Prior to getting certified to do sewer scopes, I did a home inspection for a lady who had a plumber do a sewer scope to verify the condition of the sewer line going from the house to the city sewer. That plumber told her a $12K repair was needed which would involve jackhammering out her kitchen floor. She sent me the video, which I found to be inconclusive because the video was very poor quality. She then hired another plumber to give her a second opinion. The second plumber said there was nothing wrong in the kitchen, but there was an issue in the bathroom that would cost around $8K to fix. In desperation she hired a 3rd plumber who said there was nothing wrong in the kitchen or bathroom, but out by the street there was a problem that would cost around $10K to repair. Her story was the deciding factor in me getting certified to do sewer scopes. A home inspector is NOT allowed to quote and charge for repairs for issues found during an inspection to ensure home inspectors remain impartial. A plumber on the other hand can quote and charge for repairs. Most plumbing companies are very reputable, but unfortunately there are some bad apples that reduce the trust of the profession.
At Tanque Verde Home Inspections, all of our home inspectors are certified to perform video inspections of the sewer line (aka sewer scope) going from the house to the city tap or septic tank. In Pima County, generally, the home owner is responsible for repairs to this sewer line (aka lateral) even when under public right of ways like sidewalks and streets. Because of this and the depth of the lines, repairs to sewer lines cost many thousands of dollars.
The above image shows the most common problems with sewer lines that can lead to a backup. In the lines coming from the kitchen it is common to see a build up of grease which restricts the line until it is completely clogged. A broken or offset/separated pipe can allow tree roots or soil into the line eventually causing a backup. A belly is usually caused by over compaction of the soil during installation or long term settling and can cause a build up of debris. Tree roots can also crush a pipe thus restricting the flow of sewage. The day I moved into my first house more than 20 years ago we were dealing with this very issue.
Repairs for these issues can include a cleaning of the line (e.g. hydrojetting), a partial replacement of the line, a full replacement of the line, or lining the inside of the existing pipe.
For an unbiased inspection of the sewer line be sure to hire Tanque Verde Home Inspections to do the sewer scope in addition to your general home inspection. We service the entire Tucson area including Marana, Oro Valley, Dove Mountain, Vail, Rita Ranch, and more.