How Tree Root Intrusion Destroys Pipes (and What to Do About It)

Tree root intrusion is a really common cause of blocked and broken pipes and sewer lines. It is enough to make you wonder if your trees are holding some sort of grudge against you.

To answer your question: No, your trees are not exacting revenge on you — it is just that roots are responsible for finding water and nutrients for the tree, and your pipes happen to have a constant supply of it. When the roots detect this awesome water source, they will grow into the pipes through any gaps, joints and cracks that they find. Once inside, they will grow bigger and eventually, they will destroy the pipes.

So, what can you do to reverse tree root intrusion? Read on to find out.

How to know if tree roots are growing in your drainage pipes

When tree root intrusion causes obstructions in both drainage pipes and water pipes, there will be a noticeable change in how the plumbing works. Expect to observe the following signs if tree roots have made a home in the pipes:

  • Water that takes a long time to drain from sinks and bathtubs
  • Water that trickles instead of gushing, from faucets and shower heads
  • Toilets that do not flush properly
  • A gurgling sound in the plumbing
  • Trees that are really close to water, sewerage or drainage pipes

Put together, these signs point to tree root intrusion. Once a person knows that there are tree roots in their pipes, they should get rid of them before they do even more damage to the water supply, drainage or sewerage systems.

Tree root intrusion removal

There are a number of ways to get tree roots out of your pipes. These methods can be categorized into two approaches. The first approach is to physically take the roots out of the pipes. The second approach is to use chemicals to kill the roots and prevent them from growing into the pipes again.

Here are the most popular tree root removal techniques:

Cut or dig up the tree roots

This is a good idea if the person is unwilling to use chemicals to kill the roots. This method can only be used if the pipes are easy to reach.

Poison the roots

For sewer pipes, flush two pounds of rock salts down the toilets and avoid flushing, or at least minimize the use of the toilets for 12 hours. The salts will poison and dehydrate the roots.

Flush foaming root killer down the toilets a couple of times a year, and remember to follow the directions on the package. This chemical will kill the roots and prevent them from growing back.

Hydro jet

Use hydro jetting to blast the pipes with highly pressurized water. The water will clear the pipes of all obstructions and grime, roots included. For even better results, follow up the jetting with foaming root killer.

Removing the roots is not enough. The only way to deal with tree root intrusion on a permanent basis is to keep the roots from getting into the pipes in the first place.

Preventing tree root intrusion

It is cheaper and easier to prevent roots from breaching pipes than it is to remove them. To keep tree roots from wrecking your pipes, simply:

  • Plant trees far away from any pipes on the property
  • Choose to plant slow-growing trees with roots that are not too aggressive at finding water
  • Keep in mind that all trees eventually spread their roots as far and as deep as they can. This means that even slow-growing trees should be replaced every 10 or 15 years
  • Perform regular inspections to keep your pipes in good condition

It is easier to deal with root intrusion in its early stages, so keep an eye on your pipes and get a professional to perform periodic inspections. It is much cheaper than doing repairs or replacing the pipes altogether.

Ready to get started?

If tree roots are giving you trouble, call us today for some helpful advice.

Request an appointment here: https://www.prodigyplumbinglbc.com or call Prodigy Plumbing Inc at (562) 457-4206 for an appointment in our Cerritos office.

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