|"Indoor plumbing, it’s gonna be big.”
This is one of my favorite quotes from the Hercules movie oracle scene that I watched with my young daughters seemingly hundreds of times. The truth is that most of us take indoor plumbing for granted…it just works. But, does it work forevermore? Typically not.
A time will inevitably come where something goes wrong in your plumbing system and, depending on the complexity and age of your home, costs to repair can vary wildly. Bids can also differ substantially amongst contractors, so securing three (3) competing bids is really important. In older homes, original plumbing infrastructure is likely at or beyond its statistical life expectancy.
Tell signs, such as diminished water pressure or low functional drainage, could suggest plumbing replacement is imminent. In older historic homes, access to the underside of the house can be challenging, if not impossible, without excavation efforts.
And, for sewer line replacement, the cost is further driven by distance and route to city sewer (e.g., does the sewer line run under expensive hardscaping, landscaping, driveways, and sidewalks which will require subsequent repair?). If you’re purchasing or own an older home, it’s wise to videoscope the sewer line to ascertain condition, estimated remaining life, and replacement cost. I’ve witnessed replacement costs ranging from $5,000-$25,000.
And, this may surprise you, but I recommend NOT paying your home inspector to videoscope the sewer line. Why? I recommend a plumbing contractor do so because not only can they videoscope and give specialist expertise, but they can also (and importantly!) give you an estimate for the cost to repair, which, in reality, is what you really need to know.
- Tim Hance