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Sep 18

Why New Homeowners Should Scope Out The Main Sewer Line Before Purchase

family running to new house

When you’re purchasing a home, you have enough to keep in mind. From the number of rooms to a termite inspection, you may feel like there isn’t a part of your potential home that you don’t know. However, many new homeowners neglect to scope out the main sewer line before purchase. Here’s why getting a sewer inspection is critical before making that offer on a home.

Discovering Unknown Problems

Problems with your home’s sewer line can lead to costly repairs, so it’s best to know the condition your sewer line is in. The most common cause of damage comes from trees. Because tree roots seek water and grow in any direction, a gap or void in the sewer line could allow a space for tree roots to grow. Once tree roots begin to grow in your sewer line, they can create an obstruction. A sewer line inspection will ensure that the line is clear.

Sewer Line Materials

Over the years, the material that sewer lines are made out of has changed drastically. Each material comes with its own set of maintenance rules, regulations, and, unfortunately, issues. A sewer line inspection will identify the material the line is made out of, which can help you perform maintenance moving forward.

Clay Tile

Common in homes built before the 1970s, clay tile is susceptible to tree root invasion. In order to ensure that the sewer line is clear, it is necessary to snake clay tile lines every six months to one year.

Orangeburg Pipe

Orangeburg pipe, utilized between 1945 and 1972, is made out of wood fiber and tar pitch. These lines tend to be weak and have a typical life expectancy of about 50 years. Luckily, most sewer lines made out of orangeburg pipe have already been replaced, but if a sewer line inspection identifies the pipe as orangeburg, you can expect it to need to be replaced soon.

Thin-Walled PVC Pipe

An alternative to clay tile, thin-walled PVC pipe became popular in the 1980s. However, early PVC installations were thin, meaning these pipes often fail under pressure. 

Thick-Walled Schedule 40 PVC

After thin-walled PVC pipe rose in popularity, we began to see the installation of thick-walled schedule 40 PVC. This piping is still preferred today and is resistant to pressure, breakdown, and breakage. If you choose to move forward purchasing a home with outdated pipes, you can expect to use this material to replace them.

Knowing what the main sewer line looks like when purchasing a home can give you an idea of whether or not you’ll have a costly repair in your future. To learn more about your main sewer line, give First Chicago Plumbing a call at (772) 661-7969.

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