Tree Root Damage Can be a Nasty Surprise

Occasionally we see homeowners who have experienced the misfortune of having tree roots in sewer line. Some wonder how it is even possible for such a thing to happen. Tree roots have one purpose in life: to find nutrients for the tree. Sewer lines carry material that is waste to us but quite good for tree growth – actually, it is a form of fertilizer. The tips of tree roots are very small but amazingly good at detecting nutrient sources and equally good at penetrating even the tiniest crack in a sewer line. Once inside the sewer line, the roots spread and grow, ultimately filling the pipe and causing a backup into the house and eventually destroying the sewer pipe.

What Are the Signs of Root Damage in The Drains?

The first signs that might indicate tree root damage are common to any form of drain blockage:

* Slow drainage from a shower or bathtub
* Gurgling noises when flushing toilets
* Wet areas around floor drains after doing laundry

Some trees are worse than others. Not all trees are the same when it comes to invading drain pipes.

The worst offenders, and those to avoid planting near sewer lines, are:

* Poplar
* Willow
* Elm
* Ash
* Birch

What About Drain Pipe Material?

Some types of sewer pipe are more susceptible to this type of damage than others. Clay tile pipe, commonly used until twenty years ago is the worst, with concrete a close second. PVC is much better as it has fewer joints, is more flexible and less likely to degrade.

Repairing Tree-damaged Drains

This is one of the most expensive drain cleaning problem homeowners face, so having drainage problems diagnosed and repaired promptly makes good sense. Some plumbers use root saws to cut away the invading roots and then do a high-pressure flush of the sewer lines. This is an emergency procedure only however, as cutting tree roots only encourages new growth, and the openings in the drain pipe are still there and likely larger than when the root invasion began.

Use of root-killing chemicals, such as copper sulphate or sodium hydroxide, is not recommended for environmental reasons. A foaming herbicide can be pumped into drain pipes however. This kills roots it comes into contact with and will inhibit new growth for a few years. If you have any problems like these call your best Kelowna plumber – Shamrocks Plumbing

A video camera inspection of the drain pipes is the recommended way to properly assess possible root damage. Depending on the extent of the damage, your options will be explained. Sometimes root extraction followed by application of an epoxy lining will do the job, but if the pipes are badly broken they have to be replaced. Costs can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand.

Shamrocks Plumbing and Heating
1325 Elwyn Rd
Kelowna BC, V1X 5M9
Ph: (250) 575-8138

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