What to Do When Roots Get into Your Sewer Line

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What to Do When Roots Get into Your Sewer Line

  • roots are in your sewer line

There are many potential issues that homeowners face, ranging from finding a competent lawn care team to fixing a broken water heater. Depending on your level of knowledge, these can be stressful jobs. But what if you suspect tree roots are blocking your sewer line? Such a sensitive issue needs to be examined in order to figure out the best solution for your pipes, as quickly as possible.

How are roots are in your sewer line and invade your pipes?

Trees have a vast and complex system of roots that stretch below ground, reaching about a third of the size of the tree itself. The primary function of roots is seeking oxygen, moisture and soil nutrients, which are absorbed into the tree and allow for its continued growth. Feeder roots and root hairs project from the sturdy primary root and they soak in the majority of moisture they seek. In times of drought, as we see here in Southern California, roots can spread across vast distances in search of moisture and nutrients, and your pipes can be a primary target.

How Do You Know Roots Are the Source of the Clog?

How Roots Function Inside Your Sewer Line

The tiny root hairs which branch off the larger and stable roots are capable of infiltrating the joints on sewer pipes. Once they enter the pipe, they soak in the present moisture and expand. While root fibers themselves can cause a clog, this is further provoked by the accumulation of debris and grease flowing from your home. Because of the mass of tangled roots, this debris cannot flow freely as intended, but rather get stuck in the web of roots. The force of the roots can also put pressure on your pipes and the pipe joints, which can lead to burst pipes, or even a total collapse.

Types of Pipes

If you haven’t had the opportunity to replace your sewer line during your time in your home, you may be able to guess if roots are the cause of a sewer line clog with one simple question – was your home constructed before or after 1970? If the answer is yes, your sewer line was most likely constructed with clay pipes. Clay pipes can be easily invaded and decimated by tree roots, which is the reason why they are not used in modern plumbing systems. If your home was constructed after 1970, or the sewer lines have been replaced in the last couple decades, your sewer line may be PVC, concrete or plastic corrugated tubing. The current industry standard is PVC, and if your lines have not been replaced within the last couple decades you may not have PVC sewer lines, which tree roots are less capable of penetrating.

The best way to figure out for sure if roots are the primary culprit of clogged sewer lines, you will need to dig down to the pipes and insert a camera into a joint to see exactly what is happening in there. This can also help you determine what your piping is made of, in case you cannot say for certain. This is something you can do on your own if you have the ability, but this is also the point where you may be better off calling us at Orange Coast Plumbing to make sure the problem with the sewer line isn’t exasperated.

A Solution is Close at Hand

Once you have determined that root invasion is the cause of your sewer line troubles, there are several routes you can take.

Chemical tree root killers are available at hardware stores and are simple to use. Carefully read the instructions to make sure you are using the chemical properly, and ensure you are avoiding contact with your skin by preventing splash-back. The downside with this choice is that these chemicals have adverse effects on the environment and can even erode your pipe, making the problem worse.

If that idea is not for you, or if you tried and it has not helped, please call us at Orange Coast Plumbing and put our expertise to work for you. Depending on how thick and tangled the roots in your pipes are, we may be able to hydro-jet your system, which will blast out roots from your pipes, allowing the pipes to flow freely. Once the pipe is clear, we can evaluate the state of the pipe to see if there are cracks or other leaks which we can repair.

Should your pipes appear deeply damaged or very old, we will recommend a trenchless sewer repair to help save you money and hassle. This service involves cleaning your pipes from the inside, repairing any damage, and lining the whole sewer line with our epoxy resin, all without digging a trench. Once the resin is applied, we force compressed air into the line, ensuring the resin has spread to each nook and cranny. Once it dries, your pipe is now perfectly sealed and air-tight, preventing further damage by intruding roots or other debris.

For the best trained and certified plumbers, call us at Orange Coast Plumbing today at (800) 953-1110. We pride ourselves on our customer service abilities, and we also use the best and most current technology to combat your plumbing issues. We will decimate invading tree roots for you, quickly, safely and at the lowest-cost available.

 

About the Author:

Orange Coast Plumbing in Santa Ana, Orange County, Ca. takes great pride in providing plumbing knowledge to our online guests. Our entire team contributes to our blog. We have been in business since 1977 and have seen every kind of plumbing situation. We sincerely hope our posts contribute to bringing you plumbing peace of mind.