Updated: May 9, 2021
Your home’s sewer line sits underneath the foundation, through the yard, and to the city tap under the road. Roots, shifting soil, landscaping, constriction, and time can cause damage to your sewer line. This undetected damage can affect the structural integrity of your foundation. Additionally, sewage gases backing up into the home and leaking into the yard can cause serious health issues, especially to children under the age of 10. Many homeowners are not aware of these issues until it is too late.
Many homeowners believe that their responsibility for their property ends at the sidewalk. The reality is, it ends at the city tap, usually at about the center of the road. Many cities across America have issued a new ordinance where the city tap connection falls onto the responsibility of the homeowner, as damage to this connection can lead to potholes in the road. These cities are now sending drones through the lines to inspect these connections. Homeowners who’s tap is not in compliance are billed by the city up to $5000.
Your home’s mainline sits anywhere from 4 to 15 feet underground. The cost to repair this damage can range from $1,000-$15,000. Full line replacements can cost over $30,000. So how do you protect your family and your assets? One way is to have your line inspected with a sewer scope when you first purchase a new home along with your home inspection.
A sewer scope is a camera inspection done by using a snake that is sent through your line by a certified technician. Technicians are trained to recognize the type of material used in the line, damage, and maintenance your line may require. Common issues in older lines include scale build up, roots, holes, and fractures as the lines are often made of cast iron and clay. Newer houses have lines made from ABS and PVC. These lines may experience breaks from landscaping, city work, or poor construction. A common issue found in newer homes is disconnected joints from rushed installation. If caught in time, homeowners can require the builders to cover the cost of repairs.
To ensure you're making a wise investment, have your sewer line inspected with a sewer scope before you purchase your next piece of real estate and before you pay for any expensive repairs to your sewer main lateral lines.