Tree Roots in Sewer Lines

Peanut butter and jelly. Movies and popcorn. Tree roots and sewer lines. All of these pairs go together hand-in-hand—for better or for worse. Tree roots just love making their way into your home’s sewer lines. Unfortunately for you, tree roots can cause some of the most stressful and expensive plumbing problems.

Roots commonly enter your home’s lateral sewer pipes. The lateral pipes connect your home or business’ sewer system to the city’s main line. As a homeowner, it’s your responsibility to keep the lateral pipes functional.

Find out how tree roots can destroy your sewer system and how to prevent this plumbing headache below.

How and why tree roots damage sewer lines

Trees love three things: water, oxygen, and nutrients. Coincidentally, sewer lines contain all of these things. When a sewer pipe is cracked or has a loose joint, it provides an opportunity for a tree root to sneak into the pipe. Once inside, the root will continue to grow inside the pipe and cause serious problems.

This is sometimes more common in older houses, as many were built with clay sewer lines. The clay makes the pipes more vulnerable to root damage. However, no one is safe!

Keep in mind that even if you’ve removed large trees off of your property, some roots may remain for years afterward. Also, your neighbor’s trees may even be cause for concern. Because roots naturally grow towards the closest water source, your neighbor’s roots may be your sewer’s problem.

Common signs of a root problem

  • Slow flowing drains
  • Gurgling toilets
  • Overflowing toilets
  • Pools of water around your dishwasher and/or washing machine

Of course, these are common signs of many plumbing issues. However, if these symptoms are persistent and don’t go away, it’s time to call a plumber to take a look in your sewer system.

Roots can and will continue to grow within the sewer pipe until they completely rupture and destroy the sewer line. This can cost thousands of dollars to replace.

How to prevent a major tree root plumbing issue

If you catch a root problem early, it’s possible to clear the clog without replacing the entire sewer pipe. We recommend an annual drain cleaning and video inspection to ensure that everything is in good shape.

You should also ensure that trees are planted at least 10 feet away from sewer lines. You can also choose to plant smaller trees with smaller root systems.

Furthermore, never flush paper towels, diapers, or feminine hygiene products, as they can make a root clog problem even worse.

Whether you just want to check up on your sewer or you fear you have a severe root issue, the expert plumbers at Flatley’s can help. We offer sewer cleaning services, video camera sewer inspections, sewer line repair, and more.

Want to keep your sewers healthy and root-free? Call Flatley’s Plumbing Express to schedule a sewer inspection today!

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