It is a fairly common practice to spend the time, money, and effort to get a formal inspection of a home or building before you buy it. Equally as important, yet not as common, is a sewer inspection.
Problems in Your Pipes
If you are buying a home that is older than 20 years, Roto-Rooter plumbers and many real estate agents alike recommend an inspection. A couple of typical problems that interfere with your lines are tree roots and old pipes.
Tree roots: When tree roots are little, they can find their way into a small seam or crack in your pipes. As time goes on, the root grows and blocks the pipe. It effectively acts as a net, trapping all sorts of debris such as egg shells, grease, peelings, clothing lint, etc. In addition, tree roots can damage pipes. Your home doesn't need to be very old to suffer from problems with tree roots.
Older pipes: If your home was built in the 1950s or earlier, the pipes may have been made out of something other than PCV. In some homes, cast iron pipes have calcified minerals built up causing blockage that no rooter can break through. In other homes, Orangeburg pipes were used that have now disintegrated or collapsed.
Video Camera Inspection
The most effective way to ensure you don't have plumbing problems is to call a plumber to conduct a video camera inspection. A video camera is attached to a flexible rod and can be inserted into your pipes. As it travels, it transmits images of the inside of your pipes. You can watch these images real-time on a monitor. It will show you exactly what condition your pipes are in and the exact location of any problems that it may find. The images can be recorded so you can refer back to them for repairs or for negotiation purposes with the seller.
Save Money and a Huge Headache
When you are buying a home, it can feel like you are expected to put out money at every little turn. Adding the cost of a sewer inspection to your growing list of expenditures may not be your favorite option. However, resist the temptation to ignore the inspection. A video camera inspection of your sewers lines will cost a few hundred dollars. However, when you compare that to the expense of paying thousands of dollars to replace or repair your plumbing lines, that amount looks small, indeed.
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