Repairing and replacing of damaged sewer laterals (the drain line leaving your house that connects to the public sewage) can be very costly and unexpected. Knowing the condition of your sewer lateral can only be determined by running a sewer-specific camera down the drain all the way to the main sewer connection. These are typically called sewer lateral inspections.
Here are the top three reasons to have a sewer lateral inspection performed on your home:
1. Aging Pipes
The life expectancy of cast iron piping is typically around 50 years; however replacement of these sewer laterals can be required much earlier. Issues found during sewer lateral video scoping can be disconnected joints, a collapse of the top of the pipe, or that the pipe was never properly sealed allowing tree roots to enter the pipe and wreak havoc on the drain. These issues can exist for an extended period and not cause an issue, then, one day, suddenly your newly finished basement is yayyyy, filled with sewage.
2. Careless Installs
Drains in newly constructed homes are typically comprised of PVC which can last up to 100 years since they are immune to corrosion. But, when video scoping new construction we have found a multitude of issues such as contractors shoving building materials down the drains (drywall, PEX piping, etc.), plumbers forgetting to remove the test plug from the air pressure test (test that checks new installs for leaks) which then requires the newly poured concrete floor to be cut open and the plugs removed, and deep underground damage caused by heavy equipment driving over cleanouts (access holes to your sewer) in the yard that is only visible by video scoping.
3. Very Expensive to Repair or Replace
Repairs and replacements can be very costly. The average cost to repair a sewer lateral is around $4,000-$6,000 and a total replacement of your sewer lateral can be anywhere from $8,000 to $15,000; if the lateral runs under a driveway, sidewalk, next to a gas line, or is deep underground the price to repair or replace can easily double due to the dangers and complexity involved.
Whether you’re buying a newly constructed home, living in a home with aging pipes, or purchasing the Victorian home of your dreams, you should always have a sewer lateral inspection done on your home for the simple reason that you don’t know what you can’t see – and that can be expensive.