When Is A Sewer Inspection Necessary?

Understanding Sewer Inspection

It may not be visible, but the sewer line is an important part of your home’s plumbing. You won’t realize that until you have drainage or issues flushing the toilet – situations that can be major inconveniences. To minimize the chances of that happening, having routine sewer camera inspection is recommended. 

Okay, but what does a sewer inspection consist of that can help minimize the possible problems with a sewer line? Having a professional sewer camera inspection performed will consist of the technician finding the entrance to the sewer line and then inserting a flexible cable with a camera into the opening.

That camera will feed images and video back to a monitor. The camera will be run through the drainpipe and into the sewer lines. The plumber will be able to see any breaks, cracks, or other flaws and imperfections.  If there are any serious problems, the sewer camera inspection will find them, and the technician will make recommendations of what should be done next. 

The entire sewer camera inspection process can usually be completed within an hour. It may take longer if the technician has problems with the flexible cable and camera getting through the sewer line.

What does a septic inspection consist of?

First, understanding what a septic system is will make understanding the inspection process easier.  A septic system does what a sewer system does, but the waste is contained to the property instead of proceeding to a waste center. A septic system is typically found in rural areas where homes are not on a city system.

A septic system will consist of inspecting three major parts: 

  • The septic tank
  • A distribution box
  • A drain field

A septic system has been used way before the 1880s when Thomas Crapper invented the toilet and the sewer system was designed to accommodate that invention. In a septic system, it will digest organic matter (human waste) and then separate the floatable matters like grease, oil, and solids from the wastewater.

With a properly functioning septic system, a discharge of the wastewater goes to the distribution box. There are perforated pipes running from the distribution box to the drain field, and there, the wastewater, referred to at that point as effluent, is then slowly drained into the drain field. 

There are two different septic inspections: 

The Visual Inspection

The inspector will do a visual inspection that includes checking the age of the septic system and reviewing the maintenance history. They will flush toilets and run faucets to check the pressure and that the water is flowing correctly into the septic system.

They will perform a visual check of the drain field, making sure there isn’t any standing water. Standing water in a drain field can cause health issues and would need to be addressed immediately. 

The Full Inspection

A full septic inspection will involve the inspector opening the tank cover and checking the level. They will check that the wastewater is flowing out of the house and into the tank, sometimes using a dye for easier visual. 

The inspector will test for any water flowing back into the septic tank from the drain field. And testing is performed to check for possible blockages in the system. If the level inside the tank is too high, this indicates an issue with the drain field and may require the septic system to be replaced.

How long does it take to do a septic inspection?

In most cases, a septic inspection will be completed within an hour, or perhaps two hours at the most. The amount of time it takes will also depend on any issues or problems the inspector finds during the inspection process, especially if there are any urgent issues that need to be taken care of.

What is a sewer scope inspection?

A sewer scope inspection is done by licensed sewer inspection companies that will use special sewer inspection equipment like a flexible cable with a camera attached to the end. They will insert this sewer camera inspection equipment into the privately-owned sewer pipeline that runs between the house to the municipal-owned sewer line. With this process and technology, they can inspect the entire sewer line to check for any blockage or damage to the pipeline.

How much is a sewer line inspection?

The cost can vary across the state and is often a combined service of sewer inspection and cleaning. While the technician is cleaning the sewer line, they will perform the inspection using their sewer camera inspection equipment too. 

You’re getting two services at the same, which will be less expensive, and worth the cost. Your home is a valuable investment, and a sewer camera inspection and sewer line cleaning are part of the maintenance that protects that investment. 

A Final Question

How do I know if there are roots in my sewer line? The root system of a tree is two to three times longer than the height of the tree. Those roots seek water and if there are any cracks in sewer lines or water pipes, humidity forms and the roots will find that moisture. If the cracks aren’t addressed and the roots stopped, you’ll have busted sewer lines!  

The four most common signs that you may have tree roots in the sewer lines are: 

  • Drains are slow to empty
  • Sinkholes in the yard
  • Blocked and/or collapsed pipes
  • Strong sewer odors

Any or all these symptoms are reason enough to schedule a sewer camera inspection service. The sooner you find out the problem and have it fixed, the better.