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Sewer Scope Inspections: Essential Guide for Utah Homeowners

Sewer Scope

For Utah homeowners, keeping their properties in top-notch condition is a priority. One crucial aspect often overlooked is the sewer system. Sewer scope inspections play a vital role in maintaining the health of these underground networks. By understanding the fundamentals of sewer scope inspections, homeowners can proactively address potential issues before they escalate, saving both time and money in the long run. This provides Utah homeowners with essential knowledge about sewer scope inspections, empowering them to make informed decisions about their properties' maintenance.


Sewer scopes are very important in New Construction Home Inspections. It is not uncommon to find construction debris, rocks, or other items in the brand-new sewer line. We have also seen many cases when the pipe was damaged or punctured during the soil backfill around the pipe. Sure, the builder runs water through the sewer system to test the sewer system, but generally it has not been load tested with “solids” or had multiple plumbing systems draining simultaneously such as showers, tubs, dishwashers, washing machines, and toilets.

Understanding Sewer Scope Inspections

A sewer scope inspection is an essential component of the home inspection process, designed to provide homeowners and potential buyers with an in-depth look at the condition of a property's sewer system. Utilizing specialized equipment, this non-invasive procedure helps identify issues within the main sewer line that could lead to costly repairs if not detected early. 

Definition and Purpose

Sewer scope inspections are targeted examinations of the main sewer line connecting a home to the municipal sewer system or a septic tank. This inspection aims to uncover any defects, blockages, or damages that could disrupt the normal flow of wastewater away from the property. The primary purpose is to mitigate the risk of sewage backups, which can result in significant property damage and health hazards. For Utah homeowners, particularly those residing in older neighborhoods, understanding the underground aspects of their property through a sewer scope inspection is crucial for maintaining a safe and healthy living environment.

Equipment Used

The primary tool used in sewer scope inspections is a flexible borescope, also known as a sewer camera. This waterproof device is mounted on a long, flexible rod, allowing it to navigate through twists and turns in the sewer line while transmitting real-time video back to the inspector. The sewer camera is equipped with lights to illuminate the dark environment within the pipe, enabling the inspector to visually identify issues such as cracks, breaks, blockages, and root intrusions. The use of high-definition cameras ensures that even the smallest defects are visible, making it possible to assess the sewer line's condition accurately.

Examination Process

The sewer scope examination process begins with the inspector locating the sewer cleanout—an access point to the sewer line. After ensuring the cleanout is clear, the inspector inserts the sewer camera and guides it through the sewer line, carefully inspecting the pipe's interior for any signs of damage or obstruction. The real-time footage is displayed on a monitor, allowing the inspector to analyze the condition of the sewer line as the examination is conducted. On completion, the inspector withdraws the camera and provides a detailed report of the findings, which may include recommendations for repairs or maintenance to prevent potential issues. We provide a video link of the camera recorded in the report.This report is invaluable for homeowners and buyers, offering peace of mind or alerting them to necessary corrective actions.

Understanding the importance and capabilities of sewer scope inspections equips Utah homeowners with the knowledge to make informed decisions about their property’s sewer system health. This proactive approach can save significant time and expense by addressing issues before they escalate into major problems.

The Significance of Sewer Inspections in Utah

The importance of sewer scope inspections cannot be overstated, especially in the unique landscape and infrastructure of Utah. With a picturesque setting that ranges from desert lands to mountainous regions, the local conditions present specific challenges to sewer systems. By understanding the age of homes, the local soil composition, and prevalent sewer issues, homeowners can appreciate the critical role of sewer inspections in maintaining their property’s health and value.

Age of Homes and Infrastructure

Utah's neighborhoods are a mix of historical homes and new developments, with many older properties boasting extensive histories. These older homes, while charming and full of character, often come equipped with aging infrastructure, particularly sewer lines that may not have been inspected or replaced in decades. The materials used in these older sewer systems, such as clay or cast iron, are more susceptible to deterioration over time. Regular sewer inspections are thus essential in identifying potential problems that could lead to severe complications down the line.

Local Soil Conditions and Their Impact

The soil composition across Utah varies significantly, from sandy soils in desert areas to dense clay in others. These diverse soil types can affect the stability and integrity of sewer lines. For instance, soil with high clay content can shift more dramatically due to moisture changes, leading to pipe misalignment or breaks. Similarly, sandy soils may not provide the same level of support to sewer lines, increasing the risk of collapse. Conducting sewer scope inspections allows homeowners to understand how local soil conditions may impact their sewer line’s health.

Common Sewer Problems in Utah

Several common sewer problems plague Utah homes, including root intrusions, cracks, and blockages. The expansive growth of tree roots searching for moisture can invade sewer lines, causing significant damage. Combined with the age and material of the sewer pipes, as well as soil conditions, these factors can contribute to the deterioration of sewer systems. Identifying these issues early through sewer scope inspections can save considerable time, stress, and expense.

Regional Statistics on Sewer-Related Issues

Statistics from local Utah municipalities highlight the necessity of regular sewer inspections. Several regions have reported an uptick in sewer system failures, attributing much of this to neglected maintenance and aging infrastructure. By participating in proactive sewer scope inspections, homeowners contribute not only to the longevity of their property's sewer system but also to the overall community's well-being by preventing potential public health issues.

The unique landscape, infrastructure age, and soil conditions in Utah underscore the importance of sewer scope inspections. These examinations serve as a preventative measure, ensuring that homeowners can address issues before they escalate, thereby safeguarding their homes and the broader community.

Identifying Potential Sewer Problems and Solutions

The ability to identify and swiftly address potential sewer problems is an indispensable skill for homeowners. By understanding the common issues prevalent in sewer systems, especially within Utah's distinctive environmental and infrastructural context, residents can take critical steps toward preventing small issues from escalating into full-blown catastrophes.

Root Intrusion

One of the most common problems identified during sewer scope inspections is root intrusion. In Utah, with its varied climates and extensive tree growth in suburban areas, roots seeking moisture often find their way into sewer lines, causing blockages or even breaking through the pipe walls. These intrusions can significantly compromise the sewer system's integrity, leading to backups and potential property damage.

Broken or Cracked Pipes

The state's soil composition, particularly in regions with expansive clay, can exert excessive pressure on sewer lines, leading to cracks or total pipe collapse. Older homes with aging infrastructure are particularly susceptible to this issue. During the inspection, any signs of damage are meticulously documented, enabling homeowners to prioritize repairs.

Blockages and Buildup

Over time, sewer lines can accumulate debris, including grease, sanitary products, and other materials that should not be disposed of via the sewer system. These accumulations can cause significant blockages, impairing the sewage flow and potentially leading to backups into the home, which poses both a health and environmental risk.

Low Points or “Bellies”

Low points or “bellies” in the pipe are caused by soil settlement. Bellies cause the water to pool in a section of pipe, slowing the water flow and dropping sediment in a section of the pipe that can later lead to clogs or backups.

Old Cast Iron Pipe

Old cast iron pipe that rusts internally and creates heaving pitting in the interior pipe surface leading to excessive friction and snagging of the material flowing through the pipe. When the pipe deteriorates enough leaks can also occur, leaving a cesspool in your yard.

Solutions and Preventative Measures

Upon identifying issues, several solutions and preventative measures can be implemented to mitigate risks and ensure the sewer system's longevity. For root intrusion, one might consider mechanical root cutting or the application of root-killing agents, though these are temporary fixes. In the long run, pipe repair or replacement might be necessary. For cracked or broken pipes, trenchless repair methods, such as pipe lining or pipe bursting, offer less invasive solutions compared to traditional excavation repairs. Preventative measures are vital in mitigating future issues. 

Regular sewer scope inspections are an excellent starting point, providing a clear picture of the sewer system's health. Educating all household members on what should not be flushed or poured down drains can significantly reduce the risk of blockages. Finally, considering the local environmental factors, including soil conditions and vegetation growth, can guide landscaping decisions that minimize the impact on sewer lines. Proactive homeownership involves understanding both the potential problems that may affect a property's sewer system and the solutions and preventative measures available. 

For Utah residents, recognizing the unique challenges their homes may face is the first step towards ensuring the health and functionality of their sewer systems, thereby protecting their homes and the environment. By attending to these underground aspects with the diligence they require, homeowners can secure not only their property's integrity but also contribute to the broader community's well-being through responsible maintenance and environmental stewardship.

Discover the secrets to maintaining your Utah home's infrastructure with confidence. Behind The Scenes Home Inspections specializes in comprehensive sewer scope inspections, ensuring your property remains in optimal condition.

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