Wait a minute–surely I must have that backwards?
Standard inspection protocol of the interior of the home usually finds me starting at the top of the house on the interior and gradually working my way down to the lowest level and finally to the crawl space if there is one. As discussed in a previous post the reason for this is that if you flush the toilet and drain the other bathroom fixtures at the top level, you can then get meaningful information at the ceilings and other structures beneath them.
There is always the possibility that if you have a bad enough leak you might not have to inspect the crawl space at all! 😉 (Now that would take a LOT of water.)
The other day when I got to the basement I found the basement bathtub full of water. My first reaction was, “Looks like someone forgot to pull the plug and perhaps the tub drain is stopped up.”
When I flushed the toilet this is what happened in the tub.
When you are at the last fixtures in the home before the drain goes to the city sewer, and it backs up like this, it means that somewhere between the house and the city sewer, there is a blockage of some kind. It could be tree roots, a collapsed pipe, or something gross and unmentionable stuck sideways in the pipe. At the very least the line will need to be cleaned and at the worst it will need to be replaced.
Having the line scoped will tell you what the problem is, but be aware that the drain may have to be roto-rooted before it can be scoped to see what is going on.
In this case the drain will not be able to be used until it gets evaluated and properly fixed.
By Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
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