Why you need a sewer scope inspection

Why You Need a Sewer Scope Inspection

When we walk into the yard of a home, we have no idea what is happening underground. A sewer scope inspection is a great way to see if there are any issues. These inspections run about $150-275. Using a specialized camera, a professional can tell you if there are any issues, and hopefully tell you early before it is too expensive.  Let’s take a look at why this is important, what it is, signs it is necessary, risks of not doing one, and cast iron drain lawsuits.

Why this is important

Sewer lines are underground and not anything we can see without a specialized camera.  It is one of the most costly repairs on a home, ranging from $250-300 per foot of repaired line.  That is a lot! Unfortunately, the sewer line is something that is in use every day in the home and it is important to keep it functioning properly.

What is a Sewer Scope Inspection

A sewer scope inspection involves a home inspector taking a specialized camera and running it through the sewer to look at the sewer line.  The sewer line connects the house and foundation to the city sewer line or HOA tap.  The images that the camera pulls up, show on a monitor.  This will show the inspector what the line looks like, as well as if there are any cracks, broken line, or obstructions. How long does this take?  About an hour, so not too long.

Here Are a Few Signs You Need a Sewer Scope Inspection:

1. You see lush patches or extra green grass

Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean someone painted your grass for you, but could perhaps be a sewer leak contributing to it.  Sewer water that leaks out fertilizes the grass and causes this to happen.  It makes it an easy sign to look for when you are walking around the yard of the home you are thinking about purchasing. 

2. Large trees in the yard

Depending on where you are looking for a home, you could be blessed with large trees in the yard.  However, these can be a curse instead of a blessing and more of a reason to have a sewer scope inspection done.  Unfortunately, these tall trees have roots that can grow into the sewer line or wrap around it and break it.  A sewer scope can pick this up to see if it is indeed going on.

3. Home is more than 25 years old

It is nice when you can find a home that is this old, as they have character and look great.  However, be careful about pipes that were made of clay in homes built before and in 1984.  The clay pipes are easily crushed and need to be examined to make sure they are not cracked or broken.  If your home does not have the clay pipes, maybe it has copper?  Look at the home inspection report to see what type of material your pipes are made of.  Even if they are copper pipes, they don’t last forever and inspection and/ or replacing are needed.

4. Water backing up in the home

When this happens, it could be a clog in the drain or it could be an issue with the sewer. You might think that the city should be responsible for the sewer line, but they aren’t – except for the main sewer line.  This starts past your property boundariesUnfortunately, the homeowner is responsible for the lower and upper lateral lines, which are the other parts of the sewer line on the owner’s property.  Call a professional to do a proper diagnosis.

5. Shifting or movement of the ground

This is also another sign that there is a problem with the sewer. Unfortunately, moving soil or ground can also open up a sinkhole.  If you see this, you will want to have a professional come out right away.

The inspector will look for the following in a sewer scope inspection:

  1. The type of material that makes up the pipes.
  2. Any cracks or damage to the lines
  3. Tree roots growing through the lines
  4. Damage or issues to the septic (if there is one on the property)

Once the sewer scope inspection is done, the professional makes a report for you about the findings.  If you are buying a home, this report will be made to the seller’s realtor.  If issues are found, you will need to discuss them with the realtor.

Here is an example of one our Sewer Scope Inspections

Risks of Not Doing a Sewer Scope Inspection

You risk having issues in the home that could be costly later.  Also, you risk buying a home that may have high repair costs just waiting for you.  It is better to have the inspection done than to regret not doing it later.

Cast iron drain lawsuits
Cast iron drains

Cast Iron Drain Lawsuits

These drains were used in homes built before 1975 and in optimal weather climates, last about 50-75 years. However, many of these drains are failing and causing damage, especially in the southern states.  The insurance companies say it is “wear and tear” so they don’t give the homeowner much for the repair and won’t insure or replace them.  Morgan and Morgan have been helping homeowners with getting what they deserve in lawsuits as the insurance companies are not insuring what is under the slab and what is not visible.

What if Cast Iron Drains Are Not Replaced?

  1. Damage to the home and yard with puddles and leaking sewage
  2. Clogging of sinks and toilets
  3. Health and safety risks with animals in the lines and contaminated water in the home
Order a sewer scope inspection even when buying a new home
Sewer scope camera and inspection

Order a Sewer Scope Inspection Even When Buying a New home

It is a good idea to think about a sewer scope inspection when you are purchasing a new home.  You may be thinking that sounds unnecessary- new home, clean line.  However, new homes are built very quickly and often have drain line issues.  You have no idea sometimes what ends up in the drain lines, or what someone puts in the drain lines until you have a clog in the pipes in your home.

It is not part of a home inspection but you can often add it on and bundle for a better price.  It never hurts to ask the home inspection company as they will be the ones doing the home inspection and sewer scope inspection.


A sewer scope gives you peace of mind and also allows you to know what is going on in the home.  The camera is amazing and as mentioned above, will show you everything going on in the sewer system. Most people would say that they would rather have the knowledge early on about potential issues and fix them than let it go on too long and be higher repairs later.  If you have questions about sewer scope inspections or the sewer lines, leave us a reply below so we can help, or learn more about our sewer scope inspections.

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