Most, if not all of us, have seen it: heavy machinery lined up on the street in front of or in the alley in back of a single property. Over a couple of days, this equipment digs what looks to be a huge trench from the property to the street or alley. The culprit: the sewer line. And all of this equipment and dirt and digging can add up to a major expense and a huge headache for the homeowner.
Sewer lines are an integral part of any home yet they aren’t things that people typically think about, until there is a problem. Problems can crop up at any time in any home regardless of the age of the property. Most of the time sewer issues build over time, and by the time the homeowner becomes aware that a problem exists, it’s too late and an expensive repair – sometimes upwards of $10,000 and usually the responsibility of the homeowner – is required.
What can be done to prevent major sewer problems and repairs? Well, in some cases nothing, but in many instances proper sewer maintenance can help tremendously, and this should start during the inspection period, before the homeowner even owns the property.
Here's how it works
One of the inspections available to prospective homeowners during the inspection process is the sewer camera scope. In my opinion, this is a necessary test for any property regardless of when it was built, and this is some of the best money a buyer can spend during the inspection process. During this test, a sewer camera technician inserts a hose with a camera attached to the end into the property’s main water line and snakes the hose all the way out until the sewer line connects with the city’s main line. The technician is looking for any cracks, breaks and obstructions in the sewer line.
Staying on top of things
After the homeowner purchases the house, it’s important for them to maintain the sewer line. It’s a good idea, especially in an older neighborhood where there may be mature trees, to have the sewer line scoped and cleaned periodically. The cost of such work is typically a few hundred dollars, but in the scheme of things is a lot less than the typical cost of repairing a damaged sewer line.
Typically, the homeowner is responsible for the sewer line from their property until their line connects with the city’s main line. If a crack or a break exists underneath the street immediately in front of a property, if the line hasn’t connected to the city’s main line at that point, the homeowner must cover the cost of the necessary repairs.
It’s not a glamorous topic nor is it something that most people think about all that often, but it is an important part of routine home maintenance, and something that should definitely not be overlooked.
Renee Cohen is a Colorado Realtor with a passion for helping her clients find their dream homes in the challenging Denver market. She loves educating her clients about the market, advocating on their behalf, and helping them make informed decisions. Reputable. Reliable. Remarkable. Real Estate. Contact Renee to assist you with your real estate needs!