LiquiLock Products

Should I scope my sewer lines when buying a home

Very few first-time home buyers ask for a sewer inspection before buying a home. Sewer inspections are not something most buyers think about. They know to get a home inspection, but sewer lines are almost an after thought, if it crosses a buyer's mind at all. Yet it's one of the most important inspections a buyer of older homes should conduct.

The time to find out if a sewer is faulty or needs replacement is before buying a home, not after the fact. It is recommended that  all buyers obtain a sewer inspection if the home is older than 20 years. Although the sewer line may be fairly new as compared to homes built before 1950, for example, tree roots can still clog up a 20-year-old sewer line.

Reasons to Inspect the Sewer Line

Tree roots growing into sewer lines is a common problem. Roots crawl into tiny openings and expand in the sewer line, latching on to other debris that typically cause backups such as grease or eggshell waste. Sometimes chemicals can kill the trees roots but if the roots reappear, the pipe may be damaged and require excavation to fix the problem.

Homes that were constructed prior to city sewers often relied on cesspools. After cities installed public septic systems, sometimes the cesspools were left intact and connected to the sewer line. You won't know unless you inspect the sewer.

Many homes built in the 1950s have sewer lines made from tar paper called Orangeburg pipes. These disintegrate and collapse over time. If a home has Orangeburg, the sewer line definitely needs to be replaced.

How to Inspect a Sewer Line

Simply call a plumbing company and ask if the contractor can use a camera to inspect the sewer. Your real estate agent might be able to refer several companies to you. The plumbing company inserts a snake attached to a small video camera into the clean-out and snakes the camera through the sewer. You can watch the image on a monitor.

Not only will the plumbing company find out if the sewer line is clean or clogged, but the inspection will disclose the condition of the sewer. Ask the contractor to tell you what kind of material was used to construct the sewer line and whether that type of material is considered good construction today.

It might cost anywhere from $85 to $300 to have the sewer line inspected, but considering the cost to replace a sewer line, it's money well spent.

Results From Sewer Inspections

Three homes recently inspected produced three separate results. The first home, built in 1930, was located in the Land Park neighborhood of Sacramento. The buyers, expecting the worst, were pleasantly surprised to learn the sewer line was brand new. This was a desirable selling point that the listing agent and the seller neglected to disclose.

The second home was located near the railroad tracks in Curtis Park. The plumbing company discovered the sewer line had almost completely collapsed and was beyond repair. The company recommended a new sewer line. The seller chose a plumbing company that used the trenchless method, which involved pulling a new sewer line through the existing sewer. Trenchless sewers cost almost one-third less than digging up the entire yard and replacing the sewer.

The third home was in Midtown, a hip urban area near downtown Sacramento. During the final walk-through inspection, the buyer's agent turned on all the water faucets and flushed the toilet. A geyser erupted in the back yard and the smell was unmistakably sewer waste. The seller of that home ended up crediting the buyer many thousands of dollars to pay for a sewer replacement to be installed after closing.

This Midtown buyer was simply lucky. Although advised to get a sewer inspection beforehand, the buyer declined. If it wasn't for the geyser during the final walk-through, the sewer problem might not have been discovered until months after the transaction closed.

Written by Adam Browning — July 29, 2012

A Greener Toilet


Check your toilet for leaks

A leaky toilet can waste upwards of 22,000 gallons of water every year, so don't let that faulty toilet go another day!

How to check your toilet for leaks

Stop wasting water by regularly checking your toilets for leaks—both obvious and silent types, that is.

Obvious leaks

We all know that annoying sound of a toilet running hours after you flushed. And we're equally familiar with the tedious job of jiggling the toilet handle to get it to stop running. These problems are not to be ignored! They're serious water wasters and should be fixed as soon as possible so you can put a stop to water and money waste. So, if your toilet exhibits any of these symptoms, call a plumber or put on your work hat.

  • You have to jiggle the flush handle to get the toilet to stop running.
  • You hear sounds coming from a toilet that is not being used.
  • You have to hold the handle down to completely empty the tank.

Silent leaks

Other toilet leaks are not so obvious. Try the following methods to uncover leaks you might not otherwise see or hear, but which can be tremendous water-wasters over time.

The dye test:

  1. Dry all exterior surfaces of the toilet (around the base of the bowl, the underside of the tank, and the floor around the base).
  2. Remove the tank lid and flush the toilet.
  3. Add about a teaspoon of food coloring or dye tablets to the tank.
  4. Do not flush the toilet.
  5. After an hour, check the bowl for traces of the dye.
  6. If you see color, your toilet is leaking and one of the mechanisms inside needs to be replaced or adjusted.

The paper towel test:

  1. Follow the four three steps of the dye test, but this time add dye or food coloring to the bowl as well.
  2. After a wait period, run a dry paper towel around the exterior of all parts of the toilet. If any trace of color appears on the paper towel, you know you have a leak.
    • If color appears when you wipe around the base, the wax ring needs to be replaced.
    • Color detected on the underside of the tank could mean either a leaking fill valve, bolt gasket, or spud washer.

Water meter test for slower leaks:

  1. Make sure that all water fixtures are turned off.
  2. Note the numbers shown on your water meter at this point.
  3. Do not use any water for 30 minutes. Come back to read the meter again.
  4. Compare the readings. If they match, you're leak free. If the readings are different, turn off your toilets and repeat steps 1-3.
  5. If the readings match after your toilets have been shut off, one or more of your toilets leaks.

Written by Adam Browning — July 29, 2012

LiquiLock in Home Depot

In September of 2011 Home Depot was accepted into Home Depot as a product that will be stocked on their shelves in the plumbing section.  You can find LiquiLock right above the wax rings in a blue box with silver LiquiLock packets.  Please stop in your local Home Depot and pick up some LiquiLock!

Written by Shopify — July 29, 2012


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