Many homes built prior to the 1980’s were built with an underground heating oil storage tank. While most homes in New Jersey utilize natural gas for heat, there are still houses that are oil-heated a […]
When buying a home, one of the most important things to ensure is that the sewer line is in serviceable condition. As a homeowner, you are financially responsible for your sewer line from the house to the lateral. Replacing or repairing a sewer line can cost thousands of dollars and can take several days to perform, leaving you without a functional sewage system. As such, it is highly recommended that you have the sewer line inspected prior to purchasing a home.
The process of inspecting a sewer line involves the insertion of a camera into the pipe through a cleanout. The camera is attached to a cable which is then pushed through the sewer. The camera provides live video to an attached monitor so that the inspector can identify issues or anomalies on site. This video is also stored on an external drive so that it can be archived and reviewed in greater detail later. Following the completion of the inspection, the inspector provides a copy of the video along with a typed report which details his findings including measurements corresponding to any observed issues.
Some common issues encountered during sewer inspections are grease buildup, root intrusion, obstructions, and misalignments. As grease enters a sewer line, it begins to accumulate and frequently settles at the bottom of a sewer line. This grease does not breakdown in water and so it will not dissipate over time. In severe circumstances, a pipe can become so grease filled, that proper flow is inhibited, leading to sewage backups, etc. Additionally, grease can cause blockages that would have otherwise been avoidable, meaning that issues are more likely to occur in a sewer line with significant grease deposits.
Root intrusion occurs when a sewer line has some form of break or gap in it, and roots from a nearby bush or tree begin to grow inside the pipe itself. While no more than a nuisance at first, these roots will grow over time and can completely obstruct a sewer line. Furthermore, roots can cause prior obstructions or misalignments to worsen and lead to sewer backups. Blockages is the term used to describe any object(s) which are wedged into the sewer line, reducing proper flow. Any object not intended to be flushed down a drain can cause a blockage. In severe cases, this may even necessitate the excavation and replacement of the obstructed section of a pipe, costing thousands of dollars.
A sewer line may also have a mechanical failure such as a break, belly, or misalignment. These may be caused by improper installation, degradation of the pipe material, or erosion of the soil underneath the pipes, among others. While some issues are minor, many worsen over time or render a sewer line unserviceable. In extreme examples, the entire sewer line may need to be excavated and either replaced or realigned.
In the case of grease, roots, or minor blockages, sewer jetting is typically sufficient to remove the issue. A sewer jetter shoots water at high-pressure through a semi-rigid hose. Several different heads can be attached to this hose to allow the technicians to deal with the specific issues that a sewer line might have. The hose is inserted into the sewer line and pushed its entire length to ensure that the entirety of the pipe has been sufficiently jetted. The sewer camera is also utilized throughout to ensure all obstructions have been removed.
In those cases in which sewer jetting is insufficient or if the pipe has a mechanical issue, repairs are required. In minor cases, this involves the excavation of the compromised section of the pipe and its replacement with new piping. In more extreme cases, most if not all of the pipe may require to be exposed and either realigned or replaced. This process often requires the street to be excavated to allow access to the lateral, necessitating township permits and bonds.
Sewer backups are never fun and fixing them can often cost you an arm and a leg. That is why it is so important to ensure that the house you are purchasing has no issues lurking around the corner. Call Brink’s today to schedule a sewer inspection. Our technicians have over a decade of experience in the field and we are fully licensed and equipped to perform any necessary work to resolve issues that may be encountered.