Why Are Tree Roots in the Sewer Line?

Why Are Tree Roots in the Sewer Line?

The sewer line is one of the most important parts of your plumbing system. More often than not, homeowners don’t give it a second thought until something goes very wrong. And unfortunately for those homeowners, one of the most common issues are tree roots in the sewer line.

But why do tree roots gravitate and grow in the sewer line? What can happen if they invade? And - most importantly - how can it be treated? Let’s begin with discovering why tree roots grow in your sewer line in the first place.

Roots Grow Toward a Water Source

This is down to Mother Nature. Trees, for their own survival, need to grow toward a water source. They cannot grow without water and oxygen, so they’ve evolved over time to spread their roots toward any evidence of water possible.

But when the tree is on your property, your sewer line becomes an irresistible water source for root growth. Moreso when there’s a leak in your sewer line. Tree roots see this open source as a “welcome home” sign.

What Happens If You Have Tree Roots in The Sewer Line?

But what’s the problem with tree roots in the sewer line? What damage can it cause? And, realistically, is it counted as an emergency?

Broken Pipes

As we mentioned above, a strong tree has strong roots. Strong roots will naturally grow towards a water source, i.e., a cracked pipe.

This means that, if you have even the smallest fracture in your pipes, the roots will break in and start growing into the pipe. This creates a strong pressure against the material of your sewer line and the roots will eventually burst your pipes.

Yard Sinkhole

A broken pipe by itself doesn’t sound too complicated. But the consequence of a broken pipe? Leaks. And big ones.

Your lawn will play host to the leaking sewage water, turning it from a gorgeous garden to a sewage sinkhole. This leak could then spread and flood your property, causing damage to your possessions.

So, while a broken pipe sounds like a manageable issue to have, you want to get it fixed as soon as possible. This will save you a headache and your home from potential damages.

You Will Need Repairs

There is no way of avoiding it. If you have tree roots in your sewer line and it causes a broken pipe, you will need repairs. And, depending on how extreme the breakage is and how long it’s been going on, these might be very costly.

We’ll talk about what to do a little later. But for now, it’s important to note that it’s not something that can be done by anyone who isn’t a trained, licensed plumber.

Signs You Have Tree Roots in Your Sewer Line

You now understand how tree roots can break into your sewer line, but how can you tell if your sewer line has been clogged with tree roots? Here are the most common symptoms.

Soft or Flooded Parts of the Lawn

Broken or fractured pipes lead to water and sewage escaping the pipes. This then causes leakage on your lawn.

So, if you can feel squishy, wet, soft patches on your grass, there’s a good chance that you have a problem with your sewer line.

In more extreme cases, you may even see flooding and water gathering. If that’s the case, get in touch with a licensed plumber as quickly as you can to avoid further damage.

Recurring Drain Clogs

Sometimes, our drains can be clogged with hair, grease, and other substances. If this is the case, call the plumber to clear the pipes and any buildup.

That said, if you notice that you’re needing to call a plumber more frequently and your drains become clogged again soon after treatment, it’s a sign that there’s a bigger problem at hand.

Sewer Smells

If the above two issues are not enough to cause you to take action, this one will be. The scent of sewage is overbearing, and it’s a smell nobody wants associated with their home.

If you can smell sewage, make sure you get in touch with a professional plumber who can assess the problem and provide a solution.

What To Do If You Have Tree Roots in Your Sewer Line

Now, you have learned how to pinpoint symptoms of having tree roots inside your sewer line. But how do you solve and unblock a sewer line clog?

Tree root invasions aren’t DIY-able. You should not attempt to fix it by yourself unless you are a licensed plumber. So, if you spot any of the above symptoms, make sure you get in touch with a professional plumbing company. They can treat the problem and remove any tree roots from your sewer line.

Do Not Treat Tree Roots with Chemicals

If you’re living with a sewer line that is blocked with tree roots, it can be tempting to pour over a tree-root treatment into your drains. While we understand the desperation to put an end to the smell of sewage, we implore you not to do it.

Harsh chemicals can interact negatively with your pipes, and it can actually cause far more harm than good. Plus, if you have small children or pets, these chemical solutions can be extremely dangerous if touched or inhaled.

How to Avoid Tree Roots in the Sewer Line

The best cause of treatment is, of course, to prevent a situation escalating in the first place.

If you’ve had a tree root infected sewer line, you’ll know that it can be a living nightmare.

So, to avoid this happening, here are some top tips.

Be Mindful with Landscaping

Clearly, trees grow toward any source of water.  You have no control over that. It’s a fact of nature that can’t be changed. However, you do have control over where you position your foliage.

If and when you want to plant a tree, make sure you know where your sewer line is first. Then, take great care to avoid placing it anywhere near your sewer line.

Replace Any Broken Pipes

If you have a fracture or break in any of your pipes, you’re essentially inviting tree roots to settle into them as their new home.

So, even if you have the tiniest break in your pipe, you must replace it. Spreading the fracture into a full-on breakage can happen quicker than you might think, and you’ll then have to experience leaks, the smell of sewage, and the inconvenience of treatment. Not to mention a high repair bill!

Consider An Annual Plumbing Inspection

The last preventative strategy for your sewer line to stay tree root-free is to plan and schedule annual plumbing checkups.

A licensed plumber will check the health status of your sewer line, making sure it’s free from any tree roots and debris.

Doing this every year means that, should any problems arise, you’ll catch them before they can evolve into anything more sinister. And, as you know, the best course of action is to act quickly.

This keeps stress levels to a minimum as well as repair bills.

For any of your plumbing needs, don’t hesitate to reach out to the professionals at Proskill.

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