If trees or hedges are planted near your home, their roots may pose a hidden threat to your plumbing. Over time, invasive roots from shrubs and trees can slowly infiltrate and damage underground sewer and drain lines. Left unchecked, encroaching roots can crack pipes, clog drains, cause sewer backups, and lead to costly plumbing repairs.
The good news is that you can safeguard your plumbing against a tree’s root system with proactive maintenance and preventative solutions. This article will overview simple steps homeowners can take to protect their drain lines and sewer connections from destructive root overgrowth.
We’ll cover effective prevention methods you can start using now to avoid costly root removal services and plumbing emergencies down the road. Arm yourself with information to take control of roots before they cripple your plumbing.
How Roots Can Impact Plumbing
Invasive tree and shrub roots pose a risk to plumbing systems because of their aggressive growth behaviour and anatomy. Roots constantly seek out sources of water and nutrients, and underground pipes provide an ideal environment for them.
As roots maneuver through cracks and joints, they can dislodge pipes and eventually cause complete blockages. Thick root masses can also break through pipe walls or warp connections, leading to leaks, backups, and water damage.
Roots will continue expanding inside pipes, catching debris and penetrating deeper over many seasons. This reduces water flow, sewer gas build-up, and drainage issues. If root intrusions go unmanaged, they can cause pipe systems to fail completely, requiring full replacement.
Signs of Root Intrusion
Tree roots can cause major problems in sewer and drain pipes. Intruding roots seek water and nutrients, eventually cracking pipes and clogging drains. Several clear signs indicate root intrusion in a home’s plumbing:
As roots grow inside pipes, they restrict water flow and cause drains to empty slowly. Drains may gurgle or make noises as water squeezes past roots. Slow drainage progressively worsening over time is a telltale sign of root intrusion.
Roots can dislodge pipe joints and create gaps that allow sewer gas to vent into the home. A stench coming from drains may signal roots growing in vent pipes. Root masses can also trap sewage inside pipes, causing foul odours.
Visible roots in pipes
In advanced cases, homeowners may actually see thick roots growing through or around drain pipes. Roots that emerge at joint connections clearly indicate an intrusion problem. Homeowners may also spot roots in sewer vents that stick out of the roof.
High-Risk Areas for Root Intrusion
Certain areas around the home are more vulnerable to root intrusion problems. Sewer lines near large trees are at greatest risk, as roots can extend long distances seeking water sources.
Roots tend to enter pipes through cracks or loose joints, so older sewer lines with damage or deterioration are more susceptible. Root intrusion is common when sewer pipes run close to the property’s perimeter or foundation.
Shallow pipe depths allow roots from nearby trees to reach and infiltrate pipes more easily. Drainage pipes under driveways and sidewalks are also prone to root damage since roots spread laterally in search of moisture.
Homeowners should routinely inspect pipes in high-risk areas near trees or with known pipe damage to check for signs of root intrusion before it causes major blockages. Preventative measures like removing trees or lining pipes can help avoid costly root damage.
How to Stop Tree Roots in Your Plumbing
Did you know avoiding growing tree roots in your pipes is possible? Intruding tree roots can be persistent and cause ongoing damage to sewer and drain pipes. Homeowners have several options to halt root invasion and protect their plumbing systems. Effective solutions include:
Root barriers during construction
A physical root barrier can be installed around pipes during new construction or sewer line replacement. Plastic or metal shields prevent tree roots from penetrating the pipe. Root barriers should run the full length of the pipe to protect from intruding roots fully.
Pipe bursting or pipe lining to seal cracks
Existing pipes can be sealed using pipe bursting or pipe lining techniques. Pipe bursting involves breaking and replacing the old pipe with a new PVC pipe inside the old line. Pipe relining involves coating the pipe’s inside with an epoxy resin to create a smooth, impermeable new pipe surface. Both methods prevent future root intrusions.
Regular drain cleaning and maintenance
Periodic drain cleaning removes any small roots that may be growing. Catching roots early before they amass and cause blockages can help prevent major clogs and damage. Chemical drain cleaners specifically made to dissolve roots can also help kill off intruding roots.
Use Rock Salt
Rock salt can pull the moisture from the roots from drains and eventually kill them. Rock salt is available at most home improvement stores and is very easy to use. Simply pour half a pound of rock salt down the toilet, flushing as many times as it takes for all the rock salt to flush away. Repeat this three more times, dumping a total of two pounds of rock salt into the drain. Allow the drain system to sit for 12 hours without flushing.
Plumbing inspections to identify issues early
Having a professional plumber inspect the entire plumbing system can detect early root growth before it escalates. Pinpointing problem areas allows for proactive repair to stop extensive root damage. Annual inspections help homeowners stay ahead of any developing root issues.
Professional Tree Root Removal
For serious tree root intrusion problems, calling a professional plumber is the most effective solution. Experienced plumbers have specialised tools and techniques to clear roots and prevent their return.
High-pressure water jetting can scour pipes and flush out root masses. Mechanical drain augers with root-cutting blades can shred roots and clear clogged drains.
Chemical root killers are also applied to poison roots and stop future growth. Video pipe inspections help identify affected areas and guide thorough root removal.
Professionals can also spot pipe damage caused by roots and make necessary repairs. They may recommend permanent solutions like pipe relining or replacement to stop roots for good.
Although professional root removal services can be costly, they offer the most powerful methods to eliminate blockages and prevent ongoing tree root damage. Hiring a skilled plumber saves homeowners the hassle and health hazards of DIY removal attempts. It’s a smart investment to protect plumbing systems from destructive root invasions.
Ongoing Maintenance Tips
To avoid costly root damage, you should make pipe maintenance a regular priority. Tree roots can quickly infiltrate vulnerable plumbing, so vigilance is key.
Have your drains professionally cleaned once a year to clear any invading tree roots before major blockages occur. Monitor slow drains and sewage odours for early signs of root growth. Install screens on vent pipes to prevent roots from entering.
Avoid planting trees near sewer lines or grow only small varieties, and keep landscaping trimmed back from the home’s perimeter where pipes enter. When renovating, take the opportunity to replace old pipes or install root barriers.
Look for pipe leaks that attract roots and make repairs quickly. Divert rainwater runoff with downspout extensions and sump pumps.
These preventative maintenance tips will help you protect plumbing from destructive root intrusions. Taking proactive steps now avoids emergency pipe repairs down the road.
Don’t Let Invasive Roots Cripple Your Plumbing
Tree roots can wreak havoc on plumbing systems if left unchecked. From slow drains to sewer gas leaks, root intrusions spell trouble. The best defence is proactive maintenance and repair. Installing root barriers, sealing pipe cracks, regular drain cleaning, and professional root removal are proven methods to combat root damage before it escalates.
At Service First Plumbing, we have the advanced tools and expertise to inspect pipes and rid them of invading roots for good. Don’t wait until you have a plumbing emergency on your hands. We can help clear tree roots from your drains; contact our team today to discuss preventative maintenance plans tailored to your home.
With vigilant monitoring and timely repairs, you can avoid destructive clogs and keep water flowing smoothly through your pipes. Don’t let pests like tree roots create a headache - take steps now to safeguard your plumbing for the long run. Service First is here to help you stop root intrusions in their tracks.