In every inspection of a house in Ann Arbor that is on City water service – I highly recommend each time having a plumber come and scope your sewer lines with a camera. This will show you very clearly if your pipes are the infamous “Orangeburg Tile” that you’ve heard about. I remember first learning about it when I moved to Ann Arbor and thinking, “They made what out of this?”
Orangeburg tile is essentially a fiber-like composite material that was used after WWII as an alternative to cast iron or clay tiles, as there was shortage of materials for these types of pipes. There is a limited lifespan for this product and much of it has or will need to be replaced due to failure. To learn more, read Reinhart’s Deb Odom Stern’s write up on Orangeburg Tile at http://www.debodomstern.com/orangeburg_tile/ .
Trust us, you do not want to be on the receiving end of a sewer backup in your new house, and the double-whammy is the bill you will get to replace Orangeburg tile that was ineffectively running from your house to the main city sewer. Think a $10,000 to $15,000 plus bill! In addition, they’ll dig up your nice lawn too while they are at it!
So – do yourself a favor and spend a few hundred with a qualified plumber and have this service done while we inspect the rest of the house!