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Now offering sewer scope inspections!

Now offering in-house sewer scope inspections. 

No third-party service. Our sewers scope team is certified for your inspection needs. Schedule as an add-on service with any qualifying service or inspection. Prices start at $330.00 

Some Restrictions do Apply - Only available in Chicago when performed with an Inspection

Sewer Scope Inspections all of
Chicago and Chicago Suburbs

A sewer scope inspection of the property’s sewer line is performed in order to evaluate the sewer line's condition and to identify any components that may need immediate repair or clearing. 


Conducting a sewer scope inspection can be one of the most cost-effective ways to discover if the sewer line is compromised in any way and to save you from a very costly repair.  Regardless of the property's age or type of property, a sewer line can be compromised.   Blockages, roots, collapse and more can impact the health of your sewer and plumbing system.

Sewer Scope Inspection White Glove Inspection

Sewer Scope Inspections (Sometimes referred to as a sewer scan) are important because any problems with the main sewer line are the financial responsibility of the homeowner, NOT the city!  This can be an incredibly expensive and nasty surprise with repairs that can be anywhere from $4,000.00 and up, sometimes even hitting 5-digit repair costs.  Inspecting the sewer line, also called the sewer waste lateral, you are taking the first step in preventing sewer line issues.

White Glove's in-house property inspectors will be able to provide you with a detailed written report and video of the Sewer Scope Inspection. 

When Should I Consider a Sewer Scope Inspection?

You should consider a sewer scope inspection on any house, any age, and any type of style home. No home is immune to sewer problems. Yes, even new homes can have problems with the main building drain, and sewer line. But, as you might imagine, the potential for problems increases with the age of the home.  If you’re buying an older home, it’s wise to get a sewer scope inspection. There is no line between homes that should and shouldn’t have a sewer scan performed. A sewer scope inspection is best completed during the inspection process. White Glove Building Inspections, Inc. completes the sewer scope inspection during the home inspection, for home buyers and clients as an additional, but much-needed service. 

What Causes Sewer Line Blockages?

There are several possible causes for sewer line blockage, the most common are:

  • Roots: Tree roots are the biggest offender in blocking sewer lines. That's because sewer lines are the perfect environment for tree roots, which love the constant source of water in pipes and the nutrients sewage provides. Tree roots have immense invasive power and will find the smallest crack in a line to force their way through. Tree roots grow quickly and can soon block a line. Plumbers can normally auger tree roots out of pipes at a minimal cost. Root problems are easy to spot during video inspections.

  • Settling: Sewer lines placed in improperly compacted or supported trenches sink and create low spots. In plumbing language, these are called bellies. This creates a stagnant settling point and causes slow sludge buildup until blocks happen. Unfortunately, bellies often occur, and the only fix is expensive. Bellied sewer lines must be excavated and repositioned. Thankfully, bellies are simple to identify through sewer scope inspection.

  • Ground Shifting: Even the best-laid sewer lines can go out of slope or detach over time. Ground settling happens for many reasons: groundwater table changes, nearby excavations i.e. landscaping, or even seismic events. Pipes blocked by ground shifting usually require expensive digs and repairs. A sewer scope inspection will reveal shifting ground conditions.

  • Inferior Pipe Materials: Many older homes were connected to the sewer by clay or concrete tiles. These are segmented lengths of brittle pipe material that crack over time from root invasion or changing ground conditions. Newer homes now use durable, plastic sewer pipes. A video inspection will quickly identify inferior pipe materials and raise a red flag for future problems.

  • Poor Installation: As any project humans do, sewer line installation is subject to bad construction techniques. The most common installation problems are improper joints with severe angles and poorly fitted connections. Video inspections will spot poor workmanship and give a warning for looming problems.

  • Homeowners: Unfortunately, the human factor of the people who reside in the home and use the plumbing system can also impact the sewer line.  Dumping grease down the drain, hair, sanitary products, toys or other items that might be flushed by young ones, improper disposal of paints and other building materials, and flushable wipes. Yes, that is correct flushable wipes are not flushable and they do not break down! 

All these items and more can contribute to and cause sewer blockages.

What is the Sewer Scope Inspection Looking For?

The sewer scope inspection is looking for a few key items.  The first is blockages, whether they are roots, settling, shifting, etc.  The second is breaks in the sewer line, where the whole line has become disconnected and is not flowing properly to the main sewer line or septic system.  They will also be looking for any other damages that need to be addressed such as cracks or bent piping, etc. 

Additionally, they will look for and confirm if the sewer line is functioning as expected.  This is determined by making sure that the sewer line slopes down to the main sewer line at the right degree.  The minimal amount of slope required for a normal four-inch diameter residential sewer line is a quarter inch of fall per every one foot of the run.

I'm Buying a New Home, Should I Do a Sewer Scope Inspection?

Simple answer, YES!  Humans build homes and humans make mistakes.  The builders could have done any number of things that could compromise the sewer line.  They might have run over the ground with heavy equipment and damaged the pipe, maybe it was laid wrong originally, or maybe they were dumping building materials down the drain and disposing of them improperly.  All of these contribute to the failure of a drain and result in an unnecessary repair due to negligence.

An Issue Was Found With My Sewer Scope Inspection, Now What?

If a problem was found during the routine sewer scope inspection you have only diagnosed the problem.  Now the work begins in completing repairs.  You will need to have a reputable plumbing company that specializes in sewer repair come out and start the repair process.  Sometimes a simple auger of the line will suffice with regular upkeep, other times more extensive repairs may be necessary.

Be warned the process can be messy and destructive.  It is very common that the yard will need to be dug up to run a new pipe and remove any roots, plants, etc. that might cause new problems. Contact us now to learn more!

The information shared here is relevant to White Glove Building Inspections, Inc., the real estate, and home inspection market in Chicago and the greater Chicagoland area.  Be sure to consult with your real estate agent and attorney for additional information and what will work best for your upcoming real estate purchase.

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