Plumbing problems are one of the main things every homeowner dreads. Repairs can be painfully expensive as well as inconvenient and, let’s face it, highly unpleasant. 

While a sewer scope inspection of your plumbing system isn’t required by InterNACHI’s Home Inspection Standards of Practice, it is one of the many additional services proudly offered by WCHI so you can get peace of mind — and avoid being unpleasantly surprised by a poorly-timed plumbing malfunction

But how exactly does the scope work, what’s involved in the sewer line inspection process, and how can it benefit you? Read on to learn everything you need to know about this high-tech preventative and diagnostic tool. 

The Benefits of Live Video

Sewer line problems can be one of the most costly issues to fix, especially if you don’t catch them early. Experts estimate that local governments and homeowners will spend upwards of $300 billion dollars over the next decade on updating our crumbling water infrastructure. 

Obstruction and blockages in the sewer network can occur at any time. With older homes, the lateral lines leading from the house to the municipal system can become damaged over the years by intrusive tree roots, a build-up of grease, or simply old age. 

In Chicagoland’s harsh winter climate, repetitive ground freezing and thawing can contribute to cracks in newer sewer lines, as can the natural effects of a home settling. Sewer lines were once made of cast iron, clay, or concrete, which are also prone to cracking and disintegration.                                                                                    

The type of scope utilized for this project by a professional home inspector is a lightweight, flexible cable with a typical minimum length of 140 feet, tipped with a specialized miniature video camera and LED light. 

It’s all connected to a high-definition monitor so your inspector can observe and evaluate the condition of your pipes and create a thorough report.

Spy Before You Buy

Before investing in any property or signing the paperwork on your “dream home,” it’s always smart to get a comprehensive home inspection, including the plumbing systems and a sewer scope evaluation, to ensure you’re not buying a home with a multitude of costly problems waiting to happen.

If you’re a current homeowner, you might be wondering if there are any warnings that you might have a sewer line issue. Be on the lookout for these telltale signs:

  • Unusually high water bills
  • Strange gurgling sounds
  • Very slow drainage in the house
  • A consistently wet or extremely green patch in your yard
  • Funky smells indoors or outside
  • An increase in pests and unwanted visitors like mice, rats, and snakes
  • Fluctuations in your toilet bowl water levels

Blockages in the line can cause an accumulation of toxic sewer gas, also known as hydrogen sulfide, which has an unmistakable odor and can cause health issues like irritation of the eyes and respiratory tract. It’s also highly flammable, so if you get a whiff of rotten eggs, you should schedule a sewer scope inspection as soon as possible

Keep Things Moving

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, they say, and you could be held liable if your faulty sewer lines cause damage to public utilities

A sewer scope review from Windy City Home Inspection will let you know if you need to contact a plumber to nip any problems in the bud, or if you’ve got nothing but smooth sailing from your house to the municipal sewer line.

If your pipes have received a clean bill of health, keep things flowing by taking these easy steps to prevent blockages and backups:

  • Properly dispose of cooking fats, oils, sauces, and other food scraps — these greasy substances stick to the walls of your plumbing lines and cause nasty clogs.
  • Put leftover food in the trash or a compost heap instead of using an in-sink garbage disposal.
  • Paper and hygiene products should never be flushed, even if they’re labeled flushable or recyclable.
  • Have a professional arborist examine and trim your tree roots regularly.
  • Install tub and shower drain covers to catch hair and microplastics.  
  • Use a bacterial or enzyme drain-cleaning solution to remove grease, hair, and gunk.
  • Protect your pipes during brutal winter weather. 

Taking good care of your plumbing will not only extend the life of this vital home system but will also save you a ton of money and hassle in the long run.

Your Best Homeowner Resource

Our highly knowledgeable experts at Windy City Home Inspection take pride in educating our customers about the importance of regular maintenance, spotting issues before they get out of hand, and what to do if your inspector finds a problem.

We’ve got years of experience with Chicagoland’s unique homes, and we love helping prospective buyers find the perfect property for their family’s needs. 

If you’re ready to get started with a comprehensive inspection and identify any problems that might be lurking in the sewers beneath your home, give us a call or schedule online today!