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Opening Up a Sewer Clean Out


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If I can open up an exterior sewer clean-out without too much difficulty, I do. Sometimes I find a couple few inches of water in them meaning poor drain but today I saw pure funk. I ran the house water and it sounded like water was flowing beneath the funk.

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I have a boilerplate that recommends pre-1980s homes to have a sewer scope. Makes good sense. The old drains are clay around here and drip at the many connections underground attracting tree roots, blockage, etc. I inspect mostly old homes.

PVC drains might merit the same tune but I don't see them that much. I like that they are easy to get at outside and a bigger channellock opens the plug easy for further perusal.

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I said this today....is it unreasonable? I was attempting to be fair and balanced, a condition largely unknown to me. Seller said they tried to scope it, but couldn't get farther than the curb, sewer guy said they need a clean out to go further, they balked at the expense...thought the sewer guy was pulling a fast one... so they just rod it every year like all their neighbors.

My response....

"It's possible they couldn't get any farther than the curb; if so, they one has to install a clean out to get the rest of the way. It may have been real, or it may have been an unnecessary ploy to get them to install a clean out. I can't know the motives of a sewer guy. If they couldn't get any further than the curb, that can mean there's a blockage or other problem; the way you know is to scope the sewer.

Do not rely on what neighbors do. On anything. Ever. Not unless the neighbor is me or someone very much like me, or a contractor of ultimate repute. The world is full of some of the stupidest stuff imaginable, most of it obtained from the internet. Ignore all advice on HGTV. Seriously. It's a wasteland.

That said, what your seller and neighbors do is reasonable, but it doesn't tell you the condition of the sewer. If a sewer is in good condition, or even just fair condition, you don't ever have to snake it. I lived in my old house 28 years, never once snaked or cleaned. The only reason one has to regularly snake a sewer is if there's a problem.

So, everyone will think I'm unreasonable and a jerk, but I scope sewers and don't rely on conjecture and banter. I am in a business where i have to see stuff with my own eyes and not rely on explanations of other people that may not know what they're talking about. It may be that you really need a clean out. Clean outs are way less money than digging up the entire sewer."

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None of it did; My reports are stripped to a couple sentences. It was post report back and forth-ing between buyer, seller, sewer guys, me, etc. Folks resistant to hearing other than what they already think.

I was trying to be an ambassador of change instead of telling them to shut up and scope the ****ing sewer.

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I have a boilerplate that recommends pre-1980s homes to have a sewer scope. Makes good sense. The old drains are clay around here and drip at the many connections underground attracting tree roots, blockage, etc. I inspect mostly old homes.

PVC drains might merit the same tune but I don't see them that much. I like that they are easy to get at outside and a bigger channellock opens the plug easy for further perusal.

Anything that is clay should be scoped. Around hear I think they stopped using clay commonly around the 1920s. Then went to cast iron.

Any drain pipe that has a history of blockage should be scoped.

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it's not just older systems around here that get the sewer scope recommendation

a good percentage of my biz is new construction phase inspections

i often find blocked drain lines within the structure & out to & including the city tie in

much is caused by the trades stepping on improperly supported piping during the foundation pour or dumping unused materials down the drains during construction

a few deficiencies from recent new construction inspections were backing up at shower pans, clean outs damaged/broken during snaking attempts and shower pan/dwv leakage

i have to attempt to remove all clean out covers & often find detached or broken pipes

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Doesn't the removal of a clean-out plug exceed the Standards of Practice in most states?

Exceeding it would make it harder to prove your adherence to it in case you somehow end up in a courtroom.

That's my main worry.

Marc

Your contract for services should state that you use any standards of practice as a guideline for your inspection. Lunch with a former inspector turned expert witness was very informative.

He said that he could always find a way that an inspector did not meet the standards of practice. He recommended that

the SOP should be refereed to as a guideline. Never, never commit to fully meeting or exceeding the SOP requirements in a contract or in advertising.

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Your contract for services should state that you use any standards of practice as a guideline for your inspection.

Illinois requires we do that.

He said that he could always find a way that an inspector did not meet the standards of practice. He recommended that the SOP should be refereed to as a guideline. Never, never commit to fully meeting or exceeding the SOP requirements in a contract or in advertising.

OK. What about exceeding the standards during the inspection? Is he arguing for or against? Exceeding the SOP or not, or just not advertising that one exceeds it?

Also, within what context is the gentleman describing his magic ability? One could, more or less, sleep walk during an inspection and still hit the Illinois SOP, and yet, bucketheads on parade continually mess it up. Bragging that one can always nail a HI is kinda like bragging that one can walk and talk.

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