Broken or clogged sewers can be a huge headache not to mention a costly one. My rule of thumb is to encourage buyers who are purchasing a home that is 20 years old or more to schedule a sewer inspection.
The sewer lateral, or line from your house to the city connection or to the septic, is typically the responsibility of the homeowner. This means there are times when even if the sewer line is under the street and damage occurs, it is up to the homeowner to make repairs. According to costhelper.com, the cost to repair a sewer line can range from $50 to $250 per lineal foot.
The scope of a normal home inspection is to test functional drainage at fixtures, which rarely allows a home inspector to identify a sewer problem downstream. Oftentimes, sewer issues are unknown to the seller as well.
A visual check can offer buyers the reassurance that they are purchasing a home with a well-functioning sewer line. The cost of most sewer scopes falls between $150 and $250. The cost can change depending on the length of the sewer line and the accessibility.
In older neighborhoods, trees roots can have a profound effect on sewer lines. The homes in these areas often have sewer lines made of clay, Orangeburg or even wood, none of which stand up to time or roots well. FYI, Orangeburg pipe is bitumenized fiber pipe made from layers of wood pulp and pitch pressed together. It was used from the 1860s through the 1970s.
You may not be selling or buying, but it might be time to have your sewer line checked. In next month’s issue I will explore the different options available to repair or replace sewer lines. Just as a note, if your home is insured with American National, then your sewer line is covered up to $10,000 for replacement or repair. There is a $1,000 deductible.
20+ years of residential experience.