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How Can Tree Roots Clog Your Drains And How To Unclog Them?

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Clogged drains are one of the most frustrating problems that many homeowners face. There can be many reasons for clogged drains, and one of the most problematic is tree root infiltration. As you know, roots crave water and nutrients, and the moment they detect a leak, they quickly find their way into the pipe.

With sufficient water and oxygen in the pipe, the root gradually grows inside the line. Excessive growth inhibits the flow of water and leads to breakage and other more significant plumbing problems. Therefore, it becomes imperative to detect tree roots and unclog drains before turning into a significant plumbing disaster.

How Tree Roots Clog Your Drains?

A healthy drain pipe is usually unaffected from invasive tree roots. But over time, your pipe fittings can become loose, especially the old clay pipes built in the 1970s or earlier. These pipes develop cracks and fissures, creating an opening for the tree root to invade inside the pipe. The dampness created by the sewer flowing inside makes it an attractive place for the tree roots to flourish.

As the tree grows, the roots get bigger and broader, taking up nutrients from the sewage water. Consequently, the growing roots can create a partial or complete blockage. In the worst-case scenario, it can also lead to the bursting of the pipe.


Signs of Roots in Your Drain Pipes

Generally, all the drains in your home are connected to the main sewer line operated by the county or city. Therefore, you can check the following signs to determine whether you need to call a professional to unclog drains.

  • Slow or gurgling sound in drains: The first sign that will give you a hint of clogged drains is water draining slowly in your tubs, sinks, or toilets. A tree root can clog the drains partially, preventing the water from flowing smoothly.
  • Strong or foul odors: If there is a clogged drain, you will soon start experiencing rotten smells coming from your drains. The water trapped in the drain will result in the buildup of bacteria, which can cause a putrid smell.
  • Sinkholes on the surface: Since tree roots can obstruct the water from passing freely, this can cause the water to seep out through the sewage pipes. Over time, the moisture around the surface can cause it to sink down. It's a significant sign that something is stuck in your lines. Another sign you may notice is standing water, spongy grass in areas where they should not be.


How Can You Prevent Tree Root Damage?

Ideally, preventing the problem from happening is the best way to fix it. So, it is better that you do a few things to avoid such a situation from happening.

  • Locate your sewer lines so that you can plant trees at a safe distance away from them. If you have planted a tree too close to the pipe, it can cause damage to it, no matter how new or strong it is.
  • Second, there are few plants or trees, which have faster and wider tree root growth. So, plan what kind of trees you are planting while landscaping your garden or yard.
  • Get your pipes and plumbing system detected if you have just moved to an older house. Old pipes are more vulnerable to damage and deterioration compared to new pipes.


How To RepairRoot Damage?

There are different methods that your plumber can use to unclog drains. They may use high-pressure water jets to cut through the roots in the pipe. This method depends upon the length of the line and also the level of growth in the pipe. Lesser growth can be cut through it very easily if the pipe is straight. Once that is done, the plumbers apply a growth inhibitor that prevents the roots from growing again.

But if the pipe has extensive root growth inside causing damage to it, you might have to get the pipe replaced. The plumber will dig out the older clay pipes from the property and replace them with newer, more durable plastic pipes.

The next and more advanced method doesn't involve any digging. The technicians use CIPP (cured-in-place pipe) to repair the clogged sewer. In this method, a PVC lining is inserted through a small opening. This lining is coated with a resin that hardens into place. The entire process can be completed in few hours and can last as long as 50 years.

Ignoring the initial signs can result in more expensive plumbing repairs. Once you detect any of the signs mentioned, call your plumber to check the drains and sewer line and unclog drains immediately, if any.

If you don't take the signs seriously, it can affect your walls, flooring and even cause structural damage. Hence, get your sewer lines checked on time by a professional for quick and effective solutions.