How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
site-built, mobile/manfuactured and modular homes
Does a home inspector check sewer lines underground?
Sunday, April 12, 2020
A home inspection is primarily a visual examination of a home and underground sewer lines are not accessible to view. Also, the Standards of Practice for home inspectors in the State of Florida, along with the two national home inspector associations (ASHI and InterNACHI), do not include sewer line inspection as a required part of a home inspection.
Home inspectors do test the drains in a home to make sure they flow freely. We test the drain plumbing primarily by doing stress tests, such as turning on the bathtub and sink faucets and flushing the toilet, all at the same time. Or filling up a sink and checking for leakage around the collar, then opening the drain to look for leaks at the slip joints. But a defect in the underground drain piping, such as tree roots getting into the pipe or cracking from age or impact damage, can’t be discerned by simple drain stressing.
If you have concerns about the underground drain piping, particularly the main drain pipe running from the house across the front yard to the sewer connection at the street, a video evaluation of the condition of the piping is a good idea. Most plumbers and some home inspectors have a plumbing snake with a video head to evaluate the drain piping in older houses. Starting at a vent pipe on the roof, they can snake down through the house drain system and then out to the sewer connection at the street, checking everything from the inside.
It can be entertaining to watch as the camera lens traverses the pipe bends, occasionally coming upon roaches scurrying away or looming tree roots. And you finish the video inspection with the peace of mind that your drain system is sound—or an additional line or two on the home’s repair list. The cost is usually $250 to $500.
Also, see our blog post What makes a house fail the home inspection?
Click on any of the links below to read other articles about what is required to be included, or not, in a home inspection:
AFCI •• Air conditioner •• Ants •• Appliance recalls •• Appliance testing •• Attic •• Awnings •• Barns and ag blgs. •• Bathroom exhaust fan •• Bonding •• Carpet •• Ceiling fans •• Central vacuum •• Chimneys •• Chinese drywall •• Clothes dryer •• Dryer exhaust •• CO alarms •• Code violations •• Condemn a house •• Crawl space •• Detached carport •• Detached garage •• Dishwasher •• Docks •• Doors •• Electrical •• Electrical panel •• Electromagnetic radiation •• Fences •• Fireplaces Furnace •• Garage door opener •• Garbage disposal •• Generator •• GFCIs •• Gutters •• Ice maker •• Inspect in the rain •• Insulation •• Insurance •• Interior Finishes •• Grading & drainage •• Lead paint •• Level of thoroughness •• Lift carpet •• Low voltage wiring •• Microwave •• Mold •• Move things •• Help negotiate •• Not allowed •• Outbuildings •• Paint •• Permits •• Pilot lights •• Plumbing •• Plumbing under slab •• Pools •• Questions won't answer •• Radon •• Range/cooktop •• Receptacle outlet •• Refrigerator •• Reinspection •• Remove panel cover •• Repairs •• Repair estimates •• Retaining walls •• Roaches •• Rodents •• Roof •• Screens •• Seawalls •• Septic loading dye test •• Septic tank •• Sewer lines •• Shower pan leak test •• Shutters •• Sinkholes •• Smoke alarms •• Solar panels •• Specify repairs •• Sprinklers •• Termites •• Toilets •• Trees •• Troubleshooting •• Wall air conditioners •• Walk roof •• Washing machine •• Water heater •• Water pressure •• Water shut-offs •• Main water shut-off •• Water softener •• Water treatment systems •• Well •• Windows •• Window air conditioners •• Window blinds •• Wiring
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