When you're looking around a prospective new home, there's a lot to take in. What sort of state is the roof in? How will the storage space match up with your belongings? How will the insulation fare when winter rolls around? But whether you find all this to be exciting or just a hassle, it's important not to forget the state of the plumbing. Sewer line problems can be an expensive headache for a new homeowner who doesn't take care during the purchasing process.
Obvious Signs Of A Sewer Clog
A single slow drain can sometimes be solved with a plunger or chemical drain cleaner. But if you have multiple slow drains, that means the problem is further in the plumbing. Often, with sewer line problems, you'll end up with every drain in the house slowing down. You might also notice that multiple toilets aren't flushing properly.
If you notice these signs when looking at a house, then it's a sure bet that there are sewer pipe problems that need to be fixed. However, this is pretty rare – after all, if the signs are this obvious, the seller is likely to notice them and fix them.
Sewer Line Inspection
The more likely problem when buying a home is that everything seems fine and neither you nor the seller realize that there's anything wrong. Then, a few months later, the sewer line clogs, and you're stuck with expensive repairs. The older the house you're looking at purchasing, the more likely this sort of problem is – especially if the homeowners haven't kept up with sewer cleaning.
That's why it's a good idea to make a professional sewer inspection part of your buying process. By running a video camera through the sewer line, a contractor can look for clogs, tree roots, and even structural damage to the pipe. Considering the price of replacing a sewer line can run from around $3,000 up to $20,000, you definitely want to catch problems early enough that the sewer line can be cleaned instead of replaced. However, you might just need sewer and drain cleaning.
What To Do If Problems Are Found
Hopefully, the video inspection won't show any problems more serious than a buildup of material in the pipes. This is the simplest problem to solve; you should simply insist that the seller has the sewer pipe cleaned out before you buy the home. The same contractor that inspected the line will likely be able to clean it out by running a mechanical auger through it or using an extremely high-pressure water jet.
For more serious problems such as cracked pipes, the homeowner may end up needing to have the pipe replaced. However, at least you won't have ended up on the hook for those repairs by buying a home with expensive plumbing problems. The seller may be willing to repair the pipes before selling you the house, but if not, walk away from the deal and look for another home.