I'm new to sewer scoping and need a little help with this one

Need a little help with this one. This is a cast iron main line and at the 39ft mark you will see something hanging from the top of the pipe. It looks like the top of the pipe has a hole in it and the thing hanging is part of the pipe. I just want to be sure. Thanks

That looks like when I went for a colonoscopy…

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Metal flake from deteriorated pipe. You need more training before you end up having to pay out Thousands of dollars.


its not a deteriorated pipe. its normal for there to be build up in ant iron pipe. it could be calcium buildup that flaked off and is dangling by some old teeth floss. or some string someone flushed years ago.
If you do not see any cracks, breaks, roots, clogs, real low spots. the sewer line is fine.
As its at least 50 years old and looks good. go on youtube and watch a few videos on scoping.
there really is not much to know or learn about it. Its very simple.

You can suggest the sewer line be water jetted. it will clean all that stuff right off the pipe, and it will not harm the steel pipe at all.


The condition of that cast-iron pipe is very typical. Did you notice the increase of water near the end of your scoping? There is either an obstruction beyond that pooling of water or a back graded pipe. I would call this out for further evaluation by a licensed plumbing contractor.


I don’t personally do scopes (we sub them out) but have watched a few thousand over the years. The guys I work with would likely recommend a power-jet (cleaning) and rescope. You don’t know if the water is pooling due to debris or if there is a grading issue. And with all that flaking it’s impossible to really gauge the condition of the pipe. As for an answer to your specific question that’s just a flake of cast iron hanging by a cobweb, etc.

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I showed this to the two separate companies I use to do my sewer scopes, one is an Illinois license plumber, the other all they do is sewer scopes for residential and commercial. I only ask what they thought. Both said heavy build up and signs of scaling/corrosion/deterioration at “aged” cast iron. One noted use caution when jet cleaning, with old cast-iron it can cause additional damage.


Training is exactly what I am doing. This was my first scope and it was on a neighbors house who was letting me try out my new scope. I didn’t charge them. I’m trying to get a feel for things before I start doing real ones. Thanks for the advice.


That’s great Jaun! Keep training until you get a complete understanding of the process and make sure you fall under a “qualified or licensed” inspector if your area requires it. :wink:

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Hey Juan,

Congrats on considering sewer scope for your added services. I have been scoping for 4 years and have done thousands of scopes for context.

That is scale and build up on the cast iron line.

I would recommend a hydro-jetting of the line if I personally did that scope.

Good luck out there!


any suggestions on a good sewer scope that wont break the bank?

You get what you pay for. Rigid is what I see all the serious guys using. It’s upwards of 10K for a full setup with a locator and a couple hundred foot spool. Even the good stuff will fail and need repairs which sucks if you only have the one set. The most common things I’ve heard of failing are the camera head due to getting bashed into things and/or the cable getting kinked due to cramming it into the pipe trying to get past stuff.

There are cheaper cameras available for sure but all of the components are just that… cheaper. I actually bought one of the lower end units and it’s okay with newer ABS lines as the pipes are smooth. When you get into older cast iron, clay, transite, concrete, etc. a cheap camera is not long for this world.

That depends. How much $$$$ is in the bank??

Juan - Like others have said…CI that is aged will scale on the interior. There is more than I typically see on a line in Seattle (Not much older than 110 years on the left coast), but all sorts of variables can play into things. Usually you will see it on the bottom, but that piece was hanging tough like a stalactite.
I will usually call it out - there is nothing that can be done with chemicals. Plumbers and rooters have some different concepts they will use (hydro jet, chain grinders, etc…) I usually tell them to use the line until they have an issue and then at that point, the plumber has to clear the scale and blockage. There is a risk of pipe damage with any “fix”, so in my eyes, hold off until you have a real issue. Also, as others stated, since it is super typical, it could be that they get another 20 years with no issues too.
If you do a youtube search on “de-scale cast iron” you will see some video footage posted of treatments.
Now - Get after it. It will pay for itself fairly quickly if you let agents know you have it. Also, be sure to ask clients if they have an interest in a sewer scope as well. It provides peace of mind in conjunction with the top notch inspection report you should be doing too. Do not undercut your market on pricing! Maybe offer all agents you like working with to have the first one for them done at half price to get them comfortable with the whole concept. Be creative and you will find yourself doing a scope on 3-4 per week easily.


So that’s where my wife’s necklace ended up…