Plumbing problems can turn into a homeowner’s worst nightmare. Costly repairs, inconvenience, and unpleasant surprises are enough to make any homeowner cringe. 

While the inspection process allows buyers or current owners to learn about the condition of the home, one essential aspect that’s often overlooked is the sewer system. A sewer scope inspection might not be required by InterNACHI’s Home Inspection Standards of Practice, but it can be a game-changer, giving you peace of mind and helping you avoid potential plumbing disasters.

So, what exactly is a sewer scope inspection, how does it work, and what are the top five benefits of including it in your Chicagoland home inspection? Let’s explore the world of this high-tech diagnostic tool.

Discovering Hidden Dangers

Sewer line issues can be one of the costliest problems to fix, especially if they remain undetected for a long time. They can also cause health problems, especially for children and the elderly.

The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that over the next decade, local governments and homeowners will spend a staggering $300 billion on updating the aging water infrastructure. Tree roots, grease buildup, ground freezing, the flushing of non-sewer-safe items, and old age can all lead to obstructions and blockages in the sewer network. 

With a sewer scope inspection, a professional home inspector uses a lightweight, flexible cable equipped with a miniature video camera and LED light to explore your pipes thoroughly. This live video feed allows the inspector to identify any cracks, damage, or other issues within the sewer lines.

Blockages in sewer pipes can allow toxic sewer gasses to leak into the home. The rotten egg odor produced by hydrogen sulfide gas (aka swamp gas) is a telltale sign of trouble. At high concentrations, this gas can cause headaches, nausea, and difficulty breathing. 

Long-term exposure may increase the risk of neurological issues like Parkinson’s disease. If you detect the smell of rotten eggs, it’s crucial to schedule a sewer scope inspection ASAP.

Making an Informed Purchase

If you’re in the market for a new home, it’s essential to invest in a comprehensive inspection and a sewer scope evaluation. Buying a home without knowing the condition of its sewer lines could lead to costly headaches down the road.

During your sewer inspection, a specialist will be on the lookout for warning signs like gurgling sounds, slow drainage or backups, strangely lush patches or a flood in your yard, foul odors, or an increase in rodents and pests. 

Chicagoland has many historic homes, and if your property was constructed before the 1980’s it may still have clay pipes, which are especially susceptible to cracking. The region’s extreme weather can also contribute to the damage. 

Performing a sewer scope along with a general home inspection provides critical information before purchase. It can reveal issues that might otherwise go unnoticed until after moving in. For example, a scope might show invading tree roots that will only worsen over time. Or it could unveil broken pipes that could create a sinkhole in the yard

Detecting major flaws in advance gives buyers the information they need to make a carefully considered decision. A thorough home inspection report can lend you leverage in negotiations for repair credits from the seller.

Avoiding Expensive Repairs

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, especially when it comes to your sewer lines. 

Detecting potential issues early on can save you from costly repairs and even potential liability if your faulty sewer lines cause damage to public utilities. After a comprehensive sewer scope review, you can take appropriate action, such as hiring a plumber to head off any problems

According to Forbes, the average septic repair costs $1,775, and replacing your plumbing system can cost up to $25,000. Simple steps like disposing of grease properly, avoiding flushing paper and hygiene products, and using drain-cleaning solutions can go a long way in preventing blockages and backups.

Experts recommend having your sewer line scoped every three years at least.

Protecting Your Investment

Your home is likely your most significant asset, and taking care of its plumbing system is essential to maintaining its value. By including a sewer scope inspection in your routine home maintenance, you can extend the life of your plumbing system and save yourself from potential headaches in the future. 

When it comes to home inspections, having knowledgeable experts in your corner is crucial. Windy City Home Inspection takes pride in educating customers about regular maintenance, identifying potential issues, and offering guidance on how to handle any problems that may arise. With years of experience in inspecting Chicagoland’s unique homes, our pros can provide valuable insights and advice, making us a vital resource for any homeowner.

Saving Money and Getting Peace of Mind

Hopeful real estate buyers and current owners have enough challenges to face without worrying about how to pay for expensive plumbing repairs.

Knowing that this essential home system is in good condition and any issues have been addressed provides a sense of security for you and your family. By taking proactive steps to maintain your plumbing system, you can focus on enjoying time at home without worrying about unexpected disasters. 

Including a sewer scope in your Chicago home inspection is a wise decision that offers numerous benefits. From uncovering hidden issues with live video technology to making informed investment decisions and taking preventive measures, a sewer scope inspection can save you time, money, and stress. 

Whether you’re a potential homebuyer or a current homeowner, schedule a sewer scope inspection with Windy City Home Inspection today and ensure the health and longevity of your plumbing system. Your home and wallet will thank you!