Los Angeles Sewer line Inspection
Many buyers are surprised to learn that as a property owner, you are responsible for maintaining the sewer line from your property all the way to the public sewer tap which is buried somewhere in the middle of the street. Owners are often surprised by this because the tap is usually outside of the property line. If the sewer line is broken somewhere underneath the street this is worst-case scenario and can cost $5,000 to $10,000. Most sewer lines are in OK shape and may only need a hydro jet ($400-$600) or are missing a cleanout ($600), or need a small area repaired ($1,200 to $1,500). Either way, it is a good idea to have a sewer line video inspection.
Without a sewer line inspection, there is no way of knowing what the condition of the sewer line- if the line is blocked or cracked it could cost as much as $10,000 or more. Cast Iron and Clay Piping were the materials used for sewer lines when Los Angeles was being built from the 1920s through the 1950s. These materials have a useful life of approximately 60 to 80 years. Each residence must have its own line that runs into the city sewer. Occasionally homes built on split lots, 1/3 lots and 1/2 lots have illegal sewer line connections. When the lots were divided the new sewer line was patched into the property next store instead of running directly to the city tap. Illegal sewer line connections must be dug up and replaced. I strongly recommend sewer line inspections for a property built forty years ago or more, but in general, it is always a good idea to get this inspection.
A professional sewer line inspection kit runs in the neighborhood of $6,000. Without the property equipment getting a good evaluation of the sewer line will be difficult. The first thing to ask is if they have a color camera- if the camera is black and white, which cheaper kits have, the quality of the video from the camera will be much lower. Another question to ask is if the camera is capable of recording- if they can’t make a video for you, then the inspection is greatly diminished in value- the seller is not going to be there when you conduct the inspection, so they won’t know what their sewer line looks like. If you can share with them the video it is pretty hard to argue with that. Make sure the technician spins the camera around at the end of the inspection to capture some of the yard and house and himself- this will let the seller know that the video was taken at their property, otherwise who is to say from which sewer line the video came from? How many feet does the camera have? 100ft is on the shorter end, the cheaper kits have this size line. You are looking for a 200ft length cord- with that length you will definitely reach the city tap. Another question to ask is if they have a locator. When you discover a problem such as a cracked fitting, or root intrusion, you can easily mark where the problem is by using a locator to find where the camera is and spray painting a dot, or sticking a flag in the lawn. Finally make sure that the camera displays a foot counter on the screen so that you know the length of the sewer line run, and where along the line you are as you are conducting the video inspection.
A great inspector will have referrals for contractors if you need to get a bid on a sewer line repair. There are two types of contractors that can work on sewer lines- a sewer contractor and a plumbing contractor. Anything requiring access to the public right of way (IE the street) requires the contractor to be bonded.
Sewer Contactor :
A-1 License (General Engineering), B-1 (General Building), C-36 (Plumbing), or C-42 (Sewer, Sewage Disposal, Drain, Cement Pipe Laying), a Los Angeles City Business License with an insurance policy on file and post the appropriate cash/surety bond. The City’s current list of bonded sewer contractors is provided on the following web page.
Estimated Inspection Cost: $300
Sewer line Inspection Companies:
There are two types of sewer line inspection companies, Licensed plumbers and inspection only companies. For real estate transactions, I like to use inspection only so there is no conflict of interest but if there is a problem a licensed plumber can also give a quote which saves time.
Sewerline Check (Inspection Only)
Inspection Cost $325
Sewerlinecheck is a La Rocca company. They are the largest Sewer line Inspection company in Los Angeles with 3 inspectors. They set the standard that everyone else in the industry follows. I have been using them for years and they are very professional. They have the sewer line inspection thing down.
Sewer line Evaluations
Inspection cost $295: extra $100 for toilet. Sean uses to work for sewer line Check before going off on his own. He is very experienced.
John White Sewerline Video Inspection (Inspection Only)
$325 for sewer line inspection. $80 if the toilet needs to be removed or from the roof.
Sewer Video Inspection
Commercial Real Estate Inspectors LLC
Williams Sewerline Inspector
Sewer line Video Inspections (Inspection Company and Licensed Sewerline Company)
Ferrell and Alex
20058 Ventura Boulevard #150
Woodland Hills, CA 91364
Ferrell was a plumber for many years, now he specializes in Sewer line inspections and sewer line repairs only. One nice thing is they have a Hydrojetter on the truck so if there is a blockage they can remove it. The charge an extra $25 if they have to drive a little longer. The cost of Inspection is $275. They operate by referrals mostly and 90% of their business is referrals.