Sewer lines

Originally Posted By: jrobnett
This post was automatically imported from our archived forum.

I inspected a 40 yr. old house that had been vacant for months The plumbing seemed to drain ok. I filled the bathtub and sink and let them drain at the same time with no problems. After the people moved in the sewer backed up when they were washing clothes, taking a shower and washing dishes at the same time. They called a plumber and the sewer lines had tree roots blocking them. Should I offer to pay for this and how can I avoid such a problem?


Originally Posted By: jpope
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(1) No.

(2) You can’t.

Your standard disclaimers should cover you in these situations.

If it is not "visible" and/or "readily accessible," it can't be inspected.

Jeff Pope
JPI Home Inspection Service
"At JPI, we'll help you look better"
(661) 212-0738

Originally Posted By: ssmith3
This post was automatically imported from our archived forum.

I inspect homes in the Sacramento CA area and many have older clay sewer lines that are prone to root infestation. I have teamed up with a local guy who runs a video camera down the length of the line. Costs 250 per shot.

One home buyer who did NOT get it done and had hired another inspector found out the real cost of replacing broken/offset drains. Close to $40,000.00 ![icon_eek.gif](upload://yuxgmvDDEGIQPAyP9sRnK0D0CCY.gif) It seemed that everything was draining OK during the inspection but when people moved in and started using the plumbing there was this "wet spot" at the edge of the lawn next to the sidewalk.

The entire line had to be replaced from the house to the connection in the street. That's why the cost was sooooo high.

I recommend finding someone local that is willing to run a camera down the line and offer it to your customer as an add on service. Especially for older homes and those that have sat vacant for some time.

Scott Smith


Vice President NorCal NACHI Chapter

I graduated from collage. Now my life is all mixed up.

Originally Posted By: tallen
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I can tell you from personal experience that the drains may work fine one day , and the next day BAM your home is flooded.

I was out of the country for 2 years. My home was vacant. I get home and checked out everything> all is well or so I thought. Two weeks after I returned to my home I flushed the hall toilet at 11:00 pm, 11:05 pm I noticed my hall carpet was getting darker ![icon_confused.gif](upload://qv5zppiN69qCk2Y6JzaFYhrff8S.gif) 11:06
Holy crap! the Master bedroom stall shower is overflowing 11:07 call the Sunday night plumber (ouch)
11:45 he clears a clog (contents unknown) most likely palm roots. 12:30 call the Black water clean up crew. 1:00 am carpets pulled and all furniture removed. 7 fans installed ( to dry it out). Call Home owners (State farm) Next day 6:00 am remove all baseboard, kick plates and wet sheetrock. Sleeping and living in the living room.

To make a long story less long I spent 1.5 months in my living room. My insurance company cancelled my policy after 7 years. My HO insurance went from 300 to 1200.

The palm trees have been removed

Like Jeff said if it is not visible it's not your fault.