How Tree Roots Are Affecting Your Pipes

Tree roots in pipes can lead to major plumbing problems.

The trees in your yard provide you with considerable shade while breaking the wind and adding value to your home.

But the roots of that tree could be disrupting your home’s plumbing system.

As they grow to a significant size, the roots that weave through the ground are capable of making their way into your pipes. In addition to prompting a few headaches now and then, the tree roots could also mean costly repairs.

The root of the problem:

Trees need water to grow —what better source of water than the pipes that connect to your home? As tree roots crave a water source, they will begin to grow closer to the pipes that carry water and could eventually carve their way inside the pipes.

Typically, clay pipes are more prone to root damage than PVC pipes, but any pipe with a loose joint or crack is an excellent source of moisture for a root to follow. As water escapes from the cracks, it will entice the roots to grow closer. Eventually, those water-seeking roots may puncture your pipes.

When tree roots enter the pipes, they can make a crack bigger, significantly damage the pipe, clog your drain altogether or cause a sewage leak. If that’s the case, it’s time to take immediate action as the roots will catch any grease or debris and create a large blockage. Not only is this costly to fix, it’s also bad for your health.

Warning signs and taking action:

Homeowners aren’t able to see the pipes that bring water into their homes, and often won’t realize a tree root problem is happening until after the fact.

There are a few warning signs, though, and paying close attention could minimize the problem. They include include slow-flowing drains, gurgling noises in the toilet and frequent clogs. Even if you think a recurring clog is related to the age of your toilet, it could be something much more extensive, such as a tree root blockage.

In order to avoid a call to the plumber, take a proactive approach. Before you do any planting in your yard, be sure you know where sewer lines are located. You might also consider using some sort of barrier or only planting trees with small roots in the area. If you don’t want to sacrifice that magnificent oak tree, place it as far from a sewer line as you can.

If you believe you may have a sewer or pipe issue, Benjamin Franklin Plumbing is here to help. Our punctual plumbers are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help you with your plumbing needs. We use the latest technology, such as video pipe inspection, in order to best solve your needs. Contact us today to learn more about how roots affect your pipes, or to schedule a service.


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