Protect Yourself with a Sewer Inspection before Buying a Home

Protect Yourself with a Sewer Inspection before Buying a Home

When you are buying a home in Harrisburg, Roto-Rooter along with many real estate agents, recommends that you hire a plumbing company to conduct a sewer inspection before you make your final purchase.

Problems with Sewer Lines

It is true that there are not as many problems with sewer lines in homes that are newer. However, if the home is older than 20 years, we recommend that you get it looked at before buying. It is essential that you get your lines looked at if the home was built in the 1950s or earlier. Some typical problems you will find in these older homes include the following:


  • Tree roots that have broken through a seam and trapped debris such as eggshells, grease, and hair
  • Tree roots that continue to come back and damage the pipes
  • Cast iron pipes that have rusted or become calcified from minerals in the water
  • Orangeburg pipes that have disintegrated or collapsed

Inspect for Problems

You don't need to leave this inspection strictly to your inspector. There are several different things you can do yourself to ensure you are not buying a home with problems in the sewer pipes. If you find any problems, make sure that you negotiate for a repair or compensation as part of the sale. Some quick inspection tips include the following:

  • Turn on all faucets and flush all toilets at the same time. Water that backs up anywhere or begins to run slowly is a sign there might be a problem.
  • When it hasn't been raining for a while, look for a puddle of water where the home’s pipes connect with the city's pipes.
  • Take a walk around the yard in the general area of the sewer lines. Check to see if you feel any unusually soft or mushy spots in the ground.
  • Hire a plumber to come and conduct a sewer inspection with a video camera. This will tell you the exact condition of your pipes.

How a Sewer Video Camera Works

The video camera used for a sewer inspection is a fiber optic camera that can be inserted into your pipes. On the tip of a flexible rod is a high resolution video camera that will record everything it passes. As it travels, it captures all images and transmits them to the plumber operating the camera. The video camera allows you to do the following:

  • See the inside of your pipes
  • Record how deep the pipe is and at its exact physical location
  • Pinpoint the exact location of an obstruction or problem

Save a copy of the video for later inspection, repairs, or information

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