Having a clogged or backed-up drain is a huge headache no homeowner wants to deal with. From foul smells to overflowing sinks and tubs, plumbing issues can quickly escalate into a nasty mess. What is the best way to avoid these stressful situations? Being proactive with routine drain inspections and maintenance.

But how often should you actually schedule these sewer line inspections? The answer may surprise you. Let’s take a closer look at the recommended frequency and uncover why drain inspections are so vital for every household.

Why Are Drain Inspections Important?

Before diving into the ‘when,’ it’s crucial to understand the ‘why’ behind expert drain inspections and cleaning. These assessments aren’t just unnecessary expenses – they serve a valuable purpose in preserving the health and functionality of your drainage system.

Catch Problems Early

One of the biggest benefits is early detection. Professional inspectors use specialized cameras to get an inside look at your pipes. This allows them to spot any buildup, cracks, misalignments, or obstructions before they escalate into full-blown emergencies requiring extensive (and expensive) repairs.

Prevent Costly Damage

Speaking of expensive repairs, drain inspections also help prevent catastrophic damage to your home. Unaddressed plumbing issues can lead to flooding, mold growth, structural issues, and a whole slew of other nightmares. Compared to the cost of fixing those disasters, scheduling routine sewer line inspections is a wise investment.

Maintain Optimal Flow

Over time, it’s normal for drains to accumulate buildup from soap scum, hair, food particles, mineral deposits, and more. This gunk acts as a barrier, slowing down water flow. Sewer line inspections give professionals a chance to clean out the pipes and restore optimal drainage for sinks, showers, bathtubs, and more.

How Often Should You Schedule?

Now that we’ve covered the ‘why,’ let’s answer that burning question – how frequently should you get your drains inspected? As with many home maintenance tasks, there’s no definitive one-size-fits-all schedule. The ideal frequency depends on factors like:

Age of Home

Older homes generally require more frequent drain inspections, as the plumbing system has more years of wear and tear, for residents over 40 years old, annual inspections are recommended.

Number of Occupants

The more people living in the household, the more strain gets put on the drains from increased showers, sink use, toilet flushes, and more. Larger households may need inspections every 6-12 months.

Drain History

If you’ve experienced frequent clogs or backups, that’s a surefire sign you’ll need more vigilant inspections going forward – perhaps even every three to six months.


Don’t wait until you have a full-blown disaster to realize your drains need some TLC! Let’s look at some smart guidelines.

Guidelines for Residential Drain Inspections

For most average households, industry experts recommend:

  • Newly Constructed Homes: Inspect drains before move-in, then annually for the first few years
  • Homes Younger Than 20 Years: Annual inspections
  • Homes 20-40 Years Old: Inspections every 6-12 months
  • Homes Over 40 Years Old: Inspections every six months at a minimum

These are just general baselines, however. If you notice any of the following red flags, it’s wise to schedule a drain inspection ASAP, regardless of the home’s age:

  • Frequent clogs
  • Gurgling sounds from drains
  • Wet areas or moisture around floors/walls
  • Foul sewer odors
  • Slow drainage in sinks/tubs
  • Presence of drain flies/fruit flies

These issues indicate a problem is already brewing. The sooner you get the pipes inspected, the better your chances of avoiding serious damage.

The Drain Inspection Process Explained

So you’ve got the sewer line inspection scheduled – but what actually happens during one of these assessments? Although it may sound daunting, the process is relatively straightforward.

First, the technician will use a specialized camera system to record high-definition video drain inspection footage inside your drain pipes. Don’t worry; they’ll be able to see everything clearly thanks to the powerful lights on the camera head.


As the camera snakes its way through, the technician monitors the real-time video drain inspection footage. They’ll be looking for any signs of:

  • Clogs or obstructions
  • Cracks or fractures in the pipe
  • Bellied/sagging sections
  • Corrosion or mineral buildup
  • Misaligned/offset joints
  • Tree root intrusions
  • Grease, sludge, or debris buildup

Essentially, they’re assessing the overall condition of your drain system to determine if any costly repairs, replacements, or cleaning is needed.

Once the sewer line inspection wraps up, the technician will review their findings with you. This discussion allows them to recommend any necessary next steps, whether that’s:

  • Hydrojetting to blast away tough clogs
  • Pipe relining to repair cracks/holes without a full replacement
  • Drain line replacement for severely damaged sections
  • Or simply scheduling another inspection down the road

Regular drain inspections help uncover potential issues before they become major headaches. By scheduling this preventative maintenance, you’re taking a proactive approach to avoid foul odors, leaks, overflows, and other plumbing nightmares.

Benefits of Routine Inspections

Are drain inspections worth the time and money? Let’s review some of the key advantages this service provides:

  • Cost Savings: Although inspections have upfront costs, staying on top of maintenance saves you exponentially in the long run by preventing costly repairs.
  • Peace of Mind: There’s value in the reassurance that your pipes are in good working condition. Inspections give you that invaluable peace of mind.
  • Identify Potential Issues Early: We’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating – early detection makes all the difference. Catching problems promptly prevents damage from escalating.
  • Extend Pipe Lifespan: With routine care and cleaning, drain inspections help maximize the lifespan of your drain system before replacements are needed.
  • Home Value Protection: Well-maintained homes with functioning drainage simply retain more value on the real estate market.

The bottom line? When it comes to your drains and overall plumbing health, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Don’t neglect this crucial home maintenance task!


Your drains play a vital role in your household’s day-to-day operations. Give them the TLC they deserve with routine inspections! It’s a small investment that pays major dividends for a smooth-flowing, functional sewer system.