If you're thinking of buying a house that has a plumbing system that's several decades old, you may want a camera inspection done first. While a home inspection gives you a general idea of the condition of a house before you buy it, a typical inspection does not involve looking in the sewer line with a camera. Here are three types of damage a camera sewer line inspection can reveal.
1. If The Pipes Are Corroded
Plumbing pipes fail when they're old enough. Replacing a bad sewer line is expensive, and if you do it by having the old line dugout, the process disrupts your property too. A camera inspection examines the insides of the sewer pipe so you can see if it's corroded, cracked, or collapsed in any area.
You probably don't want to buy a house with a sewer pipe that's collapsed and leaking, or if you do, then you want to know upfront how much you'll need to pay for repairs so you can factor that into how much you're willing to pay for the house.
2. Signs Of Root Trouble
If the property has a history of roots in the sewer line, you may not know it, especially if the owner had the line snaked out recently. If tree roots are working their way in the pipe through joints or cracks, you'll see the roots on a camera inspection. Roots can be big problems for sewer lines since they keep coming back, and you may have an ongoing problem with tree roots after you buy the house.
3. Evidence Of Damage From Soil Shifting
Soil shifting is the main cause of sewer pipe damage. Earth movement from an earthquake might be to blame, but a common reason is simply shifting from water causing the soil to move. If soil swells or contracts, or if a void forms under the pipe, the pipe might shift and come loose at a joint, crack, or collapse. Just like damage from roots and corrosion, you want to know about issues with soil movement and consider if you want to pass on buying the home.
A camera sewer line inspection can't see the outside of the pipe, but it can see the sides of the pipe from the inside. The camera has a light that allows you to see clogs and damage. This information is helpful when you're deciding whether to buy a house.
You may love the house, but if you can't get the owner to repair a problem with the sewer line, you may want to avoid buying it if you'll be looking at costly repairs once you move in.