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July 13, 2020

Home Sewer Lines: Everything You Need To Know

Damage to sewer lines can be devastating to a home, causing both health and structural issues. Unlike external home issues which may be more visible, sewer line damage is not always apparent until it has become a major problem.

Fortunately, home owners and buyers can be proactive by having a sewer scope inspection from a certified inspector. Sewer Scan uses specialized camera equipment to look for damage and blockages, and provides a detailed report with findings. Addressing these issues early can help protect your family and home.

Health Risks of Sewage Exposure

WIN Home Inspection Sewer Health Risks

When sewer lines are damaged or blocked, sewage can backup into the home. This water contains a variety of biological hazards that can cause intestinal, lung, and other infections. The moisture also creates the perfect growing environment for mold, and if backups go unnoticed, the mold can spread and expose people in the home to additional health risks.

Health risks and symptoms:

  • Bacteria causes diseases such as E-coli, typhoid fever, salmonella, and cholera. Bacteria can cause diarrhea, fever, and cramps, as well as vomiting, headache, and weakness.
  • Funguses such as aspergillus grow in compost and can cause allergic symptoms and make asthma worse.
  • Parasites found in sewage include roundworm and giardia lamblia, which can cause diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, or slight fever.
  • Viruses like hepatitis A is found in some sewage. Hepatitis A causes liver disease.
  • Harmful gases include carbon dioxide, methane, chlorine, nitrous oxide, hydrogen sulfide, and sulfur dioxide. These gases can lead to a lack of oxygen in the home, causing sickness, disorientation, and even death.
  • Mold spores are extremely dangerous, especially to people with preexisting respiratory issues. They can cause or increase the severity of respiratory problems, along with causing eye or skin irritation.

Structural Risks of Damaged Sewage Lines

WIN Home Inspection Water Damage

Blocked and damaged sewer lines can also lead to extensive structural issues in and around the home. Basements and flooring are especially at risk, and the interior damage can be expensive to repair if not discovered early.

Structural problems from blocked, leaking, or broken sewage lines:

  • Flooding in home: Sewer backups can flood your home, damaging the building and your belongings.
  • Flooding in yard: If a sewer line beneath your property leaks, septic waste pools can develop.
  • Sinkholes and indentations on property: Damaged sewer pipes beneath your property saturate the soil, leading to indentations or even sinkholes in the land or pavement above.
  • Foundation problems: Underground leaks near your foundation can cause shifting and even cracks to your foundation.
  • Mold growth: Damaged sewage pipes can leak into your walls and create the moist conditions mold thrives in.

Causes of Sewer Line Issues

Three main culprits that cause most sewer line issues:

  1. Grease build-up, accumulated foreign objects, or debris in the sewer line
  2. Tree roots intruding into the sewer pipes, causing partial or complete blockage
  3. Old, deteriorated sewer pipes collapsing

This issues can worsen over time as regular wear-and-tear makes sewer lines more susceptible. The best way to check on the health of your sewer line and get ahead of issues is to have a sewer scope inspection by a certified inspector.

Signs of Possible Sewer Line Problem

Any of the following signs of possible problems with your sewer line should be investigated immediately.

  1. Septic waste pools
  2. Sewer odors
  3. Sewage backups
  4. Slow drain
  5. Extra green patches in grass
  6. Insect infestation
  7. Rat problem
  8. Indentation in yard
  9. Foundation problems
  10. Mold

Sewer Scope Inspection: What It Is and Why You Might Need One

sewer scope inspection uses a video attached to a snake-like cable to examine the lateral sewer line. This privately-owned pipeline leads from the house near the foundation to connect to the publicly-owned main sewer line or septic tank. The sewer scope inspection can reveal damage to the pipes, blockages, and other problems. It also can spot potential problem areas before they develop into serious issues or hazards, letting you take action before you experience extensive damage, health issues, or expensive repairs.

Get peace of mind by scheduling an inspection by WIN Home Inspection, the nation’s largest network of Certified Sewer Scope Home Inspectors. The certified and insured inspectors use conduct a sewer scan using state-of-the-art camera equipment to detect issues in sewer lines. WIN Home Inspection can help identify these issues before they become larger issues.

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