Drains and Root Intrusion
Did you know that tree roots can make their way into your drain system? They constantly seek water and will stretch out to find it. How do you know that a drain issue is caused by root intrusion?
What Is Root Intrusion?
Root intrusion is just that: tree roots that have made their way into the pipe(s) in your drain system. Some pipe materials are more susceptible to this than others:
- Clay Pipes: Installed in sections, clay pipes allow tree roots to find their way in through the connections, also called joints.
- Steel Pipes: Steel pipes are susceptible to corrosion which allows roots to infiltrate the drain system.
- Iron Pipes: Like steel, iron pipes are also susceptible to corrosion.
- Concrete Pipes: Roots can still penetrate concrete pipes, but the joints fit tighter together which results in less leak potential and less attraction for tree roots.
- PVC Pipes: PVC pipes usually have fewer and, like concrete pipes, more tightly fitted joints.
How To Identify Root Intrusion
There are a few different warning signs that indicate you have a problem:
- Slow and Smelly Drains: Slow drains are a common sign of a plumbing problem. Since there can be multiple reasons for this, slow drains combined with a foul odor is a telltale sign that the problem is coming from the sewer line. This is usually the result of tree root intrusion.
- Greener Patches In Your Yard: Water leaking from your sewer line can be identified by unusually green spots in your yard. Leaks are often caused by tree roots.
- Sinkholes: A sinkhole in your lawn is a serious warning sign. It usually indicates an advanced degree of damage to the pipe(s) which can also put the foundation of your house at risk.
- Back-Ups: A sure sign of a clogged mainline is sewer water coming out of your drains (toilets, bathtub, etc.). When this happens, call a professional plumber immediately. Tree roots can be the culprit.
What To Do If You Have A Problem
Root intrusion is not something that you should try to handle on your own. It’s best to call a professional plumber who can perform a camera inspection to find out what the actual cause is. If the issue is caused by roots, that section of pipe will then need to be removed and replaced.
How To Prevent Root Intrusion
To prevent root intrusion, check the area around your pipes regularly for unusually green patches. If you are renovating your yard, make sure that you plant all trees, bushes and shrubs away from your drain system. Another solution is using foaming root killer. If you use this last option, make sure you follow the directions closely.