Buying & Selling: Looking Below Ground


It’s hot, hot, hot right now and not just because it’s summer.  Local real estate is doing quite well, and in conjunction with that, we are getting a lot of calls from realtors and homeowners.  How should you address issues with your sewer system?  How can you be proactive as a buyer?  Here are some helpful tips when it comes to inspections, issues and closing the deal, that both sellers and buyers should know.

First, ongoing maintenance is critical.  If you have records showing yearly maintenance of your drains by a reputable drain cleaner, this is a sign to a buyer that you have cared for your property and have kept damaging root intrusion at bay.  If, however, you have had to clean your drains more frequently, this could be a sign that you need to address a repair or replacement of your sewer service.  Beware of Drano-type products that are dangerous and can actually eat away at your piping.  A foaming root killer like Bio-Clean is better.

Second, get a video inspection of your sewer service.  This is pretty much standard procedure in the home inspection process nowadays.  Most general home inspectors don’t offer this service and will either subcontract out or refer to a contractor, such as Joe Frei Excavating.  We can assess the condition of your line, and give you an honest recommendation of what you need to do.  On average, we charge $100 to $150 for a typical sewer inspection (expect to pay $125-$500 from local rooter-type companies).  Beware of contractors that advertise free inspections – their sole intention is to sell you a new line.

Third, if you are a first-time buyer, you should know that as a homeowner, the sewer service is the homeowner’s responsibility, from the house to the point in the street or alley that it intersects with the city’s main line.  The service, usually a 4″ line made of plastic, cast iron, clay tile or fibrous orangeberg, is rarely covered by a homeowner’s insurance policy.  Average replacement costs start at a minimum of $6,000 so you can see why it’s important to know the condition of the line.  Is the seller going to pay for a new line if needed?  Are you prepared to have it replaced at some point in the future?  This is one of the larger costs when it comes to owning a home – make sure you are informed.

Fourth, know what to expect from an inspection.  When we camera a line, we are looking for root intrusion, low spots or bellies, damage to the pipe, poor workmanship and breakage. There are many, many times when we can pinpoint the exact location of an issue and just repair the troublesome spot.  Do not feel pressured to replace your whole line if the rest of it is in great shape.  And if you need a flash drive for your records, we can provide that.

Fifth, know that there is a segment of this industry that is all about high-pressure sales. There’s “conveniently” a crew that just happens to be around the corner that fix your line right now.  You might feel as if you are backed into a corner if you are selling your home, have a sewer issue, and are afraid to lose a contract.  Get a second opinion!  Last week, a homeowner called us for a sewer replacement.  He already had it camera’d by another company, who gave him a pretty high bid for replacement.  We bid it for considerably less (thousands!) and when we showed up with our equipment, Joe camera’d the line again.  It was a perfect line!  Joe could not, in good conscience, replace this homeowner’s perfectly intact service and we pulled off the job.  Do your homework, ask your neighbors and friends for referrals, and call the city or county utility inspectors to see if a company you are considering is efficient and passing their inspections the first time.

Buying or selling a home can be exciting, stressful and full of new experiences.  If you would like more information about the utilities in your home, or one you are planning to purchase, give us a call at (719)447-1114.  Phone calls and estimates are free!



What is a Sand/Oil Interceptor?

Commercial properties have a different set of rules when it comes to drainage.  For businesses that use water for car washes or for vehicles maintenance, a sand/oil interceptor needs to be installed to capture dirt, sand, minor petroleum spills, etc. that enter floor drains and keep them out of the municipality’s wastewater system.  The water is filtered through the interceptor and continues on to the main, clean and not harmful to the environment.   Click here for typical guidelines.  In this case our favorite equipment dealer, Steel Tractor, needed the interceptor installed per the City of Fountain, as well as downspout extensions rerouted.

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Going Trenchless in Broadmoor

Last week, we replaced a customer’s sewer service via pipeburst.  It’s important to note that the house was under contract and the last thing the seller wanted was to turn their home over to the new owners with an ugly trench-scar in the yard.  By digging two small holes, we were able to limit damage to the beautiful lawn.  In fact, you can’t even see where we dug up by the house (though you might be about to spot the white caps from the new cleanouts we installed).

Using two trenchless methods, we pipeburst new pipe in from the house to the cleanouts, and then were able to install a liner for the rest of the way to the main.  Shout out to Eric Scott of Stuart Scott LTD Group for being great to work with.




That’s a wrap! Check out our new digs!


We’ve come to the end of our renovations on the shop …. if you haven’t stopped or driven by, here’s the big reveal.  For the exterior, the building and the canopy have been freshly painted in variations of our company colors, we have new asphalt and landscape rock, barn lights, and a mailbox.  We also replaced broken storefront windows, removed two 10,000 underground fuel tanks and installed new fencing.

Inside we painted, built a half wall, installed new cabinets and counters, removed miles of wiring, replaced an entire wall, and put up corrugated metal in the bay.  And there is a beer fridge, so ….. come and visit!