Sewer Pipes Inspections

Posted on Posted in Home Inspection, Inspector Thoughts, Plumbing Inspections, Real Estate

A home inspection is a non-invasive visual examination of a house. And while home inspectors have many tools to help beyond just eye balls, the fact remains home inspectors can not see behind walls or inside of pipes.

The main drain pipes going from the home to the city sewer line, in particular, can not be examined on a standard home due to such pipes being located under ground, and there is no easy way to see inside of them.

Why a Sewer Pipe Inspection?

Sewer drain pipes can be troublesome due to different materials that have been used over the years.

Clay pipes have been widely used for decades, and can in fact, still be purchased today. Tree roots can bore through clay and cause blockages. Natural shifting of the soil below ground can cause clay pipes to shift and no longer line up straight. And even then, they are are expected to have a life expectancy of approximately 50 to 60 years.

Cast Iron pipe is also very common. Cast Iron pipes tend to corrode from the inside out, so that even a visual inspection of the outside of the pipe will not reveal potential issues on the inside, which can include anything from water wearing through the bottom of the pipe to mineral build up causing blockages.

Orangeburg pipe was a very popular material used on homes built in the 1950’s and 1960’s, although the material was used well before then and remained in production up until 1972.  Orangeburg is made from wood fibers and water resistant adhesives. These older Orangeburg pipes can be easily penetrated by roots, and over time, may cease to be fully round.

How to know what sewer line you have?

The great thing about today is that sewer inspection cameras have become more prevalent and why IM Home Inspections recommends a sewer inspection with a home inspection. IM Home Inspections has teamed up with several local plumbers to perform sewer line inspections. The main reason IM Home Inspections uses a 3rd party plumber for the sewer inspection is many clean outs become stuck over time, particularly on older homes. If a clean out cover breaks when opening the line, the inspector would have to call a plumber to fix it, so we found it is easier and smarter to have a plumber perform the sewer line inspection to begin with.

rusted shut
Cast Iron clean out with rust issues

To schedule a sewer line inspection WITH your home inspection, call IM Home Inspections at 818-298-3405.


Please note, 3rd party plumbers are separate companies from IM Home Inspections, and is a separate charge. IM Home Inspections will merely schedule with the plumber as a courtesy to clients. IM Home Inspections is not liable for any issues that arise by using a 3rd party plumber. Advanced notice required and some geographic limitations may apply.