Sewer Camera Inspection


Why Choose Us?


As a experienced Home Inspection company we provide the same unbiased professionalism you and your client have come to expect. We understand the purchasing process, particularly in this market. Many companies offering this service also do the repairs, we do not. This allows us to provide an unbiased inspection. The ability to provide the sewer scope at the same time as the home inspection, or as a stand alone inspection, makes scheduling for you and your client easier. Our unbiased objectivity, along with our understanding of the real estate transaction makes TruWay Inspections, LLC the perfect choice.


Why you should consider having your Sewer Lines Scoped.


It used to be that no one could inspect a sewer line until after a major problem occurred. One old method only offered the hope of clearing a clog using a powered sewer line snake, but it did not give much of a clue as to the cause of the problem.
 

The next option was to dig up the sewer line and replace it. Today's modern technological advances allow a camera to travel the length of the sewer line from the house to the street to look for problems. Old terracotta can shift out of place underground or have partial collapses in spots that slow drainage. Tree roots are another problem. Plastic lines can acquire a buildup of sludge narrowing the drain’ opening. All of this can be easily seen with a camera.
 

TruWay Inspections can fully inspect your sewer line for any signs of separation at pipe joints, tree roots and collapsed areas. A sewer scope camera attached to a flexible tube is inserted into the sewer line. The tube is fed along the path of the sewer line while a technician inspects the pipe and pipe joints along the sewer line’s length. The camera has a light that illuminates the interior of the pipe, and the live video is sent to a monitor that the technician looks at to diagnose any sewer line problems.
 

We can even record the video and make it available for you to view.  This not only gives you the chance to really get inside your sewer line but also can be used during the sale or inspection of your property to confirm to interested parties as to the integrity of your sewer system.
 

Modern plumbing advances offers options not available years ago. Choosing to have your sewer line inspected can catch problems that are developing that can get out of hand if left unchecked. Whereas homeowners used to only know of a problem with their sewer line when it began to run slow or became fully blocked, a sewer camera can reveal potential problems in their beginning stages. Even problems that will eventually require the sewer line replacement can be managed for a time in their beginning stages. This gives you time to prepare for inevitable repair costs rather than it being a sudden surprise.


Sewer pipes are not routinely inspected by most buyers, but based on our experience, this inspection provides cheap insurance that you won’t have an expensive repair on your hands in the future. Sewer pipes may have problems like low spots, incorrect slope, broken pipes, or offset joints that can cause slow draining or sewer backups. For homes built prior to the 1980’s, it is likely that the pipes are made of clay tile or possibly concrete. Both materials sometimes allow penetration by tree roots, which is a very common reason for sewer backups. The prudent home buyer will always have the sewer line inspected, regardless of the age of a home. A sewer backup is a potentially nasty and expensive event when you own a home. 


Sewer line repair can also be extremely expensive, as it requires a lot of excavation and potentially street/sidewalk repairs. A cheap sewer line repair can cost $5000, and once you get in to the street, it can quickly reach a $10,000-$25,000 repair, making it one of the single most expensive repairs you could face during home ownership.



What and where is your Sewer Line?


The sewer line is the pipe that exits the home and joins up with the city sewer main, usually in the middle of the street. Some of our older homes have sewer pipes that are made of clay. Sometime around the middle of the 20th century, this changed to concrete. In the late 70’s-early 80’s, builders began using plastic pipes (PVC or ABS). Clay and concrete pipes can be susceptible to cracks and tree root infiltration at the joints between section of pipes. Plastic pipes are glued together and impervious to roots. However, there can be issues with new plastic pipes as well. Cracks, pipe shifting, low spots and roots can all cause the sewer to backup into your home.


We have plenty of examples of sewer problems that we discovered in both old and new homes. The lesson here is to not necessarily trust what you are told about a sewer line, unless you have video from a recent sewer scope verifying its condition.


  • Our sellers had a sewer backup in 2003 on a house with clay pipes. They paid to have the entire line replaced and had no problems after that. They went to sell the home in 2012, and their buyer found that the last few feet of the line was still clay and was cracked. Our sellers got duped by their sewer contractor 8 years prior.


  • Our buyers were purchasing a 1911 home and were told by the seller that “we just did $10k of sewer work a couple of years ago, so it should be good.” Our own sewer scope revealed that indeed they did a lot of sewer repair, but it was only part of the line. The older parts of the line had large root infiltration and a big crack at the sewer main.


  • Our buyers purchased a home that was built in 2006. However, the builder reused the existing clay sewer line from 1911 to save costs. There were numerous breaks in the line that needed repair, even though the home itself was almost new.


  • Our buyers buying a 1960’s home in Colorado City, TX were doubtful of issues with the sewer line, given it’s age. Our inspection found a root ball clogging the line. The seller cleared it out and the buyers didn’t keep up with the maintenance and had a sewer backup a few years later when the roots grew back.


  • We had a client who just sold a home built in 2012 that had ABS plastic lines. While there were no cracks or root infiltration, there was a section of the line that was angled upwards and not flowing properly. It was filled with rocks and sediment and was a sewer backup waiting to happen.


We’ve also found new houses with plastic lines that have been crushed by trucks driving over them, or coming apart when the contractor forgot to glue a joint.


The bottom line is that sewer lines of all ages can have potential issues. Personally I would never buy a house without scoping the sewer line. If you suspect the home has clay or concrete lines, a sewer scope is a must. Even with plastic lines, we’ve found plenty of issues that need to be addressed.  The couple hundred bucks you spend on a sewer scope inspection is well worth it to avoid costly and messy repairs in the future.




A Video Is Worth A Thousand Words


When you order a sewer inspection, the inspector will snake a portable camera system into your sewer pipe and be able to see the pipe interior on his LCD monitor as it travels all the way to the sewer main. Most inspectors will be able to record this “journey down under” on a CD or video tape so that you can refer to it later. Probably the slickest part of the process is that if a problem is found, they use another piece of equipment above ground called a transponder which will pinpoint the underground location of the camera and the problem. They will mark the ground with spray paint to make it easy for a sewer contractor to locate and repair the issue.


While we strongly recommend sewer inspections for many home purchases, we also caution you about using a drain/plumbing company to perform the inspection. Most drain companies pay their employees large commissions (could be as high as 25-40%) for any new work that they source. Guess what, if your inspector thinks he can make a commission, he may exaggerate the issues he finds and lead you to believe that you need to pay for unnecessary work. If possible, we recommend using a third-party inspection service who is not paid for any repairs after the inspection. An experienced real estate agent should be able to help you find a qualified inspector.



Signs of Sewer Problems


An important thing to note is the only time there is water in your sewer lines is when you run water or flush the toilet. Your sewer system is designed to run on gravity meaning the pipes are installed at a slight decline. Anytime you run water in your house or flush the toilet, the water drains with gravity’s help down through the system, out to the main sewer line, and eventually to the city lines.


Sometimes you know you have a sewer line break because you can smell foul odors or you have a sewage back-up in your home. It is important to pinpoint the exact location of the break in your sewer line. Often times the break can be on the city side of the sewer line and knowing this can save you thousands of dollars in repairs. Simply sharing a copy of your sewer line video with the city inspector can solve the problem. I can make a copy of your sewer scope video on a thumb drive so that you always have a copy for your insurance company, realtor or city inspector. 


Backups or Overflows – If water backs up or overflows when you flush the toilet or turn on and run water, it’s most likely you have a clog somewhere in in your sewer system. Because a sewer system is designed to run on gravity, if there is something blocking or clogging a sewer pipe, there’s nowhere for the water to go but back up and overflow out of your drain or toilet.


Slow Drains – If a sink, tub, or shower is slow to drain, you might have a partial clog which, if not addressed, could turn into a full stoppage or clog.


Cracks in Walls and Foundation – If you have a sewer leak or a broken sewer pipe, whenever water runs through the pipe, some of it escapes into the soil surrounding the pipes and under your foundation. Because the soil in North Texas expands as it gets wet and contracts as it dries, water soaks into the soil like a sponge.


As a result, the expanding soil can cause your foundation’s slab to heave or push up. However, if the leak is severe enough and present for long enough, it is possible the soil could erode very slowly by leaching back into the broken sewer line causing the slab to drop.


Either of these can cause foundation issues/problems resulting in cracks in your walls or foundation. It could also show up as any of the following:



Uneven or sloping floors

Cracks in exterior or interior brick

Displaced or cracked moldings

Wall rotation

Bowing of walls

Cracks in floor or floor tiles

Doors and windows won’t open or close properly

Separation of doors, windows, and garage doors

Spaces between wall and ceiling or floor

Walls separating from house



Reasons for a Sewer Video Inspection


As part of regular service or repair, a sewer scope can minimize additional expenses. Once the plumber locates a blockage or source of damage, the pro can use a transmitter in the camera to identify its position on the property. This information limits the amount of excavating the plumber must do, making the repairs quicker and less damaging to your landscaping.


Clogged Drain Line


The cost to clear a drain runs about $130 to $290, depending on the depth of the clog. A sewer camera inspection may be necessary to locate the blockage, if plumbers cannot seem to resolve the clog by cleaning out the P-trap or running a snake down the line.


Broken or Damaged Pipes


A sewer camera inspection gives you the precise location of any cracked, broken or damaged parts. Older pipework is prone to breakage over time. Without obvious signs of a leak or blockage, you may not know that your plumbing needs repair.


Tree, Stone or Foreign Object Sewer Penetration


Repairing a drain line breakage costs about $600, but you must know where it is. Over time, tree roots, rocks or other objects can invade your pipework. Once a pipe cracks or becomes separated from the line, it needs prompt repair. The longer your plumbing sits, the higher the chance of disruption.


Object Retrieval


A sewer scope inspection is often the most effective way to locate lost items in your pipes. Most of the time, objects that fall into your plumbing get stuck only a couple of feet down the drain. Precious items, like a ring, are easy to drop into a sink or flush down a toilet by accident. The camera allows a plumber to figure out where it is for faster retrieval. 



Contact TruWay Inspections to have your sewer line inspected by a fully trained and experienced technician before problems begin at (432) 664-2181 today! Midland, Tx and Surrounding areas.




Sewer Camera Inspection, Midland Texas

Sewer Camera Inspection, Midland Texas