Like A Colonoscopy For Your Home

by Mark Broady on Tuesday, June 29, 2021
If your house is over 50 years of age and you've never inspected your drain pipes... you should probably send a camera down.

As we all reach a certain age, we need to take more care with the physical maintenance of our bodies. Those of us over the ages of 40 or 50 know this all too well. We can't get away with the same bad habits from our youth and not expect to pay the price. It's important to pay attention to a healthy diet, regular exercise, and consistent, quality sleep. As soon as we neglect any of these factors or allow them to waiver, even a little bit... we begin to notice the negative consequences of our actions. 

Besides the obvious warning signs - things like fatigue, brain fog, and that feeling we all get when our bodies are out of balance, there are often problems that can easily go undetected if we're not careful. We all know the importance of regular self-examination for things like breast cancer or an enlarged prostate. There's even the dreaded colonoscopy - an invasive camera inspection of our digestive tract. As much as we all cringe at the mere thought of this procedure, we all understand and recognize the benefit and the need for it.  

Just like an ageing body... an ageing home requires a little extra care and attention as well!

Most of the houses we sell on the West Island are somewhere between 50 and 70 years old, which means there are often underlying maintenance issues that can act like ticking time-bombs for the homeowners. 

One of the most common problems we encounter with these older homes are corroded or defective drains. A home's drainage system is a lot like the body's digestive system. Whatever goes into it must eventually come out the other end, and potential problems are often hidden from view. The drains in most homes tend to run into the basement and are buried under the concrete on the basement floor. They then travel underground beneath the front yard towards the main sewer connection in the middle of the street. If ever a problem were to arise that needed correction - accessing these drain pipes becomes a major challenge.

More and more frequently, we're seeing home buyers asking to conduct thorough inspections of the drain systems in these older homes - especially if the drains are still made out of cast iron or galvanized steel. Such inspections are done by specialized drain experts who pass a small camera into the drainpipe and run it the entire length of the pipe from inside the home all the way to the city connection. The video recording of the inspection gives the viewer an accurate assessment of the condition of the drains. At the same time, it can also be confirmed whether there is the presence or the absence of a sewer backflow prevention valve installed - a requirement for most home insurance companies these days and a feature that was not part of building codes back when most of these homes were built. 

The most common issues we find during such inspections are disconnected joints where sections of the drain meet, obstructions caused by tree roots or other debris, holes or leaks due to corrosion, and pipes that are bent out of shape, which causes them to hold water or not to drain properly. Any of these problems alone can be troublesome, but add a few of these together, and you have a recipe for a potential disaster! Anyone who's lived through a sewer back-up in their basement can tell you... it's not a pleasant experience!

In fact, we just went through this process for a home we were selling in Beaconsfield, where the Buyer insisted on doing a camera inspection of the drains because the home still had the original cast iron pipes, which will corrode over time. There had never been any issues related to drainage, and the home inspection indicated that the drains were functioning as they should. However, once they put a camera down there, they discovered that the main drain pipe was "banana" shaped and that water was accumulating inside the drain. We obtained an estimate from a plumber to correct the problem, which included excavating the garage floor and a good part of the driveway and front lawn. Total cost of repairs? $22,000 + taxes. It almost caused the deal to go sideways.  

The moral of the story? 

If you're over 50 years of age and you've never had a colonoscopy... you should probably have one done. It could save your life. 

If your house is over 50 years of age and you've never inspected your drain pipes... you should probably send a camera down there just in case. It could save your next transaction if and when you try to sell the place! 

Remember, Team Broady is here to answer all of your real estate-related questions, so don't hesitate to schedule an appointment by emailing us at or calling us at 514-613-2988.