When you wash your hands, take a shower, or flush the toilet, you trust the sewer lines to carry the wastewater away without incident. If tree roots have infiltrated the plumbing, the problem can swiftly grow into a major headache. Here are the top ways to detect and prevent tree roots from growing into your underground pipes.
How to Prevent Tree Roots in the Sewer Line
Ask your local sewer department or a home inspector where the sewer lines run through the yard and into your house. Use this information to ensure you plant trees away from sewer lines.
If no other spot is suitable for a tree except for an area that runs over a known sewer line, choose a slow-growing variety that matures to just 20 feet tall or less. Some species that meet these requirements include Japanese maple, eastern redbud, common fig, and crabapple trees.
Once you know the location of sewer lines in your yard, you can also use this information to identify trees planted nearby that could pose a potential issue. You may be able to prevent future problems by removing these trees before they grow too large and their roots spread.
How to Detect and Repair Tree Roots in the Sewer Line
If your home plumbing backs up repeatedly or suffers from other problems, this could be a sign that you have tree roots growing into your sewer line. You have a few ways of dealing with this problem:
- Remove the roots mechanically: You may have the option of cutting through tree roots that have made their way into the pipes. A professional sends a mechanical drill designed specifically for this purpose down the sewer line to chop the roots so they flow out of the pipe. This is only a temporary fix – the roots will grow back – but it allows your pipes to flow freely until you pursue a more permanent solution.
- Remove the roots chemically: Following mechanical root removal, one option is to kill the roots with chemicals. However, this can be dangerous, so you’ll want to rely on a professional’s help if you go this route.
- Verify the problem with a video camera inspection: If you’re unsure whether tree roots are the problem, or you want to pinpoint the extent of the issue, call a professional plumber for help.
- Repair your sewer line: If the damage caused by tree roots is severe enough, we might recommend trenchless sewer repair. This is when we fix the damaged pipe by lining it with a durable, seamless product that essentially creates a new pipe inside the old one. Small access holes are all that is required, allowing you to skip the mess and expense of digging trenches.