Are you thinking about selling your home in the next few years? How about ten years from now? Twenty? If you live in or around Pittsburgh, PA, certified plumbers recommend scheduling dye testing if you ever plan to sell your property. This is because, in some cities — Pittsburgh included — you cannot legally sell your property without dye testing. So what is dye testing, and why is it important?
Sewers: The Ins and Outs (Literally!)
Before you understand dye testing, you’ll need some background information about sewer systems. There are two main types of sewers connected to residential homes: combined sewers and sanitary sewers.
- Combined sewers direct wastewater from your home’s indoor drains and runoff water from your outdoor drains into one location — hence the name “combined” sewer.
- Sanitary sewers are designed to only channel wastewater from your inside drains rather than any runoff from yard drains. In fact, excessive rainwater runoff entering a sanitary drain can cause hazardous overflowing.
Why Dye Testing Matters
Because pipes age and shift over time, it is possible that your home is connected to a sanitary sewer designed to only hold indoor wastewater, but it isn’t properly connected, or the existing connection is damaged. This might mean that outdoor wastewater is entering your sanitary sewer, causing a whole host of potential plumbing problems.
Dye testing is a plumbing procedure designed to determine which kind of sewer your home is connected to and discover if any runoff from your yard is entering your sanitary drain and causing these plumbing problems.
Dye testing may seem like a simple concept, but you must schedule this service with residential plumbing services in Pittsburgh, PA, rather than trying to DIY (dye it yourself!). This is because your plumber understands your system’s needs, knows where your home is connected to the sewer, and can choose the optimal location for dye testing to take place.
How Dye Testing Works
The following steps are performed during dye testing:
- Step 1: The plumber will locate an outdoor drain on your property
- Step 2: They will place a dye tablet or capsule containing temporary colored dye into this drain
- Step 3: Taking note of the color of the dye, the plumber will flush this tablet down the drain
- Step 4: The plumber will analyze the way the dye moves throughout your plumbing system and assesses if your system passes or fails the dye test
Understanding Dye Test Results
If the sanitary sewer shows no trace of the dye, your plumbing system has passed the dye test. You will be issued paperwork certifying your home is ready to be sold. Congratulations!
If the sanitary system turns the color of the dye in the capsule or tablet, your plumbing system has failed the dye test. Due to regulations in the city of Pittsburgh, you cannot sell your home if your property fails the dye test.
What Happens Next?
You’ve failed the dye test. Now what? Here’s what to do:
Don’t freak out if dye testing indicates your home’s plumbing system needs work. There are plenty of people in Pittsburgh and all over the United States who are in the same situation. Communicate with your plumber, ask plenty of questions, and even take notes if you need to do so.
Don’t give up on the sale
Don’t assume that your home is unsellable due to failing the dye test. You may still be able to sell your home in the timeframe you imagined — or even recoup some money by having potential plumbing problems already solved for the next owner.
You may need to have your outdoor drainage line moved so that it is connected to a combined sewer instead of a sanitary sewer. However, depending on your individual situation, you might be able to talk to your plumber about other solutions besides moving your system if your home fails the dye test. Camera inspections for buying and selling homes have come a long way, and your plumber may be able to investigate the source of the problem before uprooting your water lines.
Collect your paperwork
Once the appropriate repairs or relocations have been completed, your plumber will issue you with an evidence of compliance certificate indicating your home is now ready to be sold. Hooray!
Professional Dye Testing in Pittsburgh, PA
When you need efficient, experienced, and professional plumbing services in and around Pittsburgh, the choice is clear — Mister Sewer Plumbing & HVAC. When things look more “dyed” than clear, we’re right here to help you get your sewer system ready and your home sold so you can stop worrying and get back to your daily life! Get in touch with us today to learn more or schedule dye testing for your plumbing system.