Should I schedule a sewer scope inspection at the same time as my general inspection?

It is a good idea to schedule your sewer scope either before your general inspection or during.

How long does the scope take?

Most inspections take one hour, sometimes longer.  The length of the inspection depends on the sewer pipe access, length and configuration (turns) in the line and the number of issues needing identified and located.

When will I get the inspection results?

Following the inspection the field technician will provide:

  • and present you with the accurate facts of the sewer pipeline findings in a concise, understandable manner without any sales pitch,
  • a complete, detailed and easy-to-read computer-generated PDF report, including an unlisted-linked high-resolution color video embedded in the report showing the camera’s journey as it “snakes” its way through the inside of the pipes as well as property verification,
  • a permanent record of the inspection, including the location and depth of any problem spots or areas.

Do I need to be present when the scope is completed?

Although it’s preferred that someone be at the property at the time of the inspection, it is not necessary.  Access details can be communicated with our Scheduling Office to the field technician, i.e., lock box number, gate code, etc. Pipe Spies adheres to professional industry standards and business ethics as an affiliate member of ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors).

What do I need to do to prepare for a sewer pipeline inspection?

It’s always best to have the water on for a more thorough inspection. Also make sure the clean-out (mainline, 3″ or 4″, access point) is clear of any clutter, furniture or boxes, etc. If snow is in the forecast, mark and uncover outside access points.  All pets and children should be in another area.

How and when do I pay?

We prefer cash or check at the time of the inspection or service provided, however, we also accept all major credit cards.  An online, secure invoice can also be emailed to our customers to make payment.

Will I get a detailed report of my sewer system inspection?

Once the field technician completes the inspection of your sewage system, a detailed Pipe Spies PDF Report with the embedded video will be compiled and made available no later than the next morning. The technician will present you with their findings in a way that you will find easy to understand so you know the precise condition of your property’s mainline sewer pipes from the house/building to the city main or other destination point as noted.

The permanent record of your Pipe Spies inspection will include the location and depth of any problem areas the technician deemed needing repaired discovered during the inspection.

What is your Service Area?

The metro Denver area and front range. Pipe Spies’ services customers within a 30-mile radius of Littleton zip code 80126 at a standard rate.  A service fee is applied beyond the service area. Distance restrictions may apply.

Does Pipe Spies guarantee their work?

We guarantee to use our best effort and expertise in a workmanlike manner providing you with accurate, independent and unbiased information.

Is Pipe Spies insured?

Pipe Spies carries applicable industry insurance and adheres to professional industry standards and business ethics as an affiliate member of ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors). A certificate of insurance can be provided if required.

Is there a certification or licensing requirement for technicians?

For certain professions a license is necessary to show that you’re competent and permitted to conduct business in the city, municipality, or state in which the license was issued. Since there is no license or certification required for sewer/pipeline scope inspectors, finding an experienced, unbiased and truthful inspector is important. As experts in our field, having successfully completed some 30,000 residential and commercial inspections, we are also called upon to provide second opinions and third-party reviews.

What kinds of problems can an underground “sewer scope” pipe inspection detect?

Pipe Spies’ high-tech video cameras (sometimes called CCTV, or closed circuit TV) can reveal:  offset joints, broken pipes, protruding lateral, off grade pipe, leaking  joints, recessed taps, cracked pipe, root obstructions, blockages, corrosion, infiltration and collapsed pipe.

Does Pipe Spies have a cancellation and missed appointment policy?

Yes.  If you are unable to keep a scheduled appointment, please give 24 hours advance notice to ensure that you will not be charged a cancellation fee.  Although we understand that emergencies arise, we know most of our customers honor our time and this policy.  If less than 24 hours notice is given and we are unable to fill your time slot, you will be expected to pay a cancellation fee.  Appointments that are missed that neglected to give notice (no call or no show); will be charged the full price of the scheduled service.

Can Pipe Spies take care of repairs?

No.  We believe it is a conflict of interest and therefore do not perform drain cleaning, repairs or excavation services.  We prefer to remain 100% unbiased.  We do not receive any referral bonus or kickbacks from anyone whom we recommend to you for additional services.  We are not plumbers or excavators that are tempted to look for additional revenue while performing an inspection.

Does Pipe Spies give an opinion on repair proposals?

No.  We stay within the scope of our expertise by identifying and locating problem areas. A reputable licensed plumbing company should be able to determine how to correct the problem area/s to a satisfactory condition. However, in some cases on inspections we perform, we can verbally provide repair ideas for you to discuss with your plumber.

Does Pipe Spies design or build new plumbing systems or remodel existing systems?

No.  This is outside the scope of our expertise.  Pipe Spies is not a plumbing company but very good at identifying pipeline conditions. We are not looking for sewer replacement or repair work.

There are many good, honest and ethical plumbing companies that are qualified to perform this type of work.  However, we recommend completing a sewer pipeline inspection before completing landscaping, reconstruction or remodeling work to ensure there are no potential below ground problems.

Would you recommend a sewer scope if I purchased a new home and my warranty will soon expire?

home warrantyYes.  Although warranties for newly built homes generally offer limited coverage on workmanship and materials related to various components of the home, before your warranty expires (generally one to two years depending on the builder), it is a good idea to have the main sewer line inspected to ensure proper construction and no major structural defects. Find out more by reading our blog, New Home Warranty Tip: Check the Sewer Before Your Warranty Expires.

Should I get a sewer scope if I am a home owner or building owner who is preparing to remodel or renovate?

If you’re making plans to renovate or remodel, add a deck or patio, build a garage or poor cement, you may want to consider inspecting the sewer line condition and know the pipe material before building or reconstructing over the sewer path.

What is a property owner’s responsibility with regard to the sewer system?

Denver Wastewater and other municipalities are responsible for maintaining and replacing water mains throughout their service areas, while property owners are responsible for the service lines and meter pits at their service address. In other words, a property owner is responsible for the entire length of the sewer lateral — the pipeline between the home or building and the main sewer line, including the public connection. Since the main sewer line usually is located in the middle of a public right-of-way like a street or alleyway, this can be a long length of pipe, and repairs are often costly.

What are the most common causes of pipeline/sewer line damage?

The number one reason for pipe breaks and fractures is because of soil/earth movement alongside the sewer line.  One of the major misconceptions currently widespread in the general public is that the most common cause of breakage (specifically clay pipe material) is by tree root infiltration.  We have seen thousands of hours of video footage showing just the opposite.

Let’s be honest, if this were the case, then all of the private sewers in the Denver area would need replaced today.  Not so.  This kind of message and dishonesty is perpetuated as a scare tactic by some who also perform excavations and repairs.  With that said there is still a slight chance that roots could cause damage if the roots, once entering the line are left for decades to grow.

Soil movement can usually be caused by leaking joints (water moves soil that is around the pipe) or poor compaction of the underlying soil underneath the pipe during installation.

What are some situations in which a sewer scope would be recommended?

  • When you are experiencing problems with your plumbing. A visual inspection by Pipe Spies can identify the source of the problem and its location, so you can get an accurate quote from a reputable plumbing contractor.
  • When you are buying a home or property. You’ll avoid a purchase that could result in significant expense later.
  • When you are remodeling a kitchen, adding a bathroom or having landscaping work completed. Sometimes changes in plumbing inside a home can stress a weak system. A visit from Pipe Spies can identify those, so you can strengthen weakened pipelines before you begin remodeling.  We recommend completing a sewer line inspection before completing landscaping, reconstruction or remodeling work as well to ensure there are no potential below ground problems.
  • When preparing to sell a home or property.  You can head-off any potential hick-ups during the under contract, pre-close period due to potential problems in the main sewer line.  If problems are found, you’ll be able to fix it on your own terms (and budget) and most likely save yourself money.  Or you can choose not to fix the problem and disclose the issue to the buyer upfront.

What do you recommend to help maintain my underground sewer pipe and keep it good running condition?

There are some things you can do to help avoid obstructions.

  • Limit food down the sink drain and garbage disposal. Allow only small particles.
  • Place as much food waste as possible in the garbage or compost.
  • Collect cooking grease, fats, and oils into a tin and throw into the garbage.
  • Dispose solid waste such as dental floss, paper towels, diapers, disposable wipes and personal hygiene products in the garbage.
  • Use septic-safe toilet paper or one-ply, cheaper toilet paper.
  • Flush the line periodically by filling the washing machine, all tubs, and sinks full to capacity with cold water, no soap and then drain all at once.
  • If roots are present, periodically have the line mechanically cleaned by a reputable drain cleaning technician.

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