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  • Writer's pictureHandsome Hank

Tree Roots: and How to Deal with Them.

Doug pulling tree roots from a basement toilet drain.
Doug pulling tree roots from a basement toilet drain.

If you live in a house and you have a tree on your front lawn, chances are that tree is trying to 'get into' your sewer pipe. Trees are thirsty plants and they are always seeking a source of water and nutrients. They are relentless once they find a source and when it gets in there is no stopping it from growing and absorbing nutrients in your water and sewer. The roots will grow into a net that stops up drains. The roots will slow down liquid or catch solids before they get to the city sewer causing clogs. Effluent (a fancy word for liquid waste or sewage) will back up into floor drains and could cost a lot of damage to finished basements and flooring.

If your house was built in the 50's or earlier, you probably have clay sewer pipes. Clay pipes are usually 3' sections and are connected by rubber clamps. The roots are able to squeeze through the clamps and start growing inside your sewer. What's the solution? We have a few for you that vary in time and price to think about.

Replace the sewer.

Replacing the sewer is just like it sounds. You may have to dig up your lawn and replace some or all of your existing sewer, usually with PVC or another better sealing type of pipe that will keep tree roots from leaching in. While this is a messy and more expensive solution, it's a life long solution, not a patch. And a good opportunity to update your landscaping (gardens) or hardscaping (man made features such as walkways, interlock, stamped concrete, etc.) while you're at it.

Line the sewer.

There are a few companies that will come and put a 'Liner' inside your existing building's sewer. It is a one piece 'sock' that completely lines the interior of your sewer lines and seals the interior of your sewer pipes. The pros of this option are that is creates far less mess since you don't have to dig up your lawn. That is also a big deal if your sewer pipes run under existing landscaping or hardscaping that you already have in place and have spent your hard earned money on. Another pro is that it lasts approximately 15 years. So while it's not a permanent solution, it might buy you enough time until you are ready to dig up your lawn, gardens, etc. A con to this is that it doesn't correct any broken or misaligned sections of pipe that may have shifted over the years.

Regular sewer clearing.

The tree roots in the sewer can be cut and removed with a powerful mechanical auger. It is a quick temporary fix with no guarantees how long it will last. The tree roots have already found their way into the pipes. Cutting them off on the inside is great for a short time, but they will quickly re-invade and clog up the pipes again. It is really an inexpensive patch to a much bigger problem. This will have to be done regularly and how often is anybody guess. That depends on many factors like the type and size of tree and how many trees you have that may be invading your sewer lines.

Bottom Line.

There is no permanent quick fix for this problem unfortunately but there are different options for everyone's budget and time frame. We hope this helps you decide what you need before moving forward with whatever decision you make about your tree root clogs.

'Time spent on hiring, is time well spent. -Rober Half.

Through consistent improvement and upright intentions, we strive to forge lifelong relationships which benefit our community.- Megan-Drew Plumbing.

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