Archive for March, 2012

“I wish I would have know this before I bought the house…  I had a home inspection.  Do you think I have any recourse with the home inspector or my real estate agent?”

In the few years I spent as a service technician giving bids on sewer and septic repairs or replacements for a large local plumbing and excavation company here in North Idaho; the quote above was unfortunately one of the hardest, yet most common (often tear-filled) responses I had to hear from my customers in and around the Coeur d’Alene, Hayden, Sandpoint, and Spokane areas.   I always thought to myself, I sure wouldn’t want to be the realtor or inspector on the receiving end of that phone call.

Often times repair estimates exceeded several thousand dollars.  That doesn’t include the thousands it may cost for clean up and restoration if a sewer back-up occurred.  To most, sewer and septic lines are out of sight and out of mind when purchasing a property.  They automatically assume the home inspector will  determine any and all problems prior to their purchase.  Home inspectors however will simply run water in the sinks, tubs, showers, and flush toilets.  None of which will give any indication of whether the sewer or septic lateral is structurally sound or not.  It may take many many gallons of water and/or actual “usage” to indicate a problem or cause a back-up.

Both homeowners and commercial property owners were always shocked to one; discover that their sewer or septic line had been damaged due to age, poor workmanship, inferior materials, collapsed pipe, cracks, breaks, offset joints, bellies, or root infestations.  And secondly, to hear “the bad news”…  how much is was going to cost to fix it.

The only way to properly determine the structural integrity and functional operation of a sewer or septic line is to send a camera down.  By utilizing state-of-the-art technology (a 200′ long fiber optic camera with color LCD monitor), we can determine the condition of the line before it’s too late.  Before you sign at the closing table.  We not only protect buyers by providing an unbiased assessment of the condition of the sewer lateral, but we protect real estate professionals and inspectors by limiting their liability.  Your home inspector or real estate agents probably aren’t to blame.  Prior to purchasing a property however, it’s important to perform your own due diligence in having all the necessary and appropriate inspections.  Both customary and ancillary.  Likewise, a real estate professional (truly looking out for their buyers best interest), will encourage their buyers to perform these inspections.

 

Lateral Concepts, LLC is a locally owned and operated business in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. We provide unbiased sewer and septic lateral video inspections and locates in and around North Idaho, Spokane, and Eastern Washington. For more information, you may contact us at: 208.818.8241

 

Advertisements

Excellent information from our friends in Cincinnati! Keep in mind however, the cost estimates quoted in this blog do not exactly coincide with pricing in the Coeur d’Alene and Spokane areas. In North Idaho and Eastern Washington, you should expect to pay around 15-20% less for such a repair. It’s always best to do your homework. Get multiple bids and advice from knowledgeable professionals. Better yet, have an unbiased third party get involved to help with such an overwhelming process.

Lateral Concepts, LLC is a locally owned and operated business in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. We provide unbiased sewer and septic lateral video inspections, locates, and consulting in and around North Idaho, Spokane, and Eastern Washington. For more information, you may contact us at: 208.818.8241

Mainline Inspection Services

Currently, the two most common methods of repairing a damaged sewer line is a Full Line Replacement, and what is known as a Reline, sometimes referred to as a Sleeve. If an inspection reveals serious issues with the sewer lateral that can only be remediated with a full replacement or repair, these are the two methods I most often consult my customers on.

An excavation is a pretty straight forward option in which the yard is dug up and the old line is removed and replaced, usually, with either SDR 35 or SCH 40 PVC pipe.

A reline is  often referred to as a “no-dig” trenchless sewer repair, as it requires very little, if any digging. It involves re-lining the interior of the existing damaged  sewer line with a seamless liner. The new sewer liner can sometimes be installed through an existing access point, called a clean-out…

View original post 883 more words

When you open the lid to your toilet tank, is the water nice and clear like the one in the picture above?  OR is it bright blue from one of those drop-in, tank-type, or whateveryawannacall’em automatic bowl cleaners? If the answer is bright blue, consider this: I highly discourage the use of them, and here are several reasons why:  Over time, many of the chemicals in those tablets such as bleach and chlorine will damage the flapper, the fill valve, and all of those other little plastic and rubber components that are essential to providing trouble-free flushes.  The deterioration of such components may also lead to flooding and extensive water damage.  Many manufacturers warranties will also be void by the use of these tablet-style cleaners.  Additionally, if the water closet  (toilet) were to overflow due to a clog or a sewer back-up, the blue dye will stain and destroy everything in it’s path;  tile, granite, hardwood, carpet, or grout.  Likewise, your dog may be smart enough not to drink water that smells like chemicals… but why take the chance?

Lateral Concepts, LLC is a locally owned and operated business in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. We provide unbiased sewer and septic lateral video inspections, locates, and consulting in and around North Idaho, Spokane, and Eastern Washington. For more information, you may contact us at: 208.818.8241

Spring in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho – Sun, rain, wind, snow.  We’ll soon be blessed with warmer days!  Looking out the window as the sun still hasn’t set, I can’t help but to think about all the fun and ambitious things that spring brings.

As Spring unfolds many homeowners start thinking about outdoor type projects. i.e. landscaping, porches, decks, patios, retaining walls, ponds, water features, gardens, new trees, shrubs, etc.   Below are some tips to help you avoid some common problems during your next spring or summer project.

164275_501866253194350_849617790_n

Keep in mind and be extra cautious around septic tanks, drain fields, leach fields, and sewer and septic lateral drain lines. Avoid a potential disaster by having them located prior to beginning your Spring landscaping projects. Most people know it’s the law to call before you dig. National 811 service however, does not locate private utilities like sewer lines, septic lines, tanks, drainfields, storm drains, etc.

To most; underground utilities are just that, “underground” = out of sight, out of mind. If you don’t already know the location, depth, and layout of your sewer or septic system, this is the perfect time to find out. By having a video inspection and locate of the lines and tank, you’ll not only gain valuable information to help with future periodic septic system maintenance, potentially detect “underlying” problems before become an issue, and make more educated design decisions for your project.

We; as well as most plumbing companies, septic companies, and state and government entities recommend having a
septic system serviced (pumped and inspected) every 3-5 years dependent on the size, capacity, and
type of system you have on site. To better accommodate regular and necessary maintenance have Poly or PVC risers installed on your septic tank to eliminate the need for future excavation. They don’t have to be an ugly green eye-sore in your yard either. Check out septic lids that match your landscape. Oh and you don’t need a licensed contractor do to that. Risers are fairly inexpensive..  and with a little ambition to dig (or some good friends and a healthy beer supply), you can do it yourself!
dig for beer
If you’re on city sewer, you may or may not already understand that you; as a homeowner, are
responsible for the proper care and maintenance of your own private sewer lateral (main line) from the
house to the street. In many municipalities, you’re responsible all the way to where it ties into the city main (under the street or alley).  More information regarding private sewer lateral responsibility in the City of Coeur d’Alene can be found here.

sewer in street

Because the home in the picture above has basement plumbing, the sewer lateral in that case was over 7′ deep.  In some cases though, sewer or septic lines can be quite shallow. Thus a simple excavation for a landscaping project like planting a tree, or installing an automatic sprinkler system could lead to damage of you sewer or septic system. Likewise, planting a tree too close to your sewer or septic lines or drain field, regardless of the depth, may cause future problems with infiltration from tree roots. Inevitably leading to a back-up.

trees by sewer

Spring is the time when trees start come out of that “semi-dormant” winter state and start searching for
water and nutrients from the soil. If you have a break, crack, or offset joint in your sewer or septic lines or a leaky septic tank; you’re not only allowing untreated wastewater into the aquifer and nearby lakes and streams, but you’re providing an incredible source of nutrients for your landscape. Sure the trees, shrubs, and lawn may look lush, green, and great, oh and those veggies in your yard?  Truly “organic”.  (and you just thought you were a green thumb ;)).  The sewer back-up that occurs when a blockage happens however, will quickly turn those beauties to beasts.


Lateral Concepts, LLC is a locally owned and operated business in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. We provide unbiased sewer and septic lateral video inspections and locates in and around North Idaho, Spokane, and Eastern Washington. For more information, or to schedule an inspection, contact us at: 208.818.8241