How Much Does a Sewer Line Inspection Cost?

The average cost of a sewer line inspection is $685, usually ranging anywhere from $100 to $800, but in some cases can cost as much as $2,700.
Written by David Ghanizadeh-Khoob
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
The average sewer line inspection cost is $685, but the price can range drastically, costing anywhere from $100 to $2,700, depending on where you live and the scope of the inspection.
Slow drawing sinks and clogged toilets are one thing, but sewer line problems can be a huge pain in the neck and the wallet. Sewer backups can be costly to fix and can have health repercussions for you and your family. Staying on top of issues by inspecting your sewer lines early or as a part of regular maintenance can save you literal and metaphorical headaches. 
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What is a sewer line inspection?

A sewer line inspection is a non-destructive way of inspecting your home's plumbing outlets using a sewer scope–a camera on the end of a cable. Camera sewer line inspections allow plumbers or certified inspectors to identify problems in your sewer lines. Some common issues that would require a camera sewer line inspection include:
  • Clogs
  • Leaks
  • Bellied pipes
  • Foreign objects in the line
  • Damage from old age
  • Intrusion by a tree root
Unfortunately, a sewer line inspection cannot confirm the presence of a leak. To confirm a leak, digging down to the pipes is required.

How much does a sewer line inspection cost?

The average camera sewer line inspection costs $685. However, the price can vary greatly, costing anywhere between $100 and $800, but potentially as much as $2,700.
Several reasons contribute to this price range, including:
  • Your location
  • Accessibility of the sewer lines
  • Type of camera used 
  • Length of the sewer lines to be inspected
Location is probably the most significant cause of variation as prices can differ dramatically between cities. For example, a sewer line inspection in Houston averages $420, while an inspection in Pittsburg averages $2,300.
You can opt to do the inspection yourself if you want, but it would require the necessary tools. Buying the equipment will cost anywhere from $1,000 to $30,000, depending on the quality of equipment you choose. You can rent a full-length sewer snake for around $200 per day. You also need to know how to access your sewer lines and interpret the footage from the camera.

Types of cameras available

There are several different cameras available for sewer line inspections. The table below gives a brief introduction of each and the approximate cost of purchasing it:
Type of inspection
Description
Average cost
Snake camera
These are the least accurate and shortest (typically only around 20 ft) cameras. They won’t be great for fully inspecting your sewer line, but they can be useful if you need a quick, cheap way to see your pipes.
$40-$160
Drones
Drones can get into tight spaces and pinpoint problems, but the high price makes them less common for home inspections.
$200-$300 per hour
Rigid borescopes
These cameras don’t curve much but are great options for straight paths as they are durable, cost-effective, and provide a high-quality image.
$1,000-$1,700
Pushrod cameras
The most commonly used for home sewer line inspections, pushrod cameras use a small camera attached to a flexible semi-rigid wire, usually around 300 ft long.
$2,500-$30,000, can be rented for $120 to $250 per day
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What to expect from a sewer line inspection

Camera sewer line inspections usually take about an hour.
The inspector will come to your home, access the sewer line, and use the camera to check for any issues. The inspector will access the line through either a cleanout, a vent stack, or removing a toilet. After the inspection, you will receive a detailed report outlining the results of the inspection, usually including a file of the recording. After, you will discuss the next steps and options for resolving any problems.

How much do sewer line repairs cost?

Depending on the inspection results, The plumber can employ any number of solutions, from cleaning out clogs to digging up a section of the sewer line looking for leaks to completely replacing a section of the sewer line.
The cost of repairing your sewer line issue will depend on the situation. Here are some common repairs and their associated price estimates:
  • Drain cleaning: $100-$275
  • Snaking: $150-$500
  • Hydro jetting: $250-$800
  • Foreign object penetration: $600
  • Sewer line repair: $1,100-$4,100 (average of $2,500)
  • Sewer line replacement: $8,000-$30,000
Sewer line repair professionals typically charge anywhere from $45 per hour to $150 per hour, but other factors will influence the price as well, such as the extent of the damage, the method required to solve the problem, and your location.

When should you get a camera sewer line inspection?

It's a good idea to inspect your sewer line before you’re faced with an emergency. Catching clogs, damage, or intrusions before they become a significant issue can save you a lot of money. Experts recommend inspecting your sewer lines every two years.
There are also several signs that you might be experiencing a clogged, leaky, or damaged sewer line. You should consider doing a sewer line inspection if you notice any of the following signs:
  • Backed-up pipes or slow drains
  • Leaks under your foundation
  • Toilets not flushing thoroughly
  • A patch of overgrown grass–may indicate a water leak
  • Inconsistent water pressure
  • A damp depression in your lawn above the sewer line–occurs from damaged or collapsing pipes
  • Foul odors near drains–could indicate a backup in the sewer line
  • Mold or mildew on the walls
  • An increase of insects and/or rodents on your property 

Do you need a sewer line inspection to sell your house?

Sewer line inspections are not required to sell a house and are not part of a typical home inspection. Sellers might want to consider doing a sewer line inspection to add a selling point. 
Buyers should consider inspecting the sewer lines before committing to a new home to provide peace of mind and ensure they aren’t headed toward a plumbing emergency.

Tips for finding a company to inspect your home

With something as important as your home's sewer lines, you will want to make sure you hire a company you can trust to do your inspection and repairs, if necessary. Here are a few tips for choosing a plumbing company to do your sewer line inspection:
  • Do your research–make sure the company is adequately certified and equipped to handle the job
  • Compare multiple quotes–if you have the time, you can save some money by obtaining a handful of quotes rather than settling for the first company you call
  • Ask about bundling your inspection with your repairs–Some companies will give you a discount on your inspection if you commit to hiring them to resolve the problem
  • Read reviews–Good communication and customer service are almost as important as quality work. Reading reviews can do a lot to help you find a trustworthy company that communicates well.

Does home insurance cover sewer line repairs?

It depends, but usually not.
Home insurance will only cover issues that are sudden and accidental. Most sewer line issues result from natural degradation or lack of maintenance, which insurance does not cover. 
Unfortunately, even some sudden and accidental situations, like damage caused by tree root invasion, rodents, or earthquakes, are not covered under most standard insurance policies.
There are some situations where the repairs are likely to be covered, though. If a named peril in your policy causes the damage, then it should be covered. Some examples are damage caused by lightning, falling objects, or fire.
Even sewage backups are unlikely to be covered under standard home insurance. However, many insurance companies offer coverage for sewage backups as additional coverage that you can add to your policy as an endorsement.

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