Salt Lake City homes: Inspecting the sewer line

When a buyer goes under contract on a Salt Lake City home they intend to buy, they almost always have a physical inspection done by a professional home inspector.


Many of the older Salt Lake City homes have older mechanical systems.  A home inspector can inspect most of these systems for you, but not every system is visible to the eye, some are buried in walls or under the ground.


An additional inspection to consider when buying an older home in Salt Lake City, is a  lateral sewer line inspection done with a fiber optic video camera.  The lateral sewer line is the main sewer line that connects the home to the city sewer system.  This test is especially important if many drains are backing up in the home, if there are signs of a problem.


Some of the Salt Lake City homes built in the 1950’s and earlier have the original sewer line which is clay pipe with mortared joints.  Tree roots can grow in through the seams and cause an obstruction.  Because water flows in these pipes, the roots flourish and can form root balls.  Also, if one of the previous owners dumped grease or other junk down the drain that can clog it up too.


Clogs like these can often be solved by hiring a company to roto-root the sewer line and aren’t very expensive as long as the back up didn’t cause damage to the interior of the home.  The least you’ll spend though is a couple hundred dollars which is about what it cost to do the video inspection.


The problem might be more serious though, like a collapsed sewer line.  This can cost anywhere from $3,000 to over $8,000 depending on who does the work, how long the line is and whether it runs under driveways or sidewalks.  Also, some sewer lines are shared between two homes complicating it further with your new neighbor.


The cost for a video sewer inspection runs around $150 to $200 and can be well worth it.  There are many local plumbing companies that provide this service.  Of course you should do this test during the time for inspection when you are under contract, prior to buying the home so if it does have a collapsed sewer line, you don’t own it yet and you have options.


If you need help with the purchase of a Salt Lake City home, condo or duplex, please contact me.  I’m an experienced Salt Lake City realtor and the majority of my clients are buyers of Salt Lake City homes and condos.


Kevin Coyle

Associate Broker, MBA

Stonebrook Real Estate

Mobile: 801-243-0699

Office: 801-466-8977


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