How to Protect Your Plumbing from Tree Roots

Tree roots can cause significant damage to your sewage system without you realizing something is terribly wrong. It is important to act quickly when tree roots penetrate into your plumbing, though preventing root issues is generally the most cost-effective course of action. This will help to minimize potential repair costs and protect your plumbing.
Understanding why tree roots damage your pipes, how to clear these roots from the pipes, and how to prevent them from penetrating the pipes in the first place can go a long way toward minimizing your plumbing related issues and expenses.

Why are Tree Roots a Threat?
As far as threats to your home go, tree roots are probably not at the top of your list. But tree roots grow towards the things they need to survive. Pipes are a nutrient oasis for tree roots because they contain oxygen, nutrients and water. These are things the roots naturally seek. Even if you do not have a leak in your plumbing, the pipe could release vapor that causes tree roots to grow near it. If the roots find a hole or crack in your plumbing, they will grow into it. Then, the root widens the pipe and causes more damage.
After a tree root gets into your pipes, it blocks anything that comes its way. As the blockage becomes impassable, your pipes can burst and leave you with an expensive mess. A sewer drain repair can be quite costly, and it is never a convenient proposition. Before you end up with no plumbing, take steps to protect your pipes from tree roots.

Signs of Roots Causing Damage to Your Sewer Lines and Pipes
There are a few tell-tale signs that something is not functioning properly in your sewage system and your home may have fallen victim to root invasion. Roots that are allowed to continue growing through your pipeline put you at risk for an expensive fix.

Bad Odor
Bad odor is probably the first and most obvious sign that something is not right with your plumbing system. When your sewage is clogged by tree roots, debris cannot move through and it will begin to build up. Over time, the debris will rot and foul odors will begin to permeate your home.
Sewer Flies
If your drain is blocked further down, water will struggle to drain from kitchen sinks and bathroom drains. Collected wastewater that is not filtering properly from your property will attract flies and you will start seeing them inside your home.
Toilet Drainage
You should never hear gurgling sounds coming from your toilet when flushing. Toilet water should flush down quickly and efficiently. If you notice that this is not the case, there is likely a blockage preventing the contents from passing through your pipes with ease.
Water Backups or Overflow
If you notice water gurgling back up towards your sink, do not ignore it and hope that it will eventually drain. But you also do not want to pour harmful chemicals down the drain in an attempt to dislodge the blockage as this could cause further damage to the integrity of your plumbing pipes.

Preventing Tree Roots in Plumbing Pipes
Prevention is the best method for dealing with potential root issues in your pipes. There are many steps that can be taken to help prevent root issues in your pipes. Knowing where your pipes are is the first step. Regular maintenance of your plumbing system can similarly help to prevent tree roots from penetrating into your plumbing system.
Determine Where Lines And Pipes Are Located

Before you plant any tree, bush, or shrub, make sure you have a complete understanding of the layout of your land. You can call your local utility company to learn where your cables, lines and pipes are buried before you ever start digging. This will ensure you plant your landscaping far enough away from the water and sewer lines to reduce problems in the future.
Plant Sewer-Safe Trees and Shrubs

Not every tree and shrub will make a perfect addition to your yard. If you are strategic about the plants and trees you select before you dig a hole in the ground, you can avoid root problems before they even occur. Limit the number of plants you place near sewer and water lines. Plant larger trees far enough from lines so roots are not within reach of the pipes. You can also select slow-growing trees that have a smaller root ball to ensure they do not reach out.
Know The Warning Signs

Clogs are pretty much inevitable in your home. But not all clogs are a sign of a potential problem farther down your pipes. If you have an infrequent clog, it most likely is caused by something you have done – too much food down the garbage disposal at one time, for instance. But if your drain clogs on a more frequent basis, it may be a sign of a bigger problem. Root damage often impacts one line on a regular basis, or you may notice more than one fixture impacted in your home. It can also cause your toilet to gurgle on occasion.
Maintenance

Rather than wait for a bigger problem, it is important to take action when you first notice an issue. If you hear a gurgling noise or have consistent problems with your plumbing, call in a plumber from Best Plumbing early to have the pipes and sewer lines inspected. If severe problems are found and removal of a tree is your only choice, we can help with that too.

How to Clear Roots from Drain Pipes
There are several methods that are implemented to clear roots from drain pipes after they have occurred. This will likely require the services of a professional to ensure it is done safely and properly.

Remove Tree Roots From Inside Using an Auger
One way to prevent tree roots from causing havoc with your plumbing is to use a mechanical auger. This is a device with a rotating spiral head which snakes down into your plumbing system, shearing the roots that have entered the circumference of the pipe. Unfortunately, this will not resolve the issue permanently. It cuts the roots, but it does not kill them, so the roots will simply grow back into the line which will be cause for another run with the mechanical auger.

Remove Using Chemicals
Copper sulfate crystals are a common way of killing tree roots without harming the tree itself. They can be purchased at garden supply stores. RootX is another chemical application which is applied into the toilet. Both these solutions protect the pipe by acting as a poison which makes the pipe and the surrounding soil around it off limits to tree roots, which die before reaching the pipe itself. If you end up needing to call a professional plumber, just be sure to let them know you have used chemicals.

Use a Hydro Jetter
One of the more expensive but thorough options is a hydro jetter. This machine streams high pressured water into your piping. Sometimes at the end of the nozzle is affixed a spiral tip. When both the force of the water as well as the metal wires work inside the pipe, the tree roots are sheared and pushed out of your plumbing system. However, you will have the same issue as when you use an auger: the problem repeats itself when the tree roots grow back. Having said that, using a hydro jetter and then applying a chemical solution above could be the perfect combination.

Dig Up the Roots
Digging up the roots is labor-intensive and long process that is likely to be your last option. This solution is usually only done if the pipes are too damaged to be fixed. In this case, the piping system would have to be replaced. Having said that, a professional can do a camera inspection of the system which will allow him and you an opportunity to see where the worst damage is, so that you do not have to dig up your entire yard. As part of replacing the pipes, the roots of the tree can also be removed once and for all.

Call the BEST Plumber for Drain Cleaning
Tree roots can cause an incredible amount of damage to plumbing. Preventing root issues is the best possible way to minimize this damage from occurring. However, when problems do occur, it will be exceedingly important to obtain the services of a professional plumber immediately. Emergency services can help to mitigate the total amount of damage that occurs to your pipes after tree roots have intruded into your pipes.
If you are having trouble with one or more of the above blocking your drains, call Best Plumbing Services at 951-788-1321 for professional drain cleaning methods. Located in Riverside, California we are family owned and operated with over 10 years of experience. We take pride in our service and expect each job to be completed as if it were our own home or business. Our Licensed Plumbers and Technicians will be professional, clean and polite.