Have you been faced with a sudden pool of standing water, or worse – sewage – in your home or on your property? Or, you are about to buy a new home, and during your home inspection, you get the feeling you want a video of the current condition of the sewer and/or storm lines?
What Is A Sewer Scope Inspection?
A sewer scope is a specially housed video camera, with lights, at the end of a 200’ long flexible cable. A sewer scope inspection is a solution to find out what any issues may be inside your plumbing, sewer or storm lines. Our video inspection, often associated with drain or line cleaning, can determine the source of issues located inside the actual structure of plumbing and sewer systems. Sewer scoping may also assist in determining if you have a shared sewer system, with neighbors, before your sewer line reaches the public, city sewer main lines.
Why Should I Do A Sewer Scope Inspection?
1. It Can Save You From Extensive and Expensive Repairs
Whether you just bought a new home, own a rental property, or starting to experience ongoing plumbing problems, a sewer scope can save you hundreds of dollars in the long run. The most common reason people choose to inspect with a sewer scope is that they have no idea the condition of their sewer system and wonder if they are going to have future problems. By spotting a crack now, you can prevent an expensive fix down the road and the inconvenience of a sewage backup on your property.
2. You Can Repair A Small Portion Instead of the Whole Pipe
The most common problem we see when sewer scoping is a root cracking a pipe. Without a sewer scope, you would be forced to replace the whole drain pipe, but thanks to the video we can see exactly what portion of the pipe needs to be replaced and save you the cost of a entire pipe replacement.
How Does Sewer Scoping Work?
1. Clear the Line
First, our plumber will assess if the designated line needs to be cleaned, before using the sewer scope. If a blockage needs to be cleared, our plumber uses a mechanical drain machine or hydro jetter, to clear any of the lines through a cleanout. A cleanout is an access point used to clear the sewer line as it exits your home. If your home does not have a cleanout, the plumber will have to install one, to effectively clean your line. Believe me, you don’t want them to have to pull your toilet, and run the machines through your bathroom!
2. Insert the Sewer Scope Camera
The line(s) to be examined must be cleared to allow the camera to do its job – you can’t see anything in muddy, silty, or dirty sewer water. Once the line is cleared enough to allow the camera to see what is in the pipe, the camera, or sewer scope, is then introduced and is pushed along the line to see what is down there. Sewer lines can be built of clay, concrete, asbestos concrete or plastic and are joined together in different ways. Most commonly the pipes are pushed together with a gasket connection, allowing for a smooth, continuous surface. The material used in the construction of the lines has its own inherent benefits and drawbacks. However, all material, over time, can break down, deteriorate, or just plain dissolve / erode away.
3. Identify the Blockage and Damage
Common things we will see, in this journey down the pipes: Roots creeping into joints, or minute holes in the pipes, and then growing into the pipes, breaking them apart as they grow larger. Settling of the earth around the pipes, or increased pressure from soils above pipes can unseat joints, as the pipe sections are shifting and settling in the earth. This earth movement causes the joints to come out of alignment, or separate entirely. Water erosion over time can erode the bottom section of pipes entirely, commonly called a “belly,” where there literally is no pipe structure left on the bottom of the pipe bed, and sewage is seeping out into the ground around the pipe. Sometimes we see a buildup of sediment or minerals in a line, which can cause constricted water flow or complete blockage.
Other Commonly Asked Sewer Scope Questions
Here are a couple other commonly asked questions about sewer scopes:
Should I Get A Sewer Scope Inspection For My Older Home Or Rental Property?
Yes, if you have an older home then chances a root or another cause has cracked your sewer line. If you own a rental property, we recommend you get your sewer line scoped at least once a year, ideally twice. The last thing you want is to get a call from your renter that the sewer line has broke and you have to drop everything and go dig in the middle of the rain.
Should I Get A Sewer Scope Inspection Before My Home Purchase?
Yes, we definitely recommend this. A common issue is that the previous owners either don’t know the condition of their sewer line or may not use as much water as you will and were unaware of the problem. A sewer scope will allow you to have peace of mind knowing you are buying a house that isn’t going to have sewer problems in your first year of living there.
What’s The Difference Between Wastewater and Stormwater?
Let’s talk a little bit about the way your home eliminates wastewater, and why it’s important to keep your sewer line clear.
1. Wastewater Is All Water From INSIDE Your House
Residential homes are built with a pipe system, to effectively remove wastewater from your home. Sewer water, or sewage, is the collection point of all your kitchen, bathroom, and laundry drains, as soon as the waste pipe exits your home. This effluent, and everything inside it, flows along your sewer pipe from your home, perhaps then connecting with a private “sewer system” with your neighbors, then, to the “main” or City-owned sewer system typically located along the public streets or alleys. This sewage is then pumped to the local sewage treatment plant for processing, before being discharged into Puget Sound.
2. Stormwater Is All Water From OUTSIDE Your House
Stormwater is composed of the water outside your home and should be separate from your sewer system. All the rainwater from your gutters, yard, garden, patio, and driveway runoff, as well as surface water from public roads, is considered stormwater. Stormwater flows through a separate stormwater system, which can range from simple ditches to pipes, to culverts. This stormwater runs directly into local streams, rivers, and Puget Sound.
Sewer Scope Inspection Service Near You
Sewer scoping is an important tool to identify the damage in your sewer system. If you are looking for sewer scope inspection services in the greater Everett area, reach out to Stollwerck via our online contact form or by calling 425-905-2931.