Would you buy a home before checking out the interior or walking around the yard? Probably not. Most prospective buyers look at a house from top to bottom, hiring an inspector to go over the property with a fine-tooth comb. But despite all the scrutiny, sewer lines are seldom examined.

Getting to the Root Cause of the Problem

A lot of thought and care goes into finding the right home, so you want to make sure the home you choose is ready for move-in as soon as you are. Older neighborhoods sometimes have clay or concrete pipes and sewers made from these materials are particularly vulnerable to damage by tree roots. Roots are drawn to moisture that seeps from leaking or cracked pipes.

The roots grow into the cracks, and over time the roots grow, and the cracks get larger. Eventually, a mass of roots along with attendant debris fills the line. The sewer backs up. Tree roots cause significant damage to pipes. Excavation is sometimes required to repair this damage. When damage is extensive, expenses quickly add up.

Once Upon a Cesspool

Historic homes in southeast Portland and other areas predate city sewers. In these homes, cesspools were often used. When neighborhoods connected to sewer lines, the cesspools were sometimes connected to the sewer line.

Some of these septic systems were never decommissioned. They can potentially collapse and cause other problems. A sewer inspection can uncover some of these problems. The City of Portland published this guide to help locate old cesspools.

Not Just for Vintage Properties

It’s not just century-old homes that can have problems, though. It’s a good idea to have a sewer inspection in a home that’s over 20 years old. Two decades is ample time for tree roots to grow and problems to develop.

How is Sewer Inspection Done?

A qualified plumbing company can do a sewer inspection. When Apollo Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning inspects a sewer, we attach a small video camera to a snake. The snake is inserted into the pipes. A plumber views a monitor that shows the progress of the camera through the sewer.

The inspection shows the condition of the pipes, and whether there are cracks, tree roots, or clogs. Our experienced plumbers will be able to identify the pipe material. If repairs are needed, the plumber can estimate the extent and cost of the work.

Looking for a Silver Lining

Inspections don’t always turn up bad news. Sometimes you may discover an old home has a new sewer line. Repairing a sewer line may be easier than anticipated. Apollo Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning uses CIPP, an excavation-free technique to repair pipes. Whatever the case, it’s better to know ahead of time what you’re getting into. Get in touch with Apollo Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning and speak with an experienced technician to ensure your new home is up-to-par and ready for move-in.

Meet the Author
Brandon Bird
Brandon Bird

company icon