Sewer piping that is damaged cannot be seen from the exterior of the home. The only way you can see this is by a sewer scope or a dig up.

If you are a home buyer that is preparing to hire a home inspector then you might want to read this article.  Recently while inspecting a home in Chicago I was questioned if I was going to inspect the sewer line of the home.  This question made me think awhile until I could explain to my client that is impossible for me to inspect the sewer because it is underground and I physically can’t see the sewer and identify if there are cracks or other issues with the sewer piping materiel.  This led me to recommending sewer contractors to scope the sewers in homes that I was inspecting for home buyers.

My clients from the Chicago home inspection were a little upset that I could not determine the health of the waste piping underground until I fully explained that the best I could do was to run the water for long periods of time to see if the sewer could take all the water.  This is the standard way most home inspectors inspect the sewers in the home inspections they are hired to perform.  Most people do not understand that home inspectors cannot change, modify or convert any portion of the home in any form or fashion.  This is what led me to decide to start recommending that home buyers hire sewer contractors or plumbing contractors to perform sewer inspections.

My clients from the Chicago home inspection hired Roto Rooter from Chicago to perform a sewer scoping.  The cost of the sewer scoping which included a clearing of the sewer was $315.00.  I know what most people are saying.  Home inspection costs $400.00 and sewer scoping costs $315.00 at a total of $715.00 before I even move in the home.  Luckily for my clients from the Chicago home inspection they performed a sewer inspection which found 2 partial collapsed clay sewer pipes!

No big deal 2 broken sewer pipes?  Wrong!  Replacement costs to repair the Chicago homes sewer was $4150.00 which was paid by the seller!  I can’t promise that this will be the results of a sewer scope that you may pay for.  I can promise you that the repairs on a sewer can cost a whole lot more though.  Some Realtors do not appreciate that I recommend that perspective home buyers have sewer inspections performed because they are afraid they inspection may find a reason that the home buyers won’t buy the home.  I believe the exact opposite.  I believe it gives the home buyers a definitive feeling of all of the components of the home and will allow them to move forward in the home buying purchase with a sound mind.

My home buyers from the Chicago home inspection did buy the home they hired me to inspect.  If your home is newer then you might not want to hire a sewer contractor to perform a sewer inspection.  Knowing if there are issues is worth every penny.  If you have further questions about sewers or any other portion of your home please contact me at The Thermal Home Inspector or 312-961-4228.

Thanks for stopping by and stay safe.

Jim Kolke

I’m writing this article for my first time home buyers who really do not know what to look for when buying a home.  In the last year we did a large amount of home inspections on Chicago’s bungalows.  The economy has made it possible that some of these hard to buy properties are now more attainable due to the adjusting real estate market.  This is a list of the major components that may have high repair or replacement costs.

  • Tuck Point repairs can be costly if they were not done or if they were done incorrectly.  You will be looking for areas that the bricks may be falling apart or mortar in between the bricks is literally falling out of the joint.  A professional tuck point job on a Chicago bungalow can cost up to $15,000.00.  The Chicago home inspection I performed this week had a great tuck point job.  A great savings for my clients.
  • Roofing is another major component of a Chicago bungalows.  Most of the Chicago bungalows that I inspect have multiple layers of roofing shingles.  The Chicago roofing code only allows for 2 layers of roofing material.  The Chicago home inspection I performed had 2 layers of roofing material.  The roof looked to only have 5-7 years of lifespan left.  My clients would be doing a tear off. (A tear off is when the roofing material is taken off to the sheeting and new roofing shingles are installed.) I always advise my clients to use a 30 or 40 year architectural shingle.  An architechitural shingle roof will cost about $8000.00 – $12000.00.  It may cost a little more now but you wont have to worry about the roof for at least 25 years.  Sounds good to me?
  • Structure of a Chicago bungalow has generally never been compromised and should still be looked at diligently.  If you don’t have an extensive background in either construction, general contracting or a structural engineer then I would let the pros tell you about this.  Chicago bungalows are made of over sized foundations, wood beams and columns, nominal lumber joists that are all meant to with stand a bombing!  This is why my clients from the Chicago home inspection were so interested in this Chicago bungalow.
  • Plumbing in the Chicago bungalows were state of the art a 100 years ago.  All homes need renovations.  If your plumbing system has not been renovated then that may be a repair or replacement cost you may have to deal with.  Galvanize water piping corrodes from the inside out and will eventually rot out completely.  Replacement costs for a plumbing piping system in a Chicago bungalow can cost $4000.00 – $10,000.00 depending on how extensive the replacement is and how many bathrooms and kitchens you have.
  • Electric will eventually need to be renovated if you still are using fuses.  I know fuses are used around the country, but can contribute to electrical outages with all the new appliances every one uses.  I advise my clients to upgrade their electric to a 100 amp breaker box at the least.  The replacement costs for a new service and breaker box is $1500.00 – $2500.00.  Luckily for my clients, from the Chicago home inspection all the electric was updated.

As you can see there are some major items you should look at when you are looking at possible home purchases.  Also my background in Chicago bungalows is extremely extensive and you are more than welcome to contact me at The Thermal Home Inspector or 312-961-4228.

Thanks for stopping by and stay safe.

Jim Kolke