Sewer Scope: Inspections, Costs & How to detect Scams

sewer scope

Understanding the condition of the underground sewer drain line, as well as the nature and location of a specific issue, would be critical components of your decision to purchase a house. This same independent information applies to current homeowners who suspect they have a problem. They need to prepare before hiring a contractor for repairs.
So, don’t overlook the value of having a sewer scope as part of your home inspection because of the costs. In most jurisdictions, homeowners are liable for any issues in the sewage line that extends from their land to the street. Repairs can be time-consuming and expensive. We’ll see popular Sewer Scope scams in Denver and an overview of Seattle Sewer Scope.

What Is A Sewer Scope Inspection?

We understand that if you are thinking about buying a home, you have a lot on your mind. From making offers to hiring home inspectors to negotiate the sale of your current home.

But that doesn’t mean you should overlook one of the most commonly overlooked – yet crucial – aspects of inspecting a home you’re considering buying.

Sewer scope inspections are typically not part of a standard home inspection, but they are just as important. Why is this the case? Let’s go over the fundamentals of sewer scope inspections and why they’re important right now.

The Sewer Scope Inspection Procedure

A sewer scope inspection usually only takes a few minutes – and the inspection is exactly what it sounds like. A qualified, experienced inspector will operate a specialized, flexible borescope camera, which feeds images and video to a display. The camera then goes through your home’s drainpipe to inspect the sewer lines and other underground pipes for flaws, imperfections, or serious problems.

The whole procedure normally takes no longer than an hour. Following that, the inspector will notify you of their findings and issue a report with details about the state of the sewer line to both you and the home seller.

Cost of a Sewer Scope Inspection

The cost of a sewer scope inspection can vary depending on the region, the specifics of the property, the inspector you use, and a variety of other factors. In most cases, however, it is very inexpensive. The sewer scope inspection cost would usually range between $125 and $300.

This will appear to be a steep climb. Consider this: the cost of fixing a damaged sewer pipe estimate is $250-$300 – per foot of repaired line. Repairing and repairing an entire sewer system or a line with significant structural flaws can easily cost thousands of dollars.

Read Also: Sewer Inspection: Video Costs, Lateral Inspection (+ overview of best Inspection company)

Do I get A Sewer Scope Inspection?

Unquestionably yes. As previously mentioned, a sewage line is often one of the most expensive items to fix in a household. Getting a sewer scope inspection will help you avoid investing in a home that has significant sewer/septic system issues.

You may also be able to save money on a sewer scope inspection if you find a home inspector who provides this service in addition to other standard home inspection services, such as lead and asbestos inspections. Bundling these programs would normally get you a better offer.

sewer scope

Signs you need a Sewer Scope Inspection Before Buying A House

Before you go house hunting, it’s a good idea to know what to look for and what signs can mean that you need to get a sewer scope inspection before making an offer on a house. Here is a list of some of the most common signs that something is wrong with the sewage system or that it is about to be affected.

#1. Sewer Line Cracked

Any visible line on the pipe should never be overlooked.

#2. Water backing up inside the house or crawlspace

This may mean sewer pipe damage or breakage, or a serious clog.

#3. Large trees in the yard

One of the most common causes of sewer pipe damage is the growth of roots around the pipe. Roots may develop around and constrict the pipe, splitting it, or grow into small cracks in the pipe, clogging it or causing leaks.

#4. The house is more than 25 years

Homes built before 1984 may have clay sewer pipes that are easily crushed or destroyed. Usually, these must be replaced to ensure that they are in good working order.

#5. Detect shifting or movement of the ground around the house

If the soil around a house seems to have moved, the pipe may have been disturbed. So, if it has moved, it may have broken or been bent and weakened, necessitating an expensive repair. |

Examine the sidewalk and driveway for clues. Are the surface soils level with the driveway or walkway? Do they seem to be sunk or stacked higher than these concrete surfaces?

#6. Extra-green or lush patches of grass

This is a typical sign of a septic or sewer leak. Sewer water, due to its composition, is an effective fertilizer that can aid in plant growth. If you see a suspiciously healthy-looking area of the yard, particularly if the rest of the lawn appears to be less lush or green, you should be suspicious.

Even if none of the above issues are present, we suggest a sewer scope inspection. Minor sewer line problems can have little or no signs at all, but they can still cost thousands of dollars to fix.

Your inspector will take you through the whole process and make you understand what you’re seeing. If no problems are discovered, that’s fantastic! If there are any minor issues, you might be able to obtain a better rate on the house. Finally, if there is a big problem, you will be able to walk away from the deal. Require the homeowner to make the fix themselves, or get them to reduce the price of the property accordingly.

Denver Sewer Scope

Because of the age of the clay pipe sewer systems, many of the main sewer lines that we scope in the Denver area have problems that need immediate attention. These clay sewer pipes can deteriorate over time with small cracks and are susceptible to tree root damage. When roots smell even the slightest amount of water, they can push their way through cracks and expand into sewer lines in search of water.

Once in the sewer lines, they snag items like toilet paper and garbage, eventually accumulating blockages or, worse, collapsing the pipes. These problems can go undetected for several years. It then results in expensive repairs that could have been avoided with a simple sewer cam inspection.

Denver Sewer Scope Scam

With a growing number of plumbers and excavators purchasing camera systems, we have seen an increase in demand for second opinion scopes. Approximately 80% (by far the majority) of our observations deviate from the original sewer scope in Denver. So, these initial scopes are typically conducted by an organization with a clear conflict of interest. The technicians tend to be very good at creating a compelling story during the inspection demonstrating that an otherwise good sewer line requires repair — even though the customer is watching the video screen with the technician.

Reza Kazemian, Director of Denver Wastewater Management, a division of Denver Public Works, told Denver CBS4 Consumer Investigator Jodi Brooks said that more than half of the sewer scope videos they check don’t need to be replaced.”

When looking for and hiring a sewer scope or video pipeline inspection company or contractor for residential or commercial property, I suggest that customers, homebuyers, renters, and Denver area REALTORS® consider the following:

#1. Obtain a sewer video inspection from a reliable, impartial source

A company with “no skin in the game,” receives no financial kickbacks or referral fees but provides a competent, honest opinion of the sewer pipeline condition.

Why is this the case? You will make educated, non-pressured decisions if you receive an honest assessment of the state of the sewer pipework. So, if tree infiltration has progressed to the point that it must be tackled, you should take control and operate within your timetable and budget.

#2. Avoid using “the cheaper or discount sewer scope boys”

Why is this the case? Since these types of businesses or individuals typically profit more by costing less upfront and identifying a “problem” so they can make up for the “cheap” sewer reach by performing the repair work themselves or referring the repair job with a kickback to an excavation company.

#3. Be wary of sewer scope firms that market themselves as “unbiased.”

Why is this the case? First, if they do repair work, are they really an “unbiased” source? We see advertisements all the time with the words “unbiased” or “no conflict of interest,” but when you dig a little deeper (like their website), it is clear they conduct repairs.

Again, these types of businesses or individuals typically profit more by charging less upfront. So, they can compensate for the “cheap” sewer Scope by identifying a “problem”.

#4. Avoid sewer scope inspectors using high-pressure sales techniques

Why is this so? Because there is another choice! You can have an honest conversation about your sewer’s condition with the right business. Rather than a sales pitch, in not all markets, but particularly in the mile-high city of Denver and metro area. Savvy buyers and REALTORS® understand that they are not inherently sewer experts, right!? That is why it is important to obtain the truth from an authority with integrity.

#5. Be wary of camera equipment that is of poor quality.

Why is this so? Not all cameras are equal. In general, less expensive sewer scope companies have lower-quality cameras and substandard camera equipment if they are not part of a plumbing business (NOT Unbiased!).

As one licensed REALTOR® recently said, “…numerous times we’ve hired Pipe Spies to re-scope a line for one of our listings that was originally scoped by a discount contractor who used sub-par equipment and misinterpreted the inspection results.” As a real estate broker, I need to trust the contractors I recommend to my clients, and referring our clients to Pipe Spies is a no-brainer for us.” — Bailey Dolian, Licensed Real Estate Broker, Laurie Erb & the Erb Team, RE/MAX of Cherry Creek

#6. Learn about the brand.

Why is this so? Many new companies have joined this field with no experience reliably diagnosing potential issues versus common conditions. They simply form an incorrect opinion, misunderstand the situation, or exaggerate the situation. Some businesses run on a shoestring budget because their business model lacks margin, and they may be tempted to cut corners as a result.

Here are a few more questions to think about:

  • How long have they been in operation?
  • Do they describe the study clearly?
  • Are they adequately insured?
  • Do they clean up after themselves and leave a clean workspace?
  • Do they conduct background checks and substance tests on their employees?
  • Is the report computer-generated and easy to read, or is it handwritten and difficult to understand?
  • Do they charge a low upfront fee and then tack on a slew of additional fees?
  • What they sell or encourage corresponds to what their website claims?

So, if you believe that “cheaper is always better,” roll the dice and take a chance on one of the biggest purchases and investments that most customers would ever make.

Seattle Sewer Scope Inspection Overview and Cost

Seattle Sewer Scope provides the ground-breaking operation of sewer pipe video inspection. You no longer have to be concerned about the state of your sewage pipe and potential future issues. Seattle Sewer scope moves through your sewer pipe with a video camera to precisely assessing its state. A flexible rod is attached to a high-resolution camera, which transmits images from below to a display above, making this possible.

A sewage pipe inspection provides Seattle Sewer Scope clients with the peace of mind that their pipes are safe. If there are issues, it prepares them with information and options to handle the issue proactively.

What are the Benefits?

  • INSURE YOUR HOME by determining the condition of your sewer pipes.
  • Extensive experience, impeccable cleanliness, promptness, and professionalism

Call (206) 335-2315 today to schedule an appointment. Seattle Sewer scope are a licensed and insured business that accepts Visa and Mastercard.

Their technicians will be able to provide you with an impartial third-party assessment of your pipes because Seattle Sewer Scope specializes in video inspection. Anyone who has dealt with sewer issues would agree that it can be a costly and frustrating operation. Minimal root interference or pipe offsets are often seen as a cause for costly re-piping jobs by some plumbers. Thus, it makes it hard to know who to trust. Our inspection can provide you with the actual state of your sewer pipes using real-time video feeds. Since Seattle Sewer Scope Inspection does not benefit from pipe replacement job contracts, you should expect an honest and educational experience and cost.

If there is significant root intrusion in the pipe, Seattle Sewer Scope Inspection will include a repair program or recommend other companies to do so.


Adding sewer scope inspections to your list of ancillary services can be financially advantageous for you as a home inspector, as well as very advantageous for the property owner and prospective home buyer. Inspectors must remember to follow the required procedures before, during, and after the sewer scope to avoid causing harm and liability. A sewer scope can detect any possible flaws in the property’s pipelines, but it should not be used to inspect the backflow system, city tap, or septic tank. If any flaws are found, the home inspector should recommend that the homeowner meet with or employ a specialist.

Sewer Scope FAQs

How often should I scope my sewer line?

Regardless of the age of your sewer pipes, we recommend having a pipe inspection done every year or two.

How long does it take to jet a sewer line?

How Long Does Hydro Jetting Take? The average time to perform hydro jetting is about 60 minutes. If you have a lot of cleaning, you can expect about 90 minutes.

Should I get my sewer line scoped?

 Absolutely. As touched upon above, a sewer line is often one of the most costly things to repair in a home. Getting a sewer scope inspection can help you avoid investing in a home that has serious issues with the sewer/septic system.

Can you scope a sewer line through a toilet?

A sewer system camera inspection is where your plumber uses a waterproof camera system to find the location of sewer line problems. … The plumber can use the camera to inspect drain lines from the shower, bathtub, sinks, and toilets. When a problem is discovered, the plumber relies on the transmitter inside the camera.

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  1. I didn’t know that fixing a pipe is about $250 with a traditional inspection. So it seems that a sewer scope can save me a ton of time. Maybe I can get a professional to come out and tell me which is best for my pipe.

  2. Sewers can be quiet sensitive to handle, but they can cause a big mess if mishandled regular checks are the best way to avoid any problems.

  3. Hallo, vielen Dank für den interessanten Beitrag. Ich bin gerade dabei, eine Firma für Kamerainspektion zu beauftragen. Ich war nur nicht sicher, was es kostet kann und ob es überhaupt nötig ist. Danke nochmal für die Tipps!

  4. Gut zu wissen, dass die Abwasserleitung oftmals eines der teuersten Dinge ist, die in einem Haushalt repariert werden müssen. Ich habe schon seit längerer Zeit Probleme mit dem Wasserabfluss in meinem Badezimmer. Am liebsten würde ich zur nächsten Woche einen Fachmann beauftragen, der eine professionelle Dichtheitsprüfung durchführt.

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