Everything You Need to Know About Tree Roots and Sewer Lines

Tree Roots and Sewer Lines in Scottsdale, AZ

Backups within our drainage and sewer systems cause messy inconveniences in the house. When they do, you can be overwhelmed trying to figure out the possible cause. It’s at these times that you begin to speculate on the possible things that might have been flushed down the drain, but you might be oblivious to the possibility of drainage issues that happen outside of your home’s interior plumbing system. Tree roots are a common cause of clogs and leaks in your sewer system. At Zest Plumbing & Drain, we specialize in offering a full range of plumbing services in the Phoenix metro area, including tree root removal for systems that have been damaged due to root infiltration.

Tree root infiltration not only destroys your plumbing, but it also creates leaks that pose a significant threat to your property. Large leaks that continue for a considerable amount of time could lead to the oversaturation of your home’s foundation. In extreme cases, major leaks can even cause your home to gradually sink. To avoid the slew of costs that could be set in motion by tree root infiltration within the sewer line, it’s paramount to identify and prevent them from getting there in the first place. The following guide covers how to prevent tree root infiltration, the signs that you’re dealing with this problem, and what you can do to fix the issue after it’s occurred.

How to Prevent Root Infiltration

Know Where Your Sewer Line Is

It’s important to know where your plumbing is situated as it helps you decide the best place to plant trees. Trees should be planted away from the direction of the sewer line to avoid future plumbing problems.

In cases where there isn’t any other available space, you should opt for a slow-growing tree species and possibly one that just grows to 20 feet tall. Preferable examples of such are the common fig, eastern redbud, and Japanese maple. Once you get the sewer line information, you can also use it to identify trees that were previously planted close to the drainage system and possibly have them cut down to minimize infiltration problems.

Create a Barrier

If there is sufficient space between the identified sewer line and the growing trees, creating a barrier between the two is an ideal defense against possible future infiltration. The advantage of the barrier is that you get to keep your trees for shade purposes while preserving the integrity of your sewer system.

Some practical barriers include metal and wood frames planted vertically into the ground adjacent to the pipes to prevent the roots from growing into them. The spreading of chemicals around the sewer pipes is an add-on that can cause roots to grow in the opposite direction of the pipes, thereby inhibiting root infiltration.

Signs of Tree Root Infiltration

While you should not try to perform the work of a plumber, there are some signs that you can watch for that will tell you that you may have roots infiltrating the sewer system. If you notice any of the following signs, reach out to a qualified company like Zest Plumbing & Drain in Phoenix. We can locate the site of the infiltration and fix the issue to help you avoid future problems.

Slow Drains

Often, kitchen and bathroom drains will take ages to clear whenever there is a root infiltration problem within your sewer line. The most likely reason is due to a root clogging the pipe and causing slow drainage. When this issue occurs, avoid the temptation to use chemical drain cleaners in an attempt to fix the problem. These chemicals will do nothing to fix the issue, and they can even cause more damage to your pipes if the blockage is severe.

Drain Backups

In many cases, larger clogs that result from root infiltration are the cause of backed-up drains. When roots get into the sewer line, they prevent the flow of water and can eventually lead to sewer backing up into the home. Of course, this causes a messy and unsafe situation that requires expert help.

Bad Smells

If the smells emanating from your drains become very foul, you are likely facing a very serious clog in your pipes that prevents the efficient flow of water. Even worse, the stagnated water begins to experience decomposition of the waste material, thus producing strong foul smells. Roots are known to cause severe blockages that can’t be eliminated by the conventional suction method.

Sinkholes on the Property

When roots infiltrate the sewer line, water leaking into the ground can oversaturate sections of your yard. When areas become heavily soiled, sections of ground can sink, creating damp and mushy indentations or even dangerous sinkholes. Repairing the damaged line will stop the leaking, and then you can restore the sunken areas.

Extra Green Areas

While having an extra green yard is usually a good thing, it could also be a sign that you have sewer line issues. This is particularly the case when only certain areas of your yard are vibrantly green. Leaking sewer lines will release biological material that acts as fertilizer. When you notice unexplained green patches on the lawn or areas with grass that grows more quickly than other spots, you may want to schedule a sewer line inspection.

How to Identify Tree Root Infiltration

Identifying root infiltration requires professional sewer line inspection. Sewer line inspection involves guiding a CCTV camera attached to an optic cable down the length of the affected pipe as it records the internal state of the drain system and relays the results to a real-time monitor. Camera inspections are effective in identifying clogs, root infiltration, and even leaks without having to dig up your yard. After the inspection, a plumber will create a plan and discuss ways to remedy the issue.

How to Remove Roots From Sewer Lines

Once it has been determined that roots have indeed infiltrated your sewer line, there are several methods that a plumber may use to remedy the issue. One common tool used to clear sewer lines is a mechanical auger. An auger is directed down the pipe where it chops up the roots. The pipe is then flushed to clear away the waste.

Hydro jetting is another common method for clearing pipes. This method uses a high-pressurized water system to perform the task of an auger. Hydro jetting is strong enough to disintegrate the roots. It is a cost-effective, non-invasive drain cleaning technique

In instances where the pipe is damaged beyond repair, it calls for pipe adjustment or replacement. If the pipes are not completely replaced, a pipe sleeve can be installed to prevent future infiltrations. If your pipes are old, replacing them is probably the wiser option. Newer pipes are much stronger and will provide added protection against future root infiltration.

At Zest Plumbing & Drain, we have a strong reputation for providing high-quality plumbing services in the Phoenix metro area. In addition to inspecting and fixing sewer lines, we offer indoor pipe repair and replacement, slab leak repairs, and water heater services. Contact us today at   (480) 588-3710   to learn more about our services or schedule an appointment.

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