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  • Writer's pictureMike Diehl

Sewer line inspection or not?

I hear a lot of people say, we don't want a sewer line inspection. They say, the home is new, or the sellers have never had a sewer back-up; whatever the excuse, they never can say, the sewer line is in good shape. Why? because they just don't know. That's why I recommend a sewer line inspection with any home purchase of any age.


I have seen enough sewer line inspections to know, that problems don't announce themselves. And, a lot of times, the previous owner has never had a sewer line inspection performed, and therefore, they aren't aware of any problems. But, unless you have a sewer line inspection performed, you are rolling the dice.


Sewer line defects range from, low areas or root intrusions, to collapsed pipes. And repairs can be relatively inexpensive to over $10,000. We had a family member purchase a home in Des Moines several years ago. On a very small budget, she borrowed money to even come up with enough to make the down payment. After moving in, she was shocked one day when she saw her basement flooded. She later found out the sewer line had failed. It was made from an antiquated material called "Orangeburg piping". It had started to collapse due to age and material. The sewer line had to be dug up and replaced, the bill was over $10,000. Imagine, your first home, living paycheck to paycheck and this happening.


A sewer line inspection would have shown the material and the condition of the piping, and she could have arranged for the line to have been replaced or repaired before taking ownership.


This was the case with a home built around the 1940's. But problems can exist in homes built last year. We have seen issues with faulty installation causing problems. Take a drive around a new develop sometime and look at the street in front of the homes. Do you see any that have areas of repair in front of the home? It's highly likely that a sewer line has been repaired. We have seen it.


So, before you assume that the underground, not visible sewer line on the home you are wanting to purchase is "good", you may want to pay a few hundred more to find out for sure and escape the huge expensive later of having the line repaired or replaced. A sewer line inspection is cheap insurance against a very hefty expense, that you could have had negotiated yourself out of in the first place.



sewer line inspection
Sewer line inspection


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