(Septic Line inspection)

What Is a Sewer Scope?

Whether your house is on sewer or septic, we can look at the condition of your pipes using a procedure called a sewer scope. During a sewer scope inspection, we will use a flexible borescope camera, which will allow us to see and record video of your pipes.

The camera will be run through the home’s cleanout and/or roof vent and maneuver its way throughout the sewer lateral line which runs from your house to the sewer main. We will be looking for any visible cracks, damage, or clogs, and will report the findings.

This inspection can take anywhere from a few minutes to half an hour, depending on how large your home’s system is and what the issues are.

You should plan on having a sewer scope inspection completed before purchasing your dream home, and plan to have them done routinely as your home gets older.

Phot showing a Sewer Scope inspection taking place.
Photo showing a sewer scope taking place.

Should I Get a Sewer Scope Inspection?

There are lots of reasons why you should get a sewer scope inspection. If you don’t get routine inspections done on your sewer/septic lines, you should be aware of the potential risk. Getting routine inspections will help you avoid the following issues.

A damaged sewer/septic line can be the source of structural damage in your home. For example, sewer pipes leaking in the crawl spaces could cause serious mold issues.

Below are common results of damaged or degraded sewer systems. They can also serve as signs of needing a sewer scope inspection done. 

  • Flooding in home or yard
  • Sinkholes
  • Foundation issues
  • Mold issues

A leak or backup in your sewer/septic system can lead to many health issues. Below are a few health hazards that you may be exposed to if you leave your sewer system unrepaired.

  • Bacteria
  • Parasites
  • Sewage
  • Mold spores
  • Harmful gases
  • Fungi

6 Signals You Need a Sewer Scope Inspection

Potential home buyers should be aware of signs that a sewer scope inspection is needed before completing the buying process. Below are the most common signals that the sewer system may need repair or is close to being damaged.

  • Rodents or pests: Has your house become home to some unwanted guests? Rodents are commonly found in sewer systems, so seeing them above ground could indicate clogging or other problems, not just infestation. You should also consider a pest inspection if you notice signs of pests in your home.
  • Water backups: Water backups in your house or crawl spaces can indicate damage or cracks in the sewer/septic line.
  • Shifting or movement in the ground around your property: Soil movement caused by natural forces, like heavy rain, can create offset pipe joints. This can lead to clogging or leaks.
  • Lush patches of grass in your yard: Sewer/septic water can fertilize your grass. If you notice a rich green patch of grass in your yard but the rest of your grass looks normal, it could be a sewer or septic leak.
  • Large trees in your backyard: Roots from large trees can grow around or compress pipes. Roots may even grow into small cracks, your pipes which can cause clogging or leaks.
  • House was built more than 25 years ago: Older homes (pre-1970s) are more likely to have pipes with existing damage or cracks. Homes built before 1984 may still have clay  pipes that can easily be cracked or crushed.

What To Look for In Your Sewer Inspection

The sewer inspection is typically recorded on a video feed, which you and the inspector will watch during the procedure or afterward. The inspector will show you where the damages or cracks are and explain next steps.
Below are some things you’ll want to look out for during the inspection process:

  • Cracks or imperfections in the line
  • Blockages or clogs
  • Roots growing
  • Low areas in the drain (bellying)
  • Separation or failure of the line
  • Type of material used for the line
  • Issues with the septic tank

Sewer/Septic Pipe Materials

Listed below are the most common types of sewer line pipe materials available in the common market. Each of the different materials have distinct differences and identifying characteristics, which we can explain.

  • Fibrous Conduit
  • Pipe/Orangeburg
  • CIPP (Cured in Place Pipe)
  • HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene)
  • Thin-Walled PVC
  • Galvanized
  • LeadCopper
  • ADS (Advanced Drainage System)
  • Clay
  • Cast Iron
  • Concrete
  • Asbestos Cement/
  • Transite
  • SDR 35
  • SDR 21/26
  • PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)
  • ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene)
sewer pipe
sewer scope inspection

Sewer Scope Inspection Cost

The cost of a sewer scope will depend on a few variables, including where you live and the details about your sewer line.

However, a sewer line camera inspection starts at only $200.
This may seem like a lot, but the cost of replacing your sewer or septic drain, or pipes is significantly higher. The average cost of repairing your sewer line is $2,556, which is comparatively higher than the inspection itself.

Unfortunately, these sewer repairs aren’t typically covered by homeowners’ insurance, so you’ll need to pay out of pocket.

New homeowners should consider getting a sewer inspection done even if the home they just purchased is newly constructed. Kids will be kids, and new construction sites are fun places to fill pipes up with rocks or other materials. We even have one builder that has a sewer scope inspection done before he puts any house on the market, just to be sure.

Remember, It’s better to be safe with a well-maintained sewer line than to leave it unrepaired and rack up future costs.


Certifications acquired through home inspector training from InterNACHI

Need a Sewer Scope Inspection?

At Stellar Inspectors PLLC, our job isn’t complete until you feel comfortable and all of your questions and concerns are answered.