New-Construction homes may look perfect, but what about the vital part that lies beneath the ground – sewer lines? Sewer lines (laterals) are out of sight – and often out of mind – for most home buyers. Some buyers may assume that because the lines are new they will be in good working condition. Other buyers may assume that the lines are inspected in a standard home inspection prior to purchasing. However, these assumptions can prove to be costly mistakes.
Why worry about a new sewer lateral?
The role of the sewer lateral is to transport wastewater from the home to the sewer main. If the line becomes clogged or damaged raw sewage can back up through the floor drains. The flooding caused by the backup can cause damage to the walls, floor, and irreplaceable personal belongings. Repairing the damage can end up costing the home owner many thousands of dollars, turning a dream home into a nightmare.
What causes sewer backup?
There are a variety of ways that a sewer lateral can become clogged or damaged causing restriction to water flow resulting in raw sewage backup.
During construction, large debris can fall into open sewer lines. Heavy equipment used during construction can crush and damage the lines. Many home owners are unaware that they are responsible for the sewer line (sewer lateral) which leads from their home to the city main.
Other possible causes of backup in new homes may include:
- inadequately sized pipes
- improper sloping of the lines
- misaligned pipes
- construction debris in the line (i.e. gravel)
In previously owned homes common causes of backup can also include:
- tree roots
- feminine hygiene products
- flushable wipes
- hardened grease
What can be done to avoid sewer-related expenses?
Before purchasing, any home buyers should be encouraged to request a sewer lateral inspection (also known as a sewer scope or camera inspection). Real estate agents or home inspectors can schedule a sewer lateral inspection to be completed in conjunction with the standard home inspection. This proactive step will help ensure a positive purchasing experience for the home buyer as well as strengthen the trust between the buyer and the realtor/home inspector.
The SewerPros can assist you through the sewer lateral inspection so there are no hidden surprises. We specialize in camera inspections and not the repair work, which allows us to be unbiased in our findings and make honest recommendations. We provide customized inspection reports to protect the home buyer. These reports provide home buyers with links to our website, including the FAQs page, where they will find helpful information. With over 30 years combined industry experience and over 60,000 inspections completed, we have the knowledge and experience to make sure the buyer’s home remains the dream home that they envisioned.
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