“And is the sewer line okay?”

If the house that you are buying is new or old, it is likely that a sewer scan will provide valuable information. I have encountered issues with houses that were brand new.

Of course, the older the house and sewer line, the greater the chances there are issues that need correcting.

The most common, of course is tree roots. When you think of a tree root, you might imagine a thick, gnarly thing that takes several whacks with a shovel to break through. Roots in a sewer are thin and long. Think of a horse’s tail, only gross.

The roots from a tree can enter a sewer line through extremely small cracks. Once inside, they take up the nutrients and feed the tree. The tree says “More, please!” and the roots grow quickly. Good for the tree.

You? Not so much. The roots themselves also catch toilet paper “other stuff” and dental floss (don’t EVER flush dental floss!), causing backups.

Besides roots and associated blockage issues, a sewer line might have cracks, an issue with improper slope or rat nests. I swear it’s true, I saw one. Here are some screen shots that Joe Whitters took.

A sewer scan involves placing a small camera that is attached to a very long (400 foot) cable into the sewer from the septic system’s clean-out plug. The camera comes with a light. The operator can identify the material of the line as well as any of the above mentioned issues.

The scan does not come automatically with a regular home inspection, because of the extra time, equipment, training and liability issues involved.

Note: To avoid concerns regarding conflict of interest, we will not offer to make any repairs, nor will we accept payment from anyone that we do recommend.

But for $175.00, it seems like a pretty good deal. Use Paladin Home Inspections for a home inspection and ask for a sewer scan. A video of the scan will be attached to your report, as well as a voice-over explaining the conditions and concerns and any recommendations.