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Advice on Hiring a Scoping Company

Performing a thorough and accurate sewer scope inspection is very important and will lay the foundation for a smooth sewer repair experience. A sewer scope is when you use a special sewer inspection camera to visually inspect the interior length of the line. This will aid in locating blockages, bellies, obstructions, etc. This also helps Sewer Lines Only locate exactly where the line needs to be repaired. The camera generally enters the line via a vent stack on your roof, a toilet or a sewer clean-out.

The sewer inspection company should provide you with a sewer scope video that is accessible through an electronically transferable video link or file. This is important because if the line needs a repair, it is more convenient for you to email the video to a sewer repair company. The sewer repair company should be able to review the video for accuracy and to give an estimate for the repair. Having an electronic copy is also helpful in a real estate transaction to share with real estate agents, buyers, and sellers. Be wary of companies that will inform you of a problem, but won’t leave a copy of the scope with you. Other companies will only leave a DVD or flash drive, which makes it more of a headache for the homeowner to transfer the file.

When there is an issue with the sewer line that needs repair, it is important to have “locates” done. All cameras have the ability to count how far out the camera head travels down your sewer line. However, this only tells part of the story. There is another device called a locator that is necessary to get an accurate sewer line report. This device will detect where the camera head is inside the pipe. The camera head can be positioned to where there is an issue in the line. The sewer inspection technician will take the locator to the surface over where the camera head is and be able to mark exactly where in the yard, street or alley the issue with your line is located and the depth. If the issue is in the yard, a technician will mark it with a flag. In the street or alley, they will mark it with spray paint. If it is inside the home, they should mark it with tape, as not to damage the home. In our opinion, this is the step that is most commonly not performed correctly by inexperienced sewer inspection companies. Locates are the most important source of information to accurately determine the cost of the sewer repair and to avoid unnecessary repairs to the line.

The third factor to consider is if the sewer scope company has a set fee or has an upcharge for additional work. For example, a company may charge $99 for the scope, but then charge extra if they have to access the line through a toilet or a vent on the roof. We recommend choosing a company with a flat fee to avoid any surprises.

The fourth factor to consider is proper reporting. A well-done scope will look at the four main points of inspection. An inspection should include locations of the transition point, internal sewer line, external sewer line and the city tap. Based on the condition of the sewer line, they will provide recommended repairs. It is helpful to have an electronic, typed report versus a handwritten narrative. It’s important for the homeowner to have all the relevant information to pass along to a sewer repair company to speed along the repair process and reduce errors. Also, repairs may not be done immediately and it is helpful to have a detailed report for the homeowner to reference this information months or years in the future.


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Sewer Diagnostics
Matt Palmer

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Pipe Spies, Inc.®

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