Identifying problems early often allows for less expensive repairs over a planned timeline, rather than the knee-jerk reaction that comes when busted lines and blockages result in pooling sewage in your home or yard. Some problems can be mitigated with regular maintenance. And depending on the severity of the damage, repair costs of the line can often negotiate into the purchase price if you are in the process of buying the home.
If you are interested in buying a home, consider adding on a sewer scope or septic line inspection before you purchase. Or if you live in a home, but never had the line inspected when you purchased, or it has been quite some time since that inspection was performed, consider having a new inspection. Give Boggs Inspection Services a call at 360.480.9602 or visit them on the Boggs Inspection Services website.