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  • Writer's pictureJohn@LiteHouse

Why You Should Get a Sewer Scope With Your Home Inspection

Although performing a sewer scope inspection is not required by the State Ohio Home Inspection Standards of Practice, LiteHouse Inspect offers it as an additional or supplemental service. The information it brings can be very helpful to both home owners and potential home buyers.

What are sewer scopes?

A sewer scope is a video inspection of a lateral sewer line leading from the house at/near the foundation and connecting to a city or HOA faucet or septic tank.

A sewer line inspection can reveal blockages, damage to the piping system, and other issues that are vital to homeowners and homebuyers. For example, if there is a wet depression in the lawn above the sewer line, or if there is backflow into the house, or if contaminants have been discovered in the drinking water supply, a sewer scope inspection may be required to identify and confirm these critical points or problems that need to be addressed immediately.

Procedures before scope

Before performing a sewer scope inspection, we will notify the homeowner of our intent to perform a sewer inspection along with our process of the inspection so that the property owner knows what to expect.

The notice describes the practices and procedures regarding the extent of sanitation that will be performed (ie requesting access to sewer clean-out, notifying that we will not pull toilets, etc.).

Once we arrive at the property, we will walk the property and locate the manhole cover(s) to determine the direction of the lateral sewer line. We also determine the location of access to the sewer (internal or external) as well as the tools we will need. Before starting the inspection, we advise the owners/occupants not to flush the water (sinks, showers, baths, washing machine, dishwasher or toilets) while the sewer line is being inspected.

Sewer Scope Process

Certain protocols must be followed in order to conduct a sewer extent inspection smoothly and efficiently. To start, we run water in all places to flush the sewer lines. This will ensure that our camera equipment is lubricated and no debris is trapped. In addition, the water floats the camera, which allows it to be pushed through the line more easily.

Before inserting the scope into the sewer pipe, there are a few basic steps we take:

  • Rags should be placed in the work area to prevent soiling the property or contaminating the surrounding soil.

  • All camera equipment should be located near the access point.

  • Photos and/or video of the cleaning and camera placement and setup should be taken.

  • The camera equipment should be inspected for damage (loose camera head, cracked components, etc.).

  • Remove the cleaning and turn on the camera, reset the counter, insert the USB drive and start recording.

  • Scan the room or area before inserting the camera into the line. It is important to confirm and record the location of the sewer line so that the property owner can be sure that the sewer line is indeed theirs (and that there has not been a mix-up of video footage, etc.).

At this point we can start the scope. During this process, we do the following:

  • When pushing the probe through the sewer line, be sure to stop at least five to 10 seconds at the defects to document them.

  • CAUTION: Do not force the camera over any obstacle.

  • When the camera reaches the tap (the end of the part of the pipe owned by the property owner), turn off the water.

  • IMPORTANT: Do not enter a backflow, city tap, or septic tank while running the sewer scope.

  • Start pulling the camera back while it's still recording.

  • Once the camera is fully extended, scan the room or area again.

  • Reinstall cleanout.

  • Turn the water back on and check for leaks.

We then check our camera head and clean our equipment before and after each telescope.


Adding a sewer line inspections to your inspection order can be very beneficial to you as a property owner or potential home buyer. A drain scope can identify any potential faults in the property's pipes, and help you make informed decisions on next steps.

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