On average nationwide, a plumbing inspection costs $150 to $500. The cost includes the labor and expertise involved in locating plumbing problems, but does not cover the cost of repairs.
A plumbing inspection allows you to find leaks, blockages, and damage in your house's pipes, or tree roots in a sewer line. You might get an inspection if a drain is running slow, water's leaking, or as part of regular maintenance to prevent expensive plumbing problems.
If you're a home buyer, it's also good idea to have a plumbing inspection done of the sewer line. While standard home inspections include a plumbing inspection, they don't usually include a check of the sewer line. Most home inspectors can offer this as an add-on.
Before you hire a professional inspector to check your home plumbing system, as well as the drain lines running from your home to the sewer, get an estimate on how much you should expect to pay with this cost guide.
What's in this cost guide?
- Plumbing inspection cost factors
- What's included in a plumbing inspection
- Prices for common repairs and plumbing work
- Hiring a plumbing inspector
The total cost of a plumbing inspection will depend on the type of inspection, whether or not you inspect the sewer line, and whether or not it's part of a larger home inspection.
A home plumbing inspection will either be visual, done with a camera, or a combination of both.
Visual inspection: $175
A visual inspection is the most affordable way to inspect your home's plumbing. For example, a Thumbtack pro in Phoenix, Arizona, charges $229 for visual inspection of plumbing.
With a visual inspection, a plumbing inspector looks at all the visible plumbing components in your house. The pro checks all sinks, toilets, tubs, and showers, and the connections to the fixtures. He or she checks for water leaks, confirms everything is draining properly, and that all appliances and fixtures are installed correctly. He or she also measures water pressure to make sure it's within the normal range, and inspects the hot water heater to make sure it's operating properly.
After inspecting your plumbing system, the inspector will make a report on anything you need to repair.
Camera inspection: $510
A camera inspection lets the plumbing inspector look inside underground pipes to check for clogs or damage with a hi-res video camera mounted on a flexible rod. The camera sends images back to the plumber in real-time while also recording them for later.
Any sewer-related checks will require a camera inspection. For a sewer camera inspection, a camera can be put down the drain in a sink to check the pipes in the house, or an outdoor pipe to check the sewer main in the yard. Sewer cameras can go hundreds of feet into the pipe, so they can be used to scope the main line. The camera will send a signal when it finds the clog, telling the inspector the exact location.
The cost can vary based on the length of the pipes and extent of damage, but national average costs for a camera inspection are $500. Some areas charge less. For example, a Thumbtack pro in Alvin, Texas, charges $300 for a sewer camera inspection.
You can also get a thorough check of your plumbing that combines visual and camera inspections. The same Thumbtack pro in Alvin, Texas, can do both for a package price of $500.
The average cost of a home inspection nationwide is between $244 and $421. A standard home inspection typically includes an examination of your plumbing and water heater, but not necessarily your sewer or sewer lines. A sewer camera inspection will be an add-on to your whole house inspection. It is also often an additional cost for a plumbing inspection.
For home buyers, a whole house and sewer camera inspection is a good idea to make sure no potential problems are left uncovered.
During a plumbing inspection, your professional inspector will check:
- Any place water runs through house. This includes sinks, toilets, tubs, lines, and pipes. At this time, the pro will look for leaks and damaged pipes or fittings. With toilets, the pro will check water levels, flappers, and filler mechanisms. He or she will eyeball visible pipes, and may run a camera inspection to check the pipes' condition from the inside.
- Your water heater. The pro will next check your water heater. With your water heater, he or she is looking at water temperature, pressure relief valves and pipes, and any rust in the tank (unless it's a tankless water heater). Some will also flush your water heater at this time, which is an annual maintenance task that prevents hard water and sediment buildup. To do this, the plumber will drain the water out of the tank with a hose and run clean water through the tank to rinse out any buildup.
- Outdoor plumbing for leaks or clogs. After checking everything indoors, your pro will then inspect the outdoor plumbing. If you live an area where temperatures go below freezing, he or she will make sure pipes have anti-freeze protection in place.
- Your main sewer line and cleanout. He or she may run a camera into the pipes to check for incursion of tree roots and rusted, damaged, or decrepit pipes running from your home to the sewer.
The cost of an inspection doesn't cover any repairs. You'll pay extra for a professional plumber to repair any plumbing problems you find. The amount depends on the type of repair. Below are the average national costs for common plumbing repairs:
|Unclogging a drain||$150 to $290|
|Object removal (like jewelry)||$200 to $325|
|Clearing a sewer line||$300 to $500|
|New hot water heater installation||$800 to $1,500|
|Main sewer line repair||$600 to $1,500+|
|Sewer line replacement||$7,500 and up|
If you plan to hire a home inspector, choose an inspector with a professional certification—some states even require it. Organizations that certify home inspectors include:
- American Society of Home Inspectors
- National Association of Certified Home Inspectors
- National Association of Home Inspectors
- American Home Inspectors Training
If you just want to hire someone to inspect your home's plumbing systems, a professional plumber can also do the job. Make sure the pro you hire is a certified and licensed plumber.
No matter who you hire, you should also ask for a cost estimate and breakdown. Some good questions to ask include:
- Will the price quoted for a camera inspection include a copy of the recording? You'll need one to get repair estimates from plumbers.
- Do you charge by the hour or by the linear foot of pipe to put a camera in a sewer line?
- Does the inspection include the sewer line and cleanouts? Or is that an additional cost?
If you're ready to make sure your pipes, plumbing, and fixtures are in tip top shape, find a professional plumbing inspection service near you on Thumbtack.