Tree Roots and Plumbing Problems
Most people enjoy the beauty and splendor of big, mature trees, especially when they provide a lot of shade during the hot summer months. As a child, or when you were a young adult and you rented your first house, you probably didn’t put much thought into the trees surrounding your home.
Back then, the trees were probably ornamental in your eyes, plus they provided some nice shade. Once you’re a homeowner, your views about trees can shift dramatically. Suddenly, you’ll be concerned about how close trees are located to sewer lines and whether thirsty tree roots are going to wreak havoc on your plumbing system and cost you thousands of dollars in repairs.
Sewer lines are a magnet for thirsty tree roots. After all, the pipes provide an ample supply of water and oxygen that the roots need to thrive. Once a root discovers a leaky pipe underground, the root will spring into action, growing into the pipe in its search of water and nutrients.
The problem is that when roots grow into plumbing pipes, they inhibit the flow of wastewater, which leads to blockages, clogs, broken pipes and other problems for the homeowner.
If you get a sewage leak, not only is it unsanitary, but it can even cause health problems among your household members. Another major concern for homeowners: tree roots can cause thousands of dollars of damage.
Tips for Preventing Costly Tree Root Problems
We have many tips when it comes to preventing tree root problems, some of which include:
- Know where your sewer lines are located. You can call the national 811 number, “Call Before You Dig” to find out where underground utilities are located. Or, you can call the local public works department. Whenever you’re doing any type of landscaping or planting of trees, it’s a good idea to learn where the underground pipes are buried before you start digging.
- There are different types of barriers that can be used to discourage root growth. These include metal and wood barriers, and slow-release chemicals. If you’re interested in these barriers, feel free to ask one of our professional plumbers for more information.
- Limit the number of plants that you place around the sewer lines.
- When you plant larger trees, make sure they’re far enough away from the sewer lines so the roots won’t be able to reach the underground pipes.
- If you decide to plant a tree near the sewer lines, we recommend talking to your landscaper about selecting a slow-growing species that has a naturally small root ball.
Know What to Look For
We would like all homeowners to know that drain clogs are inevitable, though many of them can definitely be prevented. If you have infrequent clogs, they may be easily solved by a plunger, a snake, or a Zip-It tool (bathroom sink clogs). However, if your drains are constantly clogging, it could mean you have a bigger problem.
Sewer line damage from thirsty tree roots can lead to slow-flowing drains, clogs, and overflowing. Sometimes they even create a gurgling noise that comes from inside the toilet.
If you’re experiencing any of these signs, call us so one of our Kansas City plumbers can inspect your pipes by running a camera through them. Once we finish the inspection, we’ll let you know if there is any tree root damage and we’ll make our recommendations.