A plumbing camera inspection can detect whether you’re dealing with a tree root infiltration; a broken, cracked or collapsed pipe; major blockage of grease, sediment or paper; or sagging pipe causing buildup & eventually blockage.
A Sewer Camera Inspection is outside the scope of a general home inspection and NOT included, it is offered as an additional service for a fee.
Typically sewer lines are installed under the foundation of your house. There’s the concrete slab which is about 4 or 5 five inches thick and then about 2 feet or so of dirt above the pipe. To inspect the pipes and find possible problems, a special sewer video camera head connected to a flexible cable is inserted into the main sewer line cleanout, or in some cases, the vent stack and snaked through the pipes. Then the plumber watches on a monitor at ground level to see what’s going on in your pipes.
Despite what many in the plumbing industry think, there are limitations to what a sewer camera sees inside your sewer lines. A sewer camera alone cannot determine if you have a leak or to locate a leak or leaks in your sewer lines. In fact, this is so important, it bears repeating. While it’s useful as a secondary tool in a leak location test, a sewer camera by itself cannot be used to determine if you have a leak or to find a leak. While a sewer camera cannot find leaks, there are certain situations where the camera alone is effective. Sewer cameras have location devices that send out a signal. Using a special signal receiver above ground, our plumbers pinpoint where the camera is underground.
Sewer pipes work using the power of gravity. The pipes flow downhill so when something goes into the pipe—waste, debris, water—it flows or drains down through your piping system and ultimately ends up at your city’s waste treatment center or septic tank, depending on your particular situation. However, if something is causing your system to not work properly, in most cases we can use a sewer camera to determine what is causing it. Often in cases like these we find stoppages, blockages, roots, mud, broken pipe, etc. With a sewer camera, we can also see fittings, tee’s, and other types of connection. We can also use it at the connections to run water. We’re able to see where the water flows to or from and/or comes from one line to another.
Most homeowners assume the city is responsible for sewer lines near or past the public street, but that is seldom true. Property owners are responsible for upper and lower lateral lines that connect from their house to the city’s sewer lines. The city is responsible for that connection and onto the city’s sewer main and lines. Unfortunately, property owners tend to learn this information too late, after receiving a bill for thousands of dollars for repairs. Knowing what you are and are not responsible for can help you save money in the long run. The best way to determine which is to consult your local government or utility company.
Most city municipalities require property owners to maintain, repair, and handle their sewer line replacements. That includes both the upper and lower lateral lines. Because you are responsible for the maintenance of these drains/sewer lines, any collapses or damage caused by neglect or misuse are the homeowner’s responsibility and are usually not covered by insurance – you’ll have to pay for repairs yourself. Remember, only licensed sewer contractors can conduct residential sewer repairs or sewer cleaning.
Some common issues include:
Blockages, especially from improper items getting flushed or old sewer systems