Sewer Scopes: What’s All The Stink About


Are you considering adding sewer scope to your business? This session will cover how to get started.

1. Identifying different types of pipe
2. Determining the type of pipe based on the age of the home
3. What to look for when performing the scope
4. What type of equipment is needed

Troy leads the Nook & Kranny team and has been in the construction industry his whole life. Prior to becoming a home inspector, Troy worked as a plumber for 17 years. Troy founded Nook & Kranny in 1997 and has loved every minute of his time running the company. Over his career as an inspector, Troy has performed well over 10,000 home inspections and has risen to the top of his industry by becoming a master certified inspector.

The basics of sewer inspections:

  • If an older sewer pipe is still carrying waste with no leakage, there is no reason to replace it.
  • Most main lines need to be cleaned every three to five years as part of normal maintenance.
  • Make sure you “clear” the line before you inspect it.
    Keeping your equipment clean is a must!

Types of pipe you might find:

  • Wooden stave
    • These pipelines became popular after a notable 1883 installation in Denver, Colorado.
    • It almost looks like a hollowed-out tree.
  • Clay
    • The most common you will run up against.
    • They were used from 1880 – 1930.
    • The average life is 50 to 60 years.
    • The downfall of clay is root intrusion and cracking. Roots are a big issue and will need to be taken care of year after year.
    • They are resistant to chemicals.
  • Concrete
    • The first sanitary sewer pipe in the US made of concrete was installed in 1942.
    • Most were installed between 1930 – 1970.
    • Most are four-foot to six-foot sections.
  • Cast iron
    • It should last between 75 – 100 years.
    • In commercial buildings the lifespan is only about 30 – 50 years.
    • Why is it shorter in commercial buildings? Chemicals are a big part of it. Plus, more water will wear it out quicker.
    • Detergents, chemical drain openers, soil conditions, and grease will shorten the life expectancy of the cast iron.
  • Orangeburg
    • They were used from 1860 – 1970.
    • Fiber pipe made from layers of wood pulp and pitch pressed together. The pipe is sealed with coal tar.
    • It is the shortest-lived sewer line material with a life expectancy of 30-50 years.
  • ABS
    • Starting around 1975, plastic piping emerged as a low-cost easy-to-repair alternative to metal materials.
    • ABS = acrylonitrile butadiene styrene.
  • PVC
    • They are designed to last for long periods, typically over 100 years.
    • There are two colors, green and white.

Cleaning the pipe:

  • Snaking
  • Pressure jetting
  • Hydro jetting
  • When you recommend cleaning to a homebuyer, it is essential to know which one will be best
  • The pressure of water will not break the pipe

What equipment do you need?

  • A good quality sewer camera
  • Pipe wrench
  • Water pump pliers
  • Disposable gloves
  • Roll of paper towels
  • Drop cloth
  • Safety glasses
  • Dish soap – whenever you run your camera, use dish soap down the line

What makes a good camera?

  • The more lighting, the better.
  • A line counter.
  • Self-leveling head.
  • You do not need all the bells and whistles. For instance, you do not need a camera head that turns side to side or a self-contained unit (suitcase style).
  • Troy uses and

What does this cost, and what can I make?

  • It costs around $4,500 – $7,500 to get started.
  • In 2019, we did 1,157 sewer inspections – an added $231,400 in revenues.
  • $200 per sewer.
  • How do you set your price?
    • Call around in your area and find out what everyone is charging.

Email Troy:

Call Troy: 801-694-9195

Session Recording

Sewer Scopes: What’s All The Stink About

Presenter: Troy Thompson — Nook & Kranny