Tree roots in sewer


If you’re noticing that your sinks or bathtubs are draining slowly, or if you hear a strange gurgling noise coming from your toilet, it could mean that your sewer lines have been invaded by tree roots.

Tree Roots are Attracted to Your Sewer Lines

Despite all the unsightly things that travel through your sewer lines, tree roots are naturally drawn to them. Your pipes are filled with water, oxygen, and all kinds of nutrients, so they’re prime real estate for a tree looking to plant its roots.

Typically, a crack or loose joint in a pipe will allow vapor to escape towards cool soil. The tree roots grow towards this in search of moisture and nutrients, forcing their way into the cracks of the pipe and making their home there. They’ll continue to grow, in some cases, until they’ve filled the entire pipe. The roots create a type of net that will catch anything you send down the line to create annoying clog that will slow your drainage system way down. If the roots are allowed to continue growing, they can apply enough pressure to collapse your sewer pipes, resulting in extremely costly damage.

Thankfully, there are ways to treat them yourself before they get totally out of hand. Get them under control without the help of a professional and with little to no plumbing knowledge. There are a couple of simple and affordable options available to you should you decide to tackle this problem on your own.

The first method is to pour sodium chloride or copper sulfate, or rock salt, into your toilet. Pour a half pound of the salt into your toilet and flush as many times as you need to clean out the bowl, and repeat this process until you’ve flushed 2 pounds of salt into your pipes. Let the compound work its magic for 8 to 12 hours, avoiding flushing your toilet or running any water that will drain into your affected pipe.

Not only is it poisonous to plants, the salt compound acts as a highly-effective sponge, sucking away moisture from the roots so they’re no longer able to thrive. Doing this a couple of times a month will help keep your pipes clear of roots.

However, it is possible to eventually kill the entire tree and surrounding plants by using rock salt, so use caution if that’s not something you want to accomplish.

Another DIY alternative is to use a foaming root killer, which is easier on your pipes and actually helps prevent root regrowth. Root killers contain an herbicide that kills tree roots upon contact and then leaves behind a residue that will discourage any new roots from snaking their way into your pipes. If you catch the problem early, you should be able to pour the root killer directly into your toilet, following the product’s instructions carefully. If you repeat this process a couple of times a year, you probably won’t have any more trouble with roots in your sewer line.

If there is any question in your mind as to whether or not tree roots are causing your clog, or whether a portion of your clay pipe may have collapsed due to the invasion of roots, call us for a free camera inspection.  We will provide you with the peace of mind of knowing you’re handling this repair as efficiently and effectively as possible, preventing another messy clog and protecting your single largest investment: your home.