Common sewer pipe concerns..

This is a recent email conversation that is very pertinent it today’s times. File it away in the back of your mind..


Hi Bill,

Thanks again for doing the inspection for us today.  We have an inquiry that we would like to get your opinion on.  The inspection report and associated photos may answer our question, but regardless, would appreciate any input/advice you may be able to offer on this subject.

The buyer, having had a past experience with this, has a concern with what kind of shape the plumbing waste/drain lines are in – most specifically, the line going from the house to the street.  I think we would probably be okay if there was a certain amount of confidence that it was cast iron/galvanized piping all the way to the street.  But if it’s the old clay tile sections pieced together, it would be a big concern. 

Our preference would be to have a plumber/technician with a camera/snake to run through the lines to the street so we could see what they look like.  However, there does not appear to be an accessible clean-out, and the seller is refusing to let us pull the toilet so we can do it that way.

#1)  Did you see anything that would cause for concern?

#2)  Can you offer any advice as to what was typically used in this time period?

#3)  Can you think of any other less intrusive/risky methods of checking out the condition of the lines?

#4)  What are the chances we would see something going on above ground if there were any major issues?

#5)  Anything you want to add that hasn’t been covered addressed in these questions and/or your responses to them?

Thanks a bunch!



Friends…the drain plumbing in the crawl space is cast iron mostly with some galvanized steel and pvc present…..based on the era of construction (60’s or older) the drain plumbing as it leaves the crawl space below grade is most likely clay piping.  Below grade sewer issues cannot really be determined during a home inspection…..All test water drained readily during the inspection and only typically exterior corrosion was present on the visible sections in the crawl space.   This not a good indicator of sewer line health though…… It would have to be really bad to catch in a Home Inspection…..on two occasions I have discovered marshy stinky areas in yards that ended up being sewer related.   The good news is that video inspection of the system interior is no big deal…… probably about $300…..depending on if they can get into the system without pulling the toilet…….this is my recommendation….




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