Plumbing pipes are a natural target for tree root intrusions because even a tiny leak releases moisture and nutrients. Tree roots grow towards detected sources of the things the tree needs to grow, and if a small hole or crack is detected, they will grow into it. Over time, the root will grow in size, and this will crack the pipe apart, leading to an expensive repair bill. Eventually, the drain line under your yard may even become blocked, which can lead to a backflow of sewage into your home. In this article, we will look at the effectiveness of four ways to protect your plumbing system against tree root intrusions.
- A Plumbing Snake
The formal name for this tool is a plumbing augur. It’s a mechanical tool that removes a clog with a drill bit. The augur is inserted into the drain, a handle is turned, and the head tears the clog apart. More elaborate powered models are available, but it takes experience to use them without damaging the pipes. Simple augurs are available to clear clogs closer to the drain surface, but they won’t be long enough to reach deeper clogs. If a root has intruded into the drain line, it cannot be removed with a plumbing snake permanently. Sooner or later, the clog will return when the root grows back to search for more moisture and nutrients.
2. Chemical Drain Clearing Products
Clearing a standard clog with chemical cleaners isn’t recommended because the pipe can be damaged with caustic chemicals. But, it is possible to kill an intruding tree root without killing the entire tree. Some people pour RootX in their toilets or use copper sulfate crystals to kill the root intrusion. But, these substances are toxic, and you need to take care when using them in your home. The chemicals act as a poison to the tree root, but they won’t fix the underlying problem, which is a problem with the drain line. If you want to detect and fix the break, contact your local certified plumber, and they can inspect the area with a camera.
3. Using a Hydro Jet
A hydro jet system is a tool used by professional plumbers to remove stubborn clogs. The machine pumps water under high pressure into the pipes to force tree roots and other obstructions to clear. But, this is a specialized machine, and it can cause damage to the pipes if you’re not sure how to use it correctly. If the underlying problem is not addressed eventually, the tree root will return.
4. Remove the Tree Roots
Sometimes it may be necessary to dig up the tree roots, and this is common practice if the plumbing pipes are in bad shape. If the pipes cannot be repaired, they need to be replaced entirely. A local plumber can conduct a camera inspection inside the pipe to ascertain the scale of the damage. In some cases, a trenchless repair may be possible, which reduces the costs and the level of disruption to your home.
If you’re concerned about a persistent clog or tree intrusion, contact your local certified plumber today.
By Giovanni Longo President Flood Brothers Plumbing
Giovanni Longo is a 3rd generation master plumber who has been practicing his craft and trade in the greater Los Angeles area for well over a decade and a half. A plumbing and hydraulics-engineering innovator, Giovanni’s particular world-class expertise focuses on dealing with challenging sewer system designs as well as resolving complex commercial and residential draining issues. As a certified Flood Mitigation expert, he is also well versed in a wide variety of water damage and remediation solution.