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Have Tree Roots Invaded Your Plumbing?

8 September

Trees are an excellent addition to any yard but are also the most common reason for a blockage in the sewer system.

Often, tree roots slither into pipe cracks in search of water, and before you know it, you will face issues like slow-draining sinks and gurgling toilets. While there can be several causes of a malfunctioning plumbing system, tree root invasion can cause massive damage and therefore, it is essential to detect the problem at the earliest.

In this guide, we will be looking at some tell-tale signs of a tree root invasion in the plumbing system. So, without further delay, let’s get to the details.

What Is Tree Root Invasion?

Having trees in your garden is a boon for various reasons. True, it adds to the overall aesthetics of your house, but with the good comes the bad. Tree root invasion is a common problem most homeowners face as the roots get entangled in underground pipes leading to issues like blockage, burst pipes, and decreased water pressure.

When we talk about plumbing disruptions, we usually envision clogged pipes, corrosion, and dirt buildup. However, people seldom suspect the towering trees in their gardens. So, while you will be scratching your head trying to investigate the source of the disruption, the tree roots will continue to expand and damage the pipelines.

However, trees aren’t entirely to blame. Your pipes might have prior cracks or leaks that attract tree roots as they wriggle inside to seek water and nutrients to grow. Therefore, even the tiniest junction can cause significant problems, as the roots can aggressively invade the pipes and sewer system. 

The good news is that early detection can prevent further damage, but how does one detect tree root invasion? Keep reading to know more.

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. Therefore, watch out for some initial signs that can help you detect a blockage in your pipes or drains at the earliest and prevent sudden disruptions.

In this section, we will be looking at some signs of a tree root invasion. So, let’s get started.

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 and have them check for the overgrowth of tree roots.

2. Gurgling Toilets

If you hear a continuous, loud gurgling sound from your toilets or sinks, it is an early sign of pipe blockage. Now, this isn’t the familiar sound of water going down the flush – it is louder and lasts longer. It sounds as if 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 and trap the waste that flows down your drains, thereby releasing an odour that is frequently described as resembling a sulphurous stench or a rotten egg’s smell.

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.

Backyard With Trees

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 clear 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. Sinkholes In The Yard

When tree roots enter the pipes and prevent the flow of water, 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 the development of 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 therefore, by the time it does, your pipes are already damaged beyond repair.

Hence, we recommend calling a plumber to deal with the issue and keep an eye out for its recurrence.

Sinkhole In Backyard

6. 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. Therefore, they get entangled in the roots and block the pipe, thus interrupting the smooth flow of water.

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, and you will soon be in a very messy situation – quite literally.

How To Avoid Tree Root Invasion?

While 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 tree roots:

1. Install Root Barriers

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

2. Routine Maintenance

It’s imperative that you 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.

However, 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. However, avoid tampering with your plumbing system or endlessly digging or chopping the tree roots, as you might create more problems instead of solving the current one.

In case you notice any signs of a blockage in the plumbing system, get in touch with a professional plumber. 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!