Why You Should ALWAYS Have A Sewer Scope Performed With A Home Inspection

We recommend that every client have a sewer scope as part of their home inspection. This is why we recommend it. Sewer line problems are a common problem in home inspections. Repairs can run into the thousands. Below are some frequently asked questions.

What’s a sewer scope?

A sewer scope is a camera inspection that examines the sewer line connecting to the city. The homeowner is responsible for maintaining the sewer line connecting to the home (referred to as the tap). The cost of repairs or replacements to the sewer line can be significant. You must be informed about the current condition of the sewer before closing on your home.

Why use a camera?

Underground sewer lines make it difficult to inspect the line visually without a camera. The home inspection in colorado will visually inspect any drain lines that are accessible. However, once the drain lines connect with the sewer line, the visual inspection stops and you can use a camera to check the line’s condition.

What are some common problems?

A sewer line’s purpose is to drain waste water from a home or property and into the municipal sewer, or septic tank for rural properties. Any obstruction to this function would be considered defect. Several common problems can occur.


We see two types of common sewer line blockages. Blockages caused by foreign objects like grout or rags. Blockages caused by tree root intrusion and foreign objects. These blockages can cause sewage backflow into your home or business. After renovating a home, trades may have flushed or washed away construction debris. This debris builds up in the pipe and must be removed. Root blockages can be caused by tree roots growing into the sewer line. Root intrusion is usually caused by tree roots growing into the sewer line. No matter what type of blockage, it is important to clear the sewer line. You should also re-scope your line after cleaning to check for damage that the blockage might have hidden.

Belly or Low Spots

A belly is a low spot in a sewer pipe. This is because the sewer line should be sloped so that water drains efficiently from the home to main sewer line. Low spots can cause water flow to slow down and allow debris and solids to settle, causing blockages. Minor bellies are more difficult to repair than severe bellies. Routine cleaning and maintenance can usually be sufficient for minor bellies.

Breaks and Cracks

Damages to the sewer lines can cause cracks or breaks in the sewer pipe. Defects in the sewer line can cause these damages at the time it was constructed. While sewer pipe material may play a role, all materials are susceptible to damage. Although a hairline may not cause any damage to the pipe, it is important to be aware of cracks that could lead to more serious problems. A crack or break that is too large can cause sewage to seep into the soil, which can be a problem and should be fixed.

Offsets or Separations

A separation or offset of the sewer line will allow sewage to leak into the soil and not into the main sewer. This is similar to cracks and breakage, but much more serious. Sewer lines are constructed in sections and joined at fittings or joints. When the pipe sections don’t connect properly or begin to separate over time, it is called a separation or offset. These joints are often the site of root intrusion in older pipes. Always repair any separations and offsets.

What is a repair? How much will it cost?

The extent of a sewer repair depends on the severity and location of the damage. A sewer line repair will cost you anywhere from $1000 to $20,000 for a complete replacement.

Why is it so expensive to repair sewer lines?

Because of the cost of sewer line repairs, or the access required to the area to be repaired, they can be quite expensive. Basic materials are used in sewer lines and they are relatively inexpensive. Most of the cost is due to the excavation, trenching, and restoration of landscaping or hardscaping at the repair site. The cost of sewer lines can go as low as 3 to 15 feet below the soil surface, which significantly increases costs. Although there are better methods to repair or replace sewer lines, such as pipe burst or lining, they are still expensive.

What sewer scope do I need for a new house or sewer line?

Absolutely. Although the chances of a problem with a sewer line in a new home are lower than those in older homes, some construction defects like cracks, bellies, and other debris must be removed. A sewer scope camera inspection is the only way to determine the condition of your sewer line.

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