Different opinions on CCTV drain survey
October 2, 2012 3:32 AM   Subscribe

I recently had a CCTV drain survey carried out on our victorian house and it revealed some defects. The company that did the survey quoted high, the second company quoted less (for less work) but said some work didn't need doing. What should I believe? (video and photo attached)

The first company recommended a replacement of the first bend and install 3 metres of 100mm resin liner.

The second company after being showed the report (not video) from the first said that the rest bend needs replacing but probably not the resin liner. They said they would inspect it with their own cameras if they did the work. I preferred this company so had the bend replaced by them - after looking with their own camera they said its not necessary as even if there was a small leak, it is 3m away from the house and is on a decent angle so it would have little / no effect.

I have attached an image of the type of joint and video.

My question is: The patio next to the house is dug up right now - when I come to sell the house, if a drain survey is carried out then is it likely that this will be raised as a problem and I have to knock money off or repair? Should I get this resin lined now just in case?

The drain is quite deep which is why the first wanted to resin line. The photo shows a section just after the bend which has now been replaced.

Picture of drain section from outside

Video of drain from inside
posted by oliverst to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I've bought a house twice in the past ten years (in the UK), and in neither case did we have the drains inspected. In the unlikely event that the drains are looked at at all, any inspection is going to be cursory. I've certainly never heard of anyone paying much attention to drains when buying a house.

A small leak in the pipe that far from the house isn't going to be much of an issue - it's surrounded by soil, after all, and depending on your soil type, that will either prevent much water from leaking out, or will allow it to soak harmlessly away down the incline; when we bought our current house I found that one drain had been completely smashed, then just buried, leaving the downpipe from the roof emptying into the garden. It must have been that way for years before I fixed it, and there doesn't seem to be any sign of damage. The water was just running away down the garden.
posted by pipeski at 3:45 AM on October 2, 2012

The video shows some pretty darned healthy-looking pipes. I'd say you're in good shape for now.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:16 AM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

What prompted this survey in the first place? Those pipes look awfully good to have excavated your patio over. Was this an attempt to address some observed problem, or did the first company knock on your door offering a "free" drain inspection?
posted by jon1270 at 6:03 AM on October 2, 2012

It looks like you have the old clay pipes. I would suggest whatever preventive maintenance is indicated. My mother-in-law just got to do $15k of cleanup and repair because the clay drain pipe cracked and collapsed some 30 feet from the house, in the yard, and it backed up and flooded the basement.
posted by xedrik at 7:30 AM on October 2, 2012

How old is the clay pipes? I live in a roughly 70 year old house whose clay pipes eventually collapsed and had to be replaced. They told us that those clay pipes were only rated for 30-50 years of life. So if your pipes are older than that and/or you have some trees/bushes near by you might want to consider getting the synthetic drain pipe. The life expectancy of those pipes are such that we'll both be dead before they need to be replaced again.
posted by mmascolino at 8:00 AM on October 2, 2012

Response by poster: The survey was prompted as the wall next to the bend in the soil pipe (first thing in the video) was damp. I had a suspicion that some water was escaping from this pipe on each flush - you can see where this happened here:

Corner piece before repair after excavation

there was no way for the water to escape (being under a concrete patio) hence the small patch of damp wall. The corner piece has been replaced but it is whether to resin line it or not - The problem is that the two companies effectively have different opinions. Looking at the overlap of each clay 'flange' it seems as though the flanges will have sufficient overlap to keep a seal.

Any other opinions appreciated though and thanks for those so far! FYI the concrete patio is being dug up anyway, but the 'displacement' in the pipe will be 60-70cm down and 3 metres away from the house hence why they suggested resin lining rather than digging / replacement.
posted by oliverst at 8:17 AM on October 2, 2012

Best answer: Those pipes are great. The longevity of clay pipes can vary greatly. When they were common no one had any idea how long they would last, they did some test to simulate years of wear on them and made a guess. Some only last 10 years, some last until they are damaged (the most common reason for failure) some are 100+ years old and doing just fine. Its like anything else-some is crap, some is really good. You can get water leaking in for a lot a different reasons (and drain pipes is where I would start looking myself) but it can be other stuff, like ground water moving in to your house footprint. If that happens you are actually better off with leaky pipes as they will act as a french drain, so site conditions really, really matter. But i wouldn't spend any more money on pipes that look that good.
posted by bartonlong at 10:29 AM on October 2, 2012

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