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Are clogged drains damaging your property?

As a professional home inspector, one of the things I see far too often is signs of water intrusion on a home, which can be the culprit in foundation/structural issues, termites and mold growth. While we can all agree that water is an important necessity in our daily lives, it can also wreak havoc on your home and cost you thousands of dollars in repairs if excess water is not addressed properly. In this article, I’m going to teach you:

  • What water intrusion is and how it occurs in and around your home

  • How to prevent water intrusion

  • How sewer scope inspections can help pinpoint the root cause of water issues and save you thousands of dollars in damages

What is water intrusion?

Water intrusion is excess water or moisture in areas of a home or building that can be caused by roof leaks, clogged gutters, broken pipes, sewer line backups and flooding from heavy rain.

While these issues might seem like isolated problems that can be a “quick fix,” water intrusion can have a domino effect, and really cause a lot of long term damage to your home if it is not addressed properly and in a timely manner. Your home has several systems that have individual functions, but all contribute and work together for a healthy indoor environment. At 4 Corners Home Inspections, we take a holistic approach to our work, paying close attention to the macro and micro instances of home management and deficiencies to ensure all of these systems work together as they should.

It’s more common than you think

Most homes have underground drains that connect to gutter downspouts and are intended to help divert water away from the home and help maintain the integrity of the foundation. It keeps your basement or crawlspace dry and helps avoid mold growth and other potential issues associated with high relative humidity. Unfortunately, these pipes and gutter systems can have a high potential for failure over time and get easily clogged.

There are many reasons why these pipes and gutters can fail:

  • Compromised areas of pipes become blocked or clogged by extra debris such as soil/rocks or leaves from gutters

  • Over time, tree roots can grow into underground pipes

  • Pipes can collapse due to excess weight above ground, caused by vehicles and heavy equipment

  • Poor workmanship during installation which can only compound over time

  • Pipes are also known to separate due to ground settlement

Especially during the fall season, the most common scenario occurs when leaves, branches and other debris fall onto a home’s gutters. Without proper gutter guards and regular cleaning, gutters will get clogged, causing water to run down the sides of the house, creating a high volume of water that pools around the foundation of the home. When drain systems are compromised, water can’t dissipate and has nowhere to go, causing the foundation to crack and settle, compromising the structural integrity of the home. In addition, hydrostatic pressure can create the perfect environment for elevating relative humidity, resulting in increased microbial activity. Higher concentrated levels of radon can also come into play if the area around the house stays saturated and can’t drain properly, causing an increased level of radon gas to be drawn into the home from pressurization.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

During this change of the season, we can still enjoy our pumpkin spice lattes, cooler weather and colorful falling leaves, but let’s not forget to perform some simple maintenance tasks to help protect our homes from the damages caused by water intrusion. Simple things you can do to prevent future issues include:

  • Installing gutter guards

  • Validating the integrity of your gutter system by checking for leaks

  • Keeping gutters clean of debris that can block water from entering the gutters

  • Observing how water dissipates through your gutters and downspouts during a hard rain and watching where the water goes…take notes!

  • Periodically scan the exterior of your home and check for cracks in your foundation or any settlement of concrete

  • Take note of any new odors that could indicate mold growth developing in your crawlspace or basement

  • Ensuring all areas around the home are properly graded for water management

Sewer scope inspections get to the root of the problem

If you suspect you have water intrusion in and around your foundation, it’s never too late to investigate the source and do something about it. 4 Corners Home Inspections serves the greater Nashville area and can help you identify the source of any water intrusion through the use of a sewer scope and locator. We will assess your unique situation and be able to use the scope to identify the specific locations of blockages in your pipes and drains, without having to dig up your whole yard to find them. Once you know the source of any blockages, you can take quick action to remedy the issue and get your drain systems working properly again, while protecting one of your biggest investments: your home. To schedule your sewer scope inspection, visit or give us a call at 615-573-2112.

About Barry Mankin and 4 Corners Home Inspections:

Barry Mankin is the owner of 4 Corners Home Inspections in Nashville, TN. He has more than 25 years of expertise in the areas of home construction and maintenance and is a Tennessee licensed home inspector. He is licensed and certified by the American Home Inspectors Training program (AHIT), the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), the International Association of Home Inspectors (InterNACHI), the National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors (NORMI) and is an affiliate member of the Greater Nashville Area Realtors (GNAR). He has also earned the designation of ASHI Certified Inspector (ACI), the highest level of ASHI membership available.



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