Clearing Tree Roots Blocking Drains

We all love to have trees in our yard, but sometimes have to pay an unexpected price for their presence when tree roots block drains. Tree roots blocking drains come as no surprise to plumbers, though, who see the damage they can do every day.

Why Do Tree Roots Block Drains?

It almost seems like tree roots have a built-in “seek and destroy” mechanism that causes them to go out of their way to find drains. In a way, they do, but what they are drawn to is the condensation on the outside of sewerage or storm water drains. Once they have located the source of water, tree roots are powerful enough to penetrate the pipes and eventually block the drain.

There are two ways tree roots block drains. In the early stages, a root is often just big and obtrusive enough to capture paper, kitchen fats and other material. In turn, more waste material that may have previously passed through builds up and eventually clogs the drain. Too often, homeowners wanting to save money ask their plumbers for a quick fix rather than a thorough investigation. Using an electric eel or hydrojet, the plumber may be able to unblock the drain, but the tree roots are still able to continue growing. Eventually, the pipe becomes so damaged, serious leaking occurs.

Clearing Tree Roots Blocking Drains

More often than not, you won’t know that tree roots are the cause of your blocked drains. Rather than ask for a quick fix, ask your plumber to do a full investigation before they clear the drain. Today, that is easily done using a cctv camera mounted on the end of a long “snake.” The plumber simply feeds the snake into the pipe and watches its progress. When it reaches the source of the obstruction, the plumber can:

  1. Identify the cause.
  2. Find the exact location of the blockage.
  3. Recommend a lasting solution to the problem.

If tree roots are the culprit and they have already damaged the pipe, the plumber will probably recommend replacing the pipe. This is a very expensive procedure.

They say, “prevention is the best cure.” This applies to preventable home maintenance problems as well as your health. To avoid having tree roots block your drains, these are some of the things you can do:

  • If the damage has already been done, consider having your plumber replace your pipes with PVC pipes, which resist tree roots better than old clay pipes.
  • Your plumber may be able to reline your sewer pipes. This can be an economical alternative to replacing them.
  • If you are building or landscaping, consult an arborist before you plant trees. Some species can be planted at a safe distance from pipes while others should be avoided.
  • Whenever you have a blocked drain, let the plumber investigate with a cctv drain camera. If they find a tree root, you may want to remove the tree before it can do further damage or a tree surgeon may be able to install a root block to keep roots away from your pipes.

The most important thing is to let the plumber do a thorough job rather than settle for a quick fix. You might save money in the short term, but those quick fixes will add up over time and eventually you will have to pay for a lasting solution anyway.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *