Blocked basement drain may require excavation
Dear Angie: I have a blockage in my basement drain. Can a company just put a camera scope around the exterior drain tile of the basement to see what is blocked and where before making any decisions? I have had the inside of the basement dug up and cleaned with no luck. It was a lot to discover that the problem is elsewhere. – Christine O., Milwaukee.
Dear Christine:Cameras can be used to investigate sewer and storm pipes, but unfortunately, you can’t put a camera scope in the exterior drain tile without first excavating the four corners for access. Typically, people that have problems with water infiltration are in older homes with concrete drain tiles, and there is no way for a camera to make the turns around the foundation because the radius of those turns is too short. Some newer homes with plastic corrugated drain tile may have success with a camera, but in order to access that exterior tile, you would still need to excavate outside the foundation.
Do your homework before you hire, though. Different states have different rules on home improvements and repairs. Wisconsin requires home improvement companies – including basement waterproofers – to be registered with the Department of Commerce Division of Safety and Building. Check there and on Angie’s List before you hire. The state also requires contractors to show proof they have paid for worker's compensation, unemployment insurance, and minimum levels of liability or a bond. Homes built prior to 1980 are exempt from this requirement, but we advise hiring only licensed contractors for home improvement regardless of the age of your home.