I just recieved a call from a realtor who I inspected a House for. The client has moved into the house I inspected and his drain line for his washer is not draining. No appliances were present at the time of the inspection. He has had a plumber evaluate the drain line. The plumber used a camera and discovered that there are tree roots growing in the waste line (cast iron). The client is not upset he is just trying to figure out if the home warranty is going to cover this, which it is not. I am not at fault am I…

I wouldn’t think so.

What does your PIA say about underground pipes?

PIA please explain

PIA= Pre-inspection Agreement

Where you define the scope and limitations of your service
What you can not see, you can not report

Thats what it says. I was worried that maybe I should have taken a garden hose and ran it into the drain line. (Ha, Ha)

That would have been great when the water started spilling back into the house:shock:

Sounds like it might be an older home, as the waste lines are caste iron. I have a disclaimer in my report about older caste iron lines and that the customer should have them scoped out due to the reasons you stated. I think only one cleint has followed that advise. Most of them are too cheap to pay for it.

Don’t laugh Billy thats exactly what I do on a vacant house. I carry washing machine hose with one end cut off and I run water down the drain the whole time I am at the property. Better to back it up during the inspection than after close. There are no questions or worries the line flows or it does not. Sop in this state does not require testing of the washing machine line but I do it anyway always have and always will just my way of cya

Yes George that is great I would much perfer to mop a little water during the inspection than get a phone call after the close. This just happened to me this last week the main drain was stopped up and back up out of a leaking bathtub drain on a slab floor. I found two problems for the price of saying well I could not see inside of the drain line it is buried. Thats what you have water at the faucets for.

The realtors comment was; Glad it happend now and not after close.

It is crazy to even think that you would be responsible for that. Unless you stuck a camera in the drain line. The amount of tests that we do for plumbing leaks wouldn’t cause a main to back up, especally it the house was vacant.

Steven; I may be crazy but I don’t just check for leaks I as an inspector do feel responsible to my client to ensure the sewer line is flowing to the city connection as intended.

I try very hard to flood the sewer line as every fixture within the home is flowing water during the time I am within the home and this is usually at least 1 1/2 hours inside the home. When I leave a inspection I am going to know if the sewer line is flowing or not. Based on what I observe depends on if a camera scope is recommended or not. I don’t recommend a camera scope just for the sake of doing it I need a reason. I don’t really care how much water I waste I just do it.

I would pay for a rodding. About $100.00, around here.

Think of the client good will.

Hope this helps;

I am stumped because I checked all toilets and sinks and tub/showers and they all drained with no problem why is it only showing up on the waste line for the washer. Wouldn’t these lines be tied together or seperate.

Billy; do you remember the size of the washer drain line diameter. I have experienced the old 1 1/2 inch drains that would not take the pressure/volume from the new type washing machines that need a 2 inch drain to accommodate them. Seller had an old washer the drain worked fine buyer moved in with a new washer and the drain back up on the washer only. But if the plumber found tree roots thats another problem where did he find them.

The washer drain line is going to connect to a larger probally 4 inches before it exits the foundation so what your saying makes not a lot of sense to me???

I think it was the old 1 1/2" Dia. But my question is would the drain lines from the other utilities (tub, shower, toilet, and sink) be seperat from the drain line of the washer. Or would they all tie into one 4" cst iron waste line.

All of the separate drains will at some point tie into a common drain before it leaves the foundation. Are we talking slab foundation here. Depending on the foot print of the home you may have 10 or 20 feet or even more of the washing machine drain as a separate drain before it connects into the main. Lets say the kitchen and utility room are in one end of the home and the bathrooms are in the opposite end. The main sewer line will normally exit the foundation in the area of the bathroom or Bathrooms plural and all other drains travel toward the main exit. Depending on the foot print the washing machine and the kitchen sink can Wye together and then just one line toward the main.

I am just speculating here as I don’t have a clue as to how your home is laid out. I am just generalizing how a lot of homes are laid out here in Okla.

If you discharged a sufficient amount of water down the drains for an extended amount of time and are sure the main was flowing I would tend to believe that the washing machine drain if 1 1/2 diameter was partially blocked with soap scum or some other restriction in the line.

If you only discharge enough water to check the leaks on the P-traps and flushed the commodes a couple of times that is not enough water to fill a 4 inch cast iron drain line that has any length. It takes several hundred gallons to fill most of these drains. How far from the foundation to the city drop are these yards short say less than 50 feet.

I got burnt once on a sewer main that ran over a hundred feet from the foundation to the city drop I use to only run water for about 1/2 hour until this happened and I vowed to never let it happen twice I increased my time to 1 hour or more. The subject home had been vacant for a year and the inside of the sewer line dried out forming a scale that just kind of hung on the interior of the pipe. Then along comes me and start running water down the drain knocking this scale off in massive amounts it all collected at the city drop for some reason blocking the line. I stopped running water just before it backup. The buyer moves in and the first flush on the commode runs onto the floor Woe is me I got the call immediately. If I had just ran that water two more minutes I would have detected the problem. The moral of this story is I don’t turn the water off any to soon now. My protocol is now the last thing I do before leaving the home turn the water off and give the commodes a last and final flush??? End of inspection.

Give me your floor plan, how big the yard to determine how far to the city drop and where the tree roots are suppose to have been discovered. How much water you ran down the drains. Your question can be deciphered right here on this board. (maybe)