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Sewer lateral line inspections are important

Sewer lateral line inspections are a common add-on service to a home or commercial property inspection. Sewage backups within the home, or repairs to the underground pipe that takes waste away from the home can be expensive which makes knowing the condition of the line an important factor in the purchase of a property.

During a sewer lateral line inspection, a camera is used to take a video of the main line running under the home and out to the public sewer main. The camera views the interior of the pipe to see if it is allowing waste material to flow freely away from the home. The most common conditions that are found are

  • Natural erosion from the wastewater on older pipe materials or through broken joints.
  • Pipe corrosion, calcification, and scale build up.
  • Shifting soil that separates joints or creates low spots where material may sit in the line.
  • Tree root intrusion through the joints where pipe sections meet.

Materials that have been used over the years for sewer piping include wood fiber or tar paper composites, clay, iron, PVC, and HDPE. Until the invention of the sewer scope camera, the only way to know a pipe was deteriorating is when it failed and waste material backed up into a home. While drain cleaners can sometimes clear a small clog the corrosive materials often do more long term damage than good.

Sewer lateral line inspections for a residential home will typically cost between $200-$400 and commercial properties will be dependent upon the size of the property and number of sewer stacks that are accessible. When trouble is found in a sewer lateral line, the repair can be as simple as having the line cleaned out by a professional, however serious problems may require the replacement of the line. This means digging down 4-12 feet in the yard and street to expose the old pipe and replace it with new material. This can cost thousands of dollars. Some municipalities have created support programs to help homeowners cover the cost of sewer line repairs. It may be a percentage of the repair, it may be that they cover the portion of the line that runs from the property line to the main line, or it may cover the full length from the main line to the foundation wall. Check to see if your municipality has a program and what those details may be as you may need to opt-in to participate in the program before you have a loss.

When ordering your home inspection, we always recommend adding sewer lateral line inspections. The more you know, the better decisions you will make. Below is a picture of a lateral line under a home slab that is undergoing repairs after the cast iron rusted away.

Evergreen Property Inspectors is a member of ASHI, InterNACHI, and in the State of Illinois which has a licensing program we are properly licensed for home inspection and radon measurement services. Evergreen has inspectors living around the St. Louis area in Missouri and Metro-East Illinois where we provide residential and commercial property inspections for clients looking to live or invest in our region. Contact us to book our services. Click on our Resources tab to view the standards of practice followed by our home inspectors.

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