Repairs to sewer lines are EXPENSIVE! In older homes the pipes can be broken, deteriorated, clogged with dirt, grease, tree roots, etc. Newer homes are not immune to the problems. Unfortunately, during the construction process the sewer lines are often placed on loose soils that are not properly compacted before being covered with dirt. Gradually, the soils settle, taking the sewer pipe with it. This can create problems such as “bellies” or areas were water collects in the pipe resulting in clogging tendencies, or the pipes can in some cases be pulled apart. Costs to unclog a drain are typically $300 – $400 and costs to repair sewer lines can range from $3000 – $10,000 or more.
Homes that have been vacant for some time are particularly susceptible to problems because lack of constant water in the lines can cause tree roots to grow considerably in search of water. A brief home inspection will not likely uncover these conditions due to the ability of the sewer line being able to hold quite a bit of water before backing up. It is not uncommon for someone to live in the home for a week or more before the problems become apparent.