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How to Detect and Prevent Tree Roots in Your Sewer Line

roots in sewer pipe

Tree roots are a common cause of damage to sewer lines. Often, this type of damage can go overlooked, especially by homeowners who don’t understand just how powerful tree roots are. The truth is, tree root damage to sewer lines can lead to large and expensive problems. Here is how to detect tree roots in your sewer line, and how to prevent them from getting there.

How Do Tree Roots Get into Sewer Lines?

Tree roots are on the constant hunt for moisture. It makes sense they would grow closer to your sewer lines since the lines constantly carry moisture and wet waste. The roots will grow closer to the line and even start to wrap around it over time.

If there is a small chip or crack, the roots will definitely find it. Otherwise, the roots themselves will eventually break into the line if they find any imperfection to exploit.

Once there’s a path, the roots will grow and expand into the pipeline. If a tree sits directly above the line, its root ball can also cause the line to break through sheer pressure.

What Happens When Root Intrusion Occurs?

Once roots enter the sewer line, several things can happen. Some of these things you may notice inside the house, but some issues can develop that you’re not aware of at all until the damage grows too great. The signs you have a tree root invasion can vary from mild to severe. Some of those signs include:

  • Frequent clogs or backups
  • Perpetually slow draining
  • Lowered water pressure
  • Gurgling sounds
  • Increase in water bills
  • Pooling wastewater outside
  • Foul odor inside, in the basement, or outside

The problem with tree root invasions is that many of these issues can occur for other reasons as well. However, if you have trees or shrubs on the property, there’s a good chance your pipes have a root problem.

How Do You Mitigate Root Damage to Sewer & Drain Pipes?

If you already have roots in your sewer line, there are a few ways to deal with them. Typically, a professional plumbing inspection can spot the roots and the plumber can then employ the proper measures to get rid of them.

Some measures include cutting the roots with a sewer machine designed for it or using chemicals to dissolve the roots. These measures can help, but they won’t prevent new rooting from taking place.

To prevent tree root issues, you can remove the trees and shrubs from your yard. This is an extreme approach though and not always feasible. You can make sure your trees get enough nutrients so they don’t have to seek it elsewhere. You can also remove just the shrubs and trees that are close to your line.

Most importantly, if you have a plumbing issue, then call a professional as soon as possible. Prevention starts with being proactive. If you have a broken pipeline due to tree roots, you’ll need a professional to find it quickly and offer you solutions.

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