I sell a lot of old houses, so I’ve become more intimate with sewers problems than I ever expected. I’ve attended countless inspections and recommend one for any purchase, no matter the age of the home. I learned Rule #1 (and Rule #2 if you know what I mean) the hard way when looking at the camera screen connected to the end of the snake--never, ever ask “what is that??”
My own sewer historically backs up on either the night before or the morning of the first day of school. It only took 10 years of first days of school for me to realize I needed to take a preemptive strike and did so at 10am this morning; 12 hours ahead of our scheduled back-up and I’m feeling very heroic right now!
My sewer backs up in August for three reasons: First, I have an old sewer line that’s been spot repaired with 3-6 feet of new line here and there, the Band-Aid approach. The old “good, fast, or cheap, pick three” rule applies here and when it comes to the sewer line I seemingly go for good and fast.
The second reason my sewer backs up in August: I have two large trees in my front yard with roots looking for water in late summer. Trees are not picky and gross sewer liquid will do just fine so the smallest root will find the smallest crack and next thing you know the tub drains slow. The plumber hydro-jets the roots away and clears the line until next year, or until the entire sewer line is replaced with something seamless or the trees are removed.
Reason three my sewer backs up in August: my house is ground zero for teenage girls with long hair. I literally lose track of how many girls are here, who is sleeping over, who is on their way to work, who is going to a party, who is currently in the shower and who is next up for a shower…a constant revolving door of girls and their hair. Last week I discovered a possible solution at Ferguson Plumbing, an $82 shower drain that has a drain within the drain to capture stuff before it goes down the line. Shower #1 will be completed next week, shower #2 begins a couple weeks from now. I’ll report back on the functionality of the $82 drain.
You don’t need to be in the middle of a real estate transaction to have your sewer inspected, the cost is about $125. Clearing a backup typically costs $250-$400 depending on your level of crisis (2am call vs. 24 hours advance appointment). If you’d like a sewer or plumbing referral, please shoot me an email at Julie.M@cbnorcal.com or text 916.719.8606.