Before a house is bought on the real estate market, home inspections are done to ensure the properties don't have any problems. And even though most home inspections are quite thorough, the inspectors cannot assess every nook and cranny. One thing that is definitely hidden and can fall into disrepair is the sewer line. While home inspectors may ensure that the plumbing system is up to par, they may not be able to determine if there are serious issues underground in the sewer lines, particularly in older homes. Here's what you need to know about sewer lines before you purchase an older home:
Why are sewer line problems a concern in older homes?
According to Realtor, older homes that were built before the 1930s and through the 1950s commonly have sewer line problems due to having sewer lines being made out of clay or cast iron. Lines made from cast iron are susceptible to corrosion, and clay is a material that can become brittle over time and break, particularly when tree roots put pressure on the lines.
When sewer lines are faulty, water can easily leak out of the lines and into the ground. Tree roots naturally grow towards water sources, which makes faulty sewer lines more susceptible to further infiltration of tree roots. At some point, the tree roots could clog the sewer lines. Unfortunately, this damage would usually not affect the functioning of the sewer system during a home inspection. Problems may not arise until the new homeowner takes a long shower or uses a washing machine or dishwasher.
How can a sewer line be inspected before buying a home?
Since a home inspection will not delve deep into the sewer lines, it's a good idea for you to hire a video sewer inspection service to perform a visual inspection of the sewer lines before you buy an older home. This type of system uses a small video camera that will be inserted into the sewer lines. A monitor will be used to watch the video.
The plumber can navigate the camera to inspect the condition of it, determine what material the sewer lines are made of, and recommend any further appropriate action to prevent or repair issues, if necessary. You can then use the sewer line inspection report as a negotiating tool during closing contract negotiations should the plumber find that the sewer lines are in disrepair.