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Have Tree Roots Invaded Your Plumbing?

8 September

A Tree Root Invasion

Did you just move into your new house with that rich and healthy tree in the backyard? It’s picture-perfect, what with the tree being years old and fit for picnics during the summer or even for building a treehouse. With their healthy green foliage, trees can add to the aesthetics of your home. But with beauty comes the ugly. Tree root invasion is the most common reason for a blockage in the sewer system. While there can be several causes of a malfunctioning plumbing system, tree root invasion can cause massive and further damage.

Tree roots can slither into pipe cracks in search of water. Or they get entangled in underground pipes. And before you know it, you’ve got slow-draining sinks and gurgling toilets. And there’s suddenly inexplicable blockages, burst pipes, and decreased water pressure.

Who would’ve thought the towering tree in the garden caused them? We usually envision clogged pipes, corrosion, and dirt buildup when we talk about plumbing disruptions.

So, while we scratch our heads figuring out the source of the disruption, the trees will continue to expand their roots. They’ll damage the pipelines and you might need a tree root removal.

But trees aren’t your main antagonists. Your pipes might have prior cracks or leaks that attract tree roots as they wriggle inside to seek water and nutrients to grow. Even the tiniest junction can cause significant problems, as the roots can aggressively invade the pipes and sewer system.

Early detection can prevent further damage. Keep reading to know some tell-tale signs of a tree root invasion in the plumbing system.

Tree Root Found In Pipe

How To Determine If Tree Roots Have Obstructed Your Plumbing?

Tree roots do not get entangled in your pipes overnight. It is a slow process that takes quite some time to show results. So, watch out for some initial and the most common signs that can help you detect a blockage in your pipes or drains at the earliest and prevent sudden disruptions.

1. Slow-Draining Tubs And Sinks

If water starts pooling in your sink or the tub takes time to drain, there’s a high chance you have a root invasion problem at hand. People often confuse slow-draining sinks as a sign of a buildup, and while that is entirely possible, it is essential to check for tree root invasion.

If cleaning your drains and chugging chemicals down the tub isn’t helping the water drain seamlessly, remember to contact a plumber. Have them check for the overgrowth of tree roots.

2. Gurgling Toilets

It is an early sign of pipe blockage if you hear a continuous, loud gurgling sound from your toilets or sinks. Now, this isn’t the familiar sound of water going down the flush – it is louder and lasts longer. It sounds like water is struggling to rush through the pipes but is obstructed by an object.

At first, you can try cleaning your drain using the traditional baking soda and vinegar concoction. If that doesn’t work, use a drain snake or shower unclogging tool.

If the problem persists, it is likely due to a tree root invasion.

3. Unpleasant Odours From Drains

We don’t need to tell you how repulsive odours emanating from drains can be – we are sure all of us have been there to experience it first-hand in our lives. If tree roots have glided into your pipes and caused a blockage, you will notice a distinct, unpleasant odour arising from the sinkhole or drains.

This is because the tree roots block water flow. They trap the waste that flows down your drains, thereby releasing an odour. The smell is often described as resembling a sulphurous stench or a rotten egg’s smell.

Backyard With Trees

4. Rapidly Growing Trees

If you have been patting your back and taking pride in the yard-grown trees that are looking healthier, bushier, and greener, we’ve some bad news. Unfortunately, the rapid growth might not be due to your efforts but because of a tree root invasion.

That’s right! So, if your trees look more luscious than usual, it’s a cause for alarm. Perhaps it means that they are enjoying an endless supply of nutrients and water from different sources. And the surest way to detect this is to hire an expert.

Professionals can inspect, identify, and evident tree roots from the plumbing system to allow trees to grow at a natural pace. This helps to keep them from interfering in your house’s plumbing system.

5. Toilet Backing Up

We’ve saved the most unpleasant sign for the last. If your toilet backs up despite multiple flushes or the toilet paper doesn’t go down the pipe, there’s likely to be a blockage.

When tree roots penetrate and block the sewer lines, it becomes difficult for toilet paper and other debris to pass through. They get entangled in the roots and block the pipe, interrupting the smooth water flow.

This is also why you often hear gurgling noises when you flush the toilet and see water pooling into the sink. Remember to contact a plumber as soon as you notice the toilet backing up since the issue might worsen over time. If you don’t act on it fast, you’ll quickly be in a very messy situation – quite literally.

6. Sinkholes In The Yard

When tree roots enter the pipes and prevent water flow, it increases the chances of a burst pipe. When pipes burst, they start leaking water into the surrounding soil, as the water has no other place to go. These leaks saturate the surrounding soil over time and result in soft spots in the yard.

So, if you notice soft, saturated areas in the soil that cave in and lead to the formation of sinkholes, it is a sure-shot sign of a tree root invasion. This problem doesn’t show up immediately, and by the time it does, your pipes are already damaged beyond repair.

Hence, we recommend calling a plumber to resolve the issue and watch for its recurrence.

Sinkhole In Backyard

How To Avoid Tree Root Invasion?

While invasive tree roots are highly inconvenient for your plumbing system, their overgrowth is entirely avoidable. Regular maintenance and certain plumbing fixtures can go a long way in keeping your sewer lines root-free.

So, here are some tips that’ll come in handy if you wish to avoid plumbing intrusion by aggressive and invasive tree roots:

1. Install Root Barriers

You may consider installing root barriers around a tree to prevent its roots from growing out. Ideally, 30 to 40 inches deep root barriers allow plants to co-exist. These can also block the sources from running far and wide and infiltrating your pipelines.

2. Routine Maintenance

You must keep your pipes clean and carry out regular maintenance services. These include preparing the pipelines for winter, ensuring the absence of clogs, and inspecting the plumbing with a camera. For the latter, you might have to call a professional plumber who has the necessary tools for the task.

Routine maintenance allows early detection of any anomaly in the plumbing system. And you can seek immediate solutions instead of letting the problem aggravate.

3. Clean Sewer Lines

Hydro-jetting is a non-invasive plumbing process that can keep your sewer lines free of clogs via power washing. It is an effective way to chop away tree roots that have invaded your plumbing system.

But this can only be done by a professional who will first inspect your pipelines for tree root invasion.

Tree Roots And Your Pipes

With that, it’s a wrap.

We hope our guide has given you the required expertise to detect tree root invasion in your plumbing.

Avoid tampering with your plumbing system or endlessly digging or chopping the tree roots and extending the work areas. You might only create more problems and other issues instead of solving the current one.

If you notice any signs of blockage in the plumbing system, get in touch with a professional plumber to save your home and business from further damage. They can use drain cameras and advanced tools to deal with the issue at hand.

That’s all for today. Until next time, take care!