Sewer Scope Basics

Considering buying or selling a home, office, or commercial building?

In addition to a basic home or building inspection, one “optional” thing to carefully consider is to have a sewer scope performed. The seller before listing, and the buyer during the buyer’s inspection period.  You may have some questions about that.  In this article we will share with you the answers to the following questions:

What is a sewer scope?

Why do I need to have a sewer scope done?

What buildings should be scoped? And;

Who is the best person to do a sewer scope for me?

  1. Let’s begin:

What is a sewer scope?

A sewer scope inspection is a video inspection of the lateral sewer line (referred to by some plumbing codes as the “building sewer”) from the house at or near the foundation to the municipality’s or HOA’s tap or septic tank, performed for a fee.

Why do I need to have one done?

For sellers: For the same reason you would get a pre-listing inspection of your home or commercial building: So that YOU are not surprised. If the buyer has one done, and it reveals problems, you will have to deal with corrections, or negotiating compensation, when there is a clock ticking on the closing. “Emergency” repairs are always more expensive. Doing pre-listing building and sewer scope inspections can inform you of problems before they become an issue at closing, and that gives you time to learn about options and to shop for best prices.

For buyers: The #1 reason: To avoid costly repairs sometime in the future. Those repairs could be for either damages to the building caused by a plugged lateral line, or repairs or cleaning of the lateral line, or both.  We can’t see below ground. The sewer drainage system is a vital part of a building. If it does not consistently work properly, under all levels of use, living conditions in the building will be less than ideal. In fact, a partially or fully blocked DWV – Drain, Waste, Vent system, can make the home unlivable or temporarily close a business. Even brand-new homes and offices are found to have issues with the “lateral line” pipe between the building and the city sewer “tap” or property septic tank. After the building is complete and the landscaping is finished, there are only two ways to check the lateral lines: Digging up the pipes ($$$) or performing (and recording) a sewer scope.

The outside of a sewer lateral line might look fine, but could the inside look like this?:


What buildings should be scoped?

All buildings should have their lateral line(s) scoped periodically. But YOU only need to have it done if those lateral lines are, or will be, your responsibility.  So, the short answer is: every building, old or new, should be scoped, except where you are not responsible for the lateral line, as in a multi-story condo or townhome.  You might ask: why scope new or recent construction? The answer is: Because more than half of the problems that develop later are due to faulty or poor installation techniques along with lines that were damaged just after installation.

Who is the best person to do a scope for me?

Unless there are known issues with the sewer drainage system, a Sewer-Scope Certified Home Inspector is the best person to scope the sewer line.  You can get a plumber to do it, but that can cost as much as double what the inspector will charge.  Even at an equal price, plumbers are looking for additional income from “other” plumbing work.  Inspectors are not. That’s the purpose of a home inspection. A neutral third party who has no conflict of interest in telling you what additional specialty contractors need to look at the property, and which are not needed.

At The Best Property Inspections LLC, we can offer you the services of an InterNACHI Certified Sewer Scope Inspector for your inspections.   When considering which additional services to add to a basic building inspection, don’t forget to consider a sewer scope inspection.

Infrared (IR) Camera Inspections


Buildings like homes and offices are supposed to be places of comfort and safety.  An IR camera inspection of either the whole building or just specific sites can be very revealing. Take the two examples below.

  1. Insulation in the building. Not only are buildings insulated, but components inside the building are insulated.  Just looking at the insulation can never determine if the amount of, type of, and installation of the insulation is effective. But under the right conditions, the skillful user of an IR camera can find conditions in a building that are unsafe or inefficient.


IR Inspection

The photo above shows an insufficiently insulated HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) duct in an attic space.

The HVAC duct had insulation, but it was NOT effective!  With a 30-degree F temperature difference between the surface of the duct and the surrounding materials in the attic space, how much energy was being lost to the atmosphere?  If the house is found to not stay comfortable in the summer, or the utility costs are higher than necessary, more insulation over the ducts in the attic space would be a good place to work out a solution.  But without an IR camera inspection, how would the owner/buyer ever know?

  1. Equipment and appliances. Utilities use a lot of energy and are a great place to investigate with an IR camera.  Not only can overuse be an issue, but underuse can also be an issue.  Just looking at a cooling or heating device cannot tell the whole the whole story.  Yes, it works, but is it working efficiently? Effectively?


The above photo of a wall-mounted gas panel heater shows that only one of six panels is working.

While holding a hand over the top of the heater tells us that the heater is working, how well is it working? If only one panel out of 6 is producing heat, the unit is only 1/6th as effective as it could be. That room will very likely be uncomfortably cold during the heating season, but without an IR camera inspection, how would you know why?

The two examples above are only two places out of dozens that using an IR camera during an inspection could reveal much more about a building than only a visual inspection. To be fair, there are limitations to an IR inspection. First, it is beyond the scope of a regular home inspection. Second, it adds significant time to the inspection process.  Third, only a properly trained and experienced inspector, under certain conditions, will be able to find significant issues. So, it is not always possible to find every issue.

At The Best Property Inspections LLC, we can offer you the services of a CRT – Certified Residential Thermographer, for your inspections.   When considering which additional services to add to a basic building inspection, don’t forget to consider an IR inspection.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many people to transition to working from home. Although this reduces the likelihood of catching the virus, indoor air contaminants can still affect the health of your family. Here are eight things you can do to improve the indoor air quality at home.

1. Replace Air Filters

As your HVAC system heats or cools the air in your home, the filter collects airborne debris. Clogged filters cause the HVAC unit to run less efficiently. A dirty filter cannot trap more irritants, so dust, mold, and pet dander are recirculated through the air, triggering allergies and other health issues.

Along with the filters in your HVAC system, replace or clean the filters in your vacuum cleaner and air purifier machines as recommended by the manufacturers.

2. Clean the Linens and Upholstery

Dirty sheets, cushions, pillows, and curtains encourage dust mites, the most common indoor allergen. To keep dust mites at bay, wash these items each week or at least twice a month in hot water.

3. Houseplants to Improve Indoor Air Quality

Not only are houseplants aesthetically pleasing, but some help to eliminate airborne toxins while replenishing oxygen. Some of the best purifying houseplants are English ivy, Boston fern, gerber daisy, and spider plant. If you choose to keep plants in your home, learn how to care for them properly. Overwatering is a common cause of mold growth which can contribute to poor indoor air quality.

4. Use an Air Purifier

Despite your best house cleaning efforts, some pollutants will still remain in your home. To help you breathe easier, use an air purifier, a portable machine that captures and eliminates many indoor contaminants. Find an air purifier with a high CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate).

Use purifiers in the busiest rooms in your home and install one in the bedroom of any family member who suffers from allergies. You can also install a whole-house purifier in your HVAC system. This type of purifier filters air as it passes through your entire house.

5. Vacuum Regularly to Improve Indoor Air Quality

Carpet fibers and rugs trap dust mites, pollen, dirt, mold spores, and other irritants. Improve indoor air quality by vacuuming at least twice a week using a vacuum equipped with a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filter. Make sure that your vacuum has powerful suction so that debris doesn’t get blown back into the room.

6. Keep Pet Dander in Check

As much as you love your pets, they contribute to poor air quality with their fur and dander. Brush your cat weekly and bathe your dog regularly to keep your home cleaner. You may need to groom long-haired pets daily. You’ll have better air quality, plus your pets will love the attention.

7. Use Door Mats

Place a doormat inside and outside of each exterior door. Things like pesticides, dirt, and allergens can be tracked into your house via shoes. A mat will trap some of these contaminants before they are carried inside. Choose doormats that are easy to wash and spray them down with a garden hose frequently.

8. Improve Indoor Air Quality by Reducing Humidity

If your home has high humidity, the excess moisture will support mold and mildew growth. These conditions also foster termite and dust mite infestations. Reduce moisture in the air by using portable dehumidifiers throughout your house. You can also integrate a whole-house dehumidifier with your HVAC system. Your home’s humidity level should be between 30 percent to 50 percent.

Staying home during this pandemic can be challenging. It’s difficult to feel well if you’re breathing unhealthy air. Improve indoor air quality by following the tips listed above and enjoy a healthier, contaminant-free home.

The Best Property Inspections LLC offers home inspection services to customers in the southeastern part of Arizona. Contact us to request an appointment.

As a homeowner, you want to keep your house comfortable and attractive. There are some home maintenance services that should be scheduled regularly to care for your property and avoid costly repairs. Staying on top of a maintenance routine prevents problems later.

Roof Inspection

Check your roof at least twice a year. This is a recommendation from the National Roofing Contractors Association. Look for broken or missing shingles, cracked or rusted flashings, moss, and tree branches and debris. Regular examinations will catch problems before they cause major damage. Loose or missing shingles let rainwater seep into the roof and attic, leading to mold growth and structural damage. Heavy storms can cause leaking and damage to wood and drywall.

Annual HVAC Inspection

HVAC inspections are important to the health of your system. Every homeowner should have their heating and cooling system inspected at the beginning of spring and again in the fall. The technician will change your furnace filters, vacuum and clean your system, tighten bolts, and inspect the system for normal wear and tear.

Chimney Cleaning is One of the Most Important Home Maintenance Services

Having a professional chimney sweep clean and inspect your fireplace and chimney helps to prevent fires. Creosote is the residue that is left behind when you burn wood. It’s highly flammable and can ignite, causing a fire in your chimney. This is dangerous because chimney fires can cause overhanging tree branches to ignite or the flames can spread into the house.

To Help Maintain Your Home, Check for Termites

A termite infestation can cause significant damage to your home. These pests eat the cellulose of any wooden components. The damage they cause can become costly, especially when they destroy structural supports of the home. A yearly inspection will alert you to termites before their colony gets out of hand.

Necessary Home Maintenance Services Include Pumping the Septic Tank

Cleaning out the septic tank is essential for maintaining your plumbing system. If your home has a septic system, the tank needs to be pumped every 3 to 5 years on average.

Backup from a septic tank is not only unpleasant, but is a health hazard. The technician will inspect the tank to see that it is in good working order and empty it with a vacuum hose. Keep this task on your routine maintenance list to avoid any problems with overflowing sewage.

A home is one of the largest investments you will make in your lifetime. Protect your investment by taking proper care of it and scheduling routine maintenance so everything works smoothly.

The Best Property Inspections LLC offers annual maintenance inspections to find any defects or failing components of your property. Contact us to schedule our services.

In nature, mold contributes to the breakdown and decay of organic materials. It is not so helpful when it grows indoors. It can survive anywhere there is moisture, particularly in bathrooms, kitchens, attics, and basements. Mold causes damage to surfaces and also exacerbates asthma, allergies, and other health issues. If you suspect that mold is growing in your living spaces, take action immediately. Call a professional inspector if you notice any of these signs of mold in your home.

Health Symptoms Can Indicate Mold in Your Home

If you are sneezing and coughing while you’re at home, you may have a mold problem. If you notice your symptoms improve when you leave the house, it is even more likely that you have mold growth in the home. Mold isn’t always visible; it is often hidden beneath surfaces. Because of this, health symptoms may be the only clue that mold is growing in your home.

Musty Odor

Another sign that indicates mold in the home is an odor. Don’t ignore a musty smell simply because you cannot see mold. It could be hidden in the wall, beneath the sink, or under the carpeting.

Visual Signs of Mold in Your Home

The most obvious sign is actually seeing the mold. You may notice spots and streaks on sinks, pipes, tubs, walls, and other areas that have contact with moisture. The spots can be almost any color and grow in various patterns. Some varieties grow in patches, while others grow in stripes and streaks. Simply wiping mold away doesn’t solve the problem. Depending on the surface, you may be able to use vinegar, borax, or bleach to eliminate it. The mold spores must be killed or they will continue to return and spread. A serious mold infestation needs to be treated by a mold mitigation professional.

Don’t risk your family’s health or your home’s good condition by allowing a mold problem to persist. If you notice any signs of mold in the home, call a professional to schedule a mold inspection.

The Best Property Inspections LLC offers home inspections, including mold testing, to Southeast Arizona. Contact us to request an appointment.

Significant electrical problems in a home affect its safety and the ability to sell. Homebuyers may back out of a sale if a home inspection report reveals electrical system issues. By paying close attention to signs of problems with a home’s electrical outlets and wiring, homeowners can get these issues fixed promptly and keep small concerns from developing into serious hazards.

A Checklist of Signs of Electrical Problems in a Home

This article details some common signs of potentially significant electrical problems in a home. If you notice any of these signs, contact an electrician.

One: Breakers Tripping Frequently Mean Electrical Problems in a Home

Most people have experienced turning on an appliance and suddenly noticing it turn off automatically due to a breaker shutting off or “tripping”. If this situation occurs often in a home, residents should contact a qualified electrician. Too many connections may have caused an overload in the electrical circuit. The tripping of the fuse breaker causes a temporary inconvenience and is also a sign of safety issues. It serves as a warning that additional wiring may be needed in the home to meet all the electricity demands of the household.

Two: Electrical Switches Feel Hot to The Touch

Electricity readily generates heat. However, electrical switches should not feel hot to the touch. Electricians caution homeowners to seek professional assistance promptly if electrical problems in a home include hot outlets or switches.

Three: Sparking Occurs at an Electrical Outlet

Electrical outlets should not emit sparks or smoke. Enlist the help of a licensed electrician immediately if you observe this problem. It could mean wires are overheating and melting, which is a very dangerous situation.

Four: Certain Areas of the Home Lose Electricity Completely

An increase in the number of electronic devices in a home sometimes places a heavy burden on home electrical systems. If an electrical circuit stops functioning completely, contact an electrician to check it out. You may need to replace the existing wiring with new, more extensive wiring. Only entrust these tasks to a qualified, licensed electrician.

Five: Light Bulbs Burn Out Much Faster than Anticipated

While a single burned-out light bulb shouldn’t pose a concern, the repeated burning out of light bulbs at a faster than expected rate suggests an electrical problem. Poor connections may be responsible for this issue.

Why Electrical Problems in a Home Require Prompt Attention

Malfunctions in residential electrical systems sometimes cause fires, serious injuries, and even deaths. The Electrical Safety Foundation International website reports that household electrical fires account for some 500 deaths every year. The organization urges every homeowner to install and maintain smoke detectors. By taking quick action to address electrical repair issues, property owners promote home safety.

The Best Property Inspections LLC provides home inspections to Southeast Arizona. Contact us to schedule our services.

Many homes that were built before 1978 have paint that contains lead. Lead is a dangerous substance that is especially harmful to children. Read on to learn about lead paint in the home and what to do if you have it.

When is Lead Paint in the Home a Problem?

The U.S. government banned the use of lead paint in houses in 1978. However, there are still millions of homes that have lead paint on the walls, often underneath newer layers of paint. Lead paint is especially dangerous when it chips or peels and contaminates household dust. Lead paint is a greater hazard on surfaces that see a lot of wear, like door frames or window sills.

How to Tell if You Have Lead Paint in the Home

The only way to know if the paint in your home contains lead is to have it professionally tested. Luckily, lead testing will determine if the base layers of paint contain lead, even if they are under multiple layers of non-lead paint.

Health Problems Caused by Lead

The most common causes of lead poisoning in children are lead paint and contaminated dust from the paint. Lead poisoning can cause irreversible damage to your health. Some of the symptoms include:

  • Seizures
  • Learning disabilities
  • Hearing loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Digestive troubles
  • Fatigue
  • High blood pressure
  • Headaches

Exposure to lead during pregnancy also causes complications, including miscarriage and premature birth.

What to Do About Lead Paint in the Home

Any home built before 1978 should be tested for lead paint. If the test results show that you have lead paint in your house, here are your options:


Hire a contractor who specializes in lead paint removal. Professionals will remove lead paint with a sander that’s equipped with a HEPA-filtered vacuum or by using a low-temperature heat gun.


Another strategy involves removing and replacing the entire parts of the structure that contain lead paint, like drywall, doors, and windows.


Enclosure means covering the lead paint with a new surface, such as new drywall. Window sills can be covered with a vinyl cladding. This method temporarily protects your family from lead paint poisoning, but the lead paint is still a hazard if you remodel in the future.

The Best Property Inspections LLC provides lead paint testing and other home inspection services. Contact us to book an appointment in Southeast Arizona.

A swimming pool on your property is great for family and friends, but without proper maintenance, it can easily become unusable. If you’re unsure of the necessary steps for maintaining your swimming pool, the good news is that it’s a fairly simple process. To help you out, here are five tips for keeping your pool clean and clear.

1. Chlorinate When Maintaining Your Swimming Pool

The purpose of chlorine is to keep the water free from any bacteria that might be dangerous to humans. One easy way to chlorinate your pool is to install a chlorinator, a tube-shaped tank that fits next to your pool filter. With a chlorinator, you add slow-dissolving chlorine sticks to the tank. If you don’t have a chlorinator, another option is a floating container that dispenses chlorine. However, these containers can put a child’s health at risk, so they aren’t a good choice if you have young kids.

2. Clear Away Debris

Another step in maintaining your swimming pool is to regularly remove any debris. Use a skimmer net to remove any leaves and twigs from your pool once a day or several times a week. You should also have skimmer baskets around the edges of your pool to catch excess debris. Empty all skimmer baskets regularly so they don’t overflow back into your pool.

3. Vacuums: Necessary Tools for Maintaining Your Swimming Pool

A pool vacuum is an important purchase if you have a home swimming pool. The purpose of a vacuum is to remove debris from the bottom of the pool and clear away any built-up sediment. While manual vacuums are available, automated pool vacuums propel themselves around the bottom of the pool and can be left alone to do the work.

4. Clean Your Pump Filter Often

Your pool’s pump is a vital piece of equipment that cycles out old water for clean, filtered water. If you don’t clean the pump’s filter regularly, you’ll end up with hazy, contaminated water that can become a bacterial breeding ground. To clean the filter, shut the pump off and close the skimmer valve. Then remove hair, lint, and other debris from the filter.

5. Regulate the pH

One final tip for maintaining your swimming pool is to regulate the pool water’s pH. Testing and adjusting the pH might sound complicated, but a pH testing kit will do the job for you. For safety, your pool water’s pH should stay between 7.4 and 7.6. Test the water weekly, and if it falls under 7.4 (too acidic), add soda ash to raise the pH. Conversely, if it’s ever above 7.6 (too basic), add muriatic acid. Both of these pH-adjusting chemicals are easy to find in pool supply stores or online.

The Best Property Inspections LLC provides pool and spa inspections to Southeast Arizona. Contact us to schedule our services.

Decluttering your home isn’t just a trend; it’s a practice to promote a cleaner home and reduce stress. Before you can tackle this project, read our tips on how to declutter your home.

Learning How to Declutter Your Home

Create a plan for decluttering. Instead of looking at it as a monumental task that can only be done one way, take a moment to figure out how you want to organize your home. Below are four tips that will help you get started.

1. Examine the Reasons for Your Clutter

You’ll find plenty of advice about how to declutter your home, but take the time to address the root of the problem. If you want to make your decluttering last, start by determining why your home became cluttered in the first place. Figure out why clutter is accumulating in your home. It could be stress, lack of time to tidy up daily, or buying things that don’t get used.

2. What Organized Means to You

Decluttering means different things to different people. Some might define a decluttered space as having few belongings, while others might define decluttering as putting everything in its place. Set clear goals of what decluttering means to you before you get started. Work towards your own personal definition so that you can enjoy the end product of your work.

3. Start Small to Declutter Your Home

Declutter your home by starting small. Don’t set an impossible task for yourself – begin with a single room or, in some cases, one corner. Tackling one area at a time will give you small victories that will help to keep you motivated throughout the project.

4. Be Realistic

Finally, be realistic about what you’re doing. When you look at pictures of homes that have been decluttered online, you’re not always looking at something that can be accomplished in your own home. You don’t own those shelves, have those closets, or have as much open space in your house. Take a few moments to determine what an organized home looks like to you, and then pursue that outcome in a sensible way.

Figure out what you want from the process of decluttering your home. Once you’ve figured out your plan and set goals, you can declutter your home easily.

The Best Property Inspections LLC offers home inspection services in Southeast Arizona. Contact us to schedule an appointment.

For more on decluttering, see the Ultimate Guide to Decluttering.

Injuries that occur in the home account for millions of medical visits annually. This is just one of the reasons to make your home safer for yourself, family members, and guests. Here are a few essential items for home safety that should be in every house.

Fire Extinguishers are Essential Items for Home Safety

It’s easy for a small home fire to quickly grow out of control. Minimize this risk by having working fire extinguishers handy. Be certain you have the right type of fire extinguisher for the type of fire that’s likely to occur. The number of fire extinguishers you’ll need in your home is based on:

• The overall size of your home
• Whether or not you have multiple floors
• Potential fire risks in your home

Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Smoke detectors are essential items for home safety, but there are still many households without them. CO detectors are equally important because carbon monoxide isn’t easily detected and can be lethal. Instead of installing two types of detectors in your home, choose combination smoke/CO detector units.

A First Aid Kit is Essential

You may have a well-stocked medicine cabinet in your home, but there are times when you’ll need other supplies to tend to an injury. This is why you should have at least one first aid kit on your list of essential items for home safety.

Regularly take inventory to make sure the kit is fully stocked with bandages and other items to provide immediate care. A good companion to a first aid kit is an updated list of phone numbers for:

• Your family’s primary care doctor
• A local hospital
• The local poison control center

Escape Ladders are Important for Home Safety

In the event of a fire, escape ladders are essential items. They’re meant to be used to escape a room through a window when the door is blocked by flames. For lower floors, consider a ladder attached to the window. For higher floors, use collapsing ladders that hook onto the windowsill.

Disaster Kit

Being prepared for the unexpected also means having essentials in the event of a natural disaster. Items included in a disaster kit will depend on what type of natural disasters your area is susceptible to. However, it’s generally recommended that a disaster kit include things like:

• A gallon of water for each person in your household
• At least three days worth of non-perishable food items
• Personal hygiene items – e.g., toilet paper, portable shaving kit, etc.
• A battery-powered radio
• An emergency flashlight with extra batteries
• Copies of important documents
• Matches or a lighter
• A solar-powered phone/device charger

These are just some of the things you’ll want to have on hand should the unexpected happen. Be better prepared for emergencies by purchasing these essential items for home safety.

The Best Property Inspections LLC offers home inspections to Southeast Arizona. Contact us to request an appointment.

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