New York Real Estate is great when your not dealing with huge sewer issues. What is a sewer scope and why is it a must if you are buying an older property?
A sewer scope is separate from your Home Inspection. The service can also be called a sewer inspection. These are not required to show to the lender and I would not recommend doing so as it might bring up issues with your financing.
So now you know what they are, but what are they looking for, its not like they’re going to find treasure down there…
Or better said the inspector is looking to find a massive money pit to help you keep your hard earned treasure where it belongs. When a sewer pipe breaks or needs replacing repairmen literally need to dig through the street, sidewalk, your front lawn and possibly under your home in order to replace the pipe.
In the New York area real estate market a sewer inspection is pretty much a must if your realtor is recommending it. Realtor’s wont make a dime you pay the sewer inspection so if they are bringing it up it is in your best interest.
When New York City was built the engineers decided to make concrete the preferred tubing method
It is cheap, durable and not going to corrode from the ‘contents’ it is moving from your house to the main sewer line. But what they didn’t think about is the brittleness of concrete and how it might be affected if it was buried in say a seismically active area… So what ends up happening to the older homes as the land shifts? The pipes start to break and separate causing the ‘contents’ to leave the pipe before it gets to the main sewer line. This is a messy job and you have to pay people a lot of money for them to be willing to clean it up. It can get so bad that you will have pools of it in your lawn, it stinks and is a safety hazard to you, your family and the people who live around your home.
The issue stinks
If the concrete pipe was not bad enough the people who tried to fix the issue decided they would use iron. Again, this is a great idea in theory. It is cheap, durable, and able to transport what your body no longer wants into the sewer. The only issue is over time iron will rust and corrode causing holes that plants can easily work tiny roots into. As the roots use the contents the pipe is flushing away they start to grow. And they grow big because for a plant the sewer line is the mother load of nutrients. Now you have roots that are creating root balls, swelling and creating additional damage to the already injured pipe.
It’s still not over
Now you understand the deficiencies of the 2 pipes but what about when the two pipes come together? Since concrete is a porous brittle substance the iron does not seal properly to it. During the constant seismic movement we have the iron will start to chip away at the concrete making an exposure for roots to come into.
Now a days the construction in the newer construction developments is done in a way that roots will not penetrate and the material used is all uniform to ensure a very tight seal.
It is always a good idea to ask your realtor if they feel the property needs a sewer scope. If they are familiar with the neighborhood and surrounding area they will be able to answer confidently and correctly.