How to Clear Tree Roots from Sewer Line

Although trees on the front lawn may add character to your property, they also have the power to wreak havoc on your underground plumbing system. Problems, such as leaks, can develop without you even realizing it, and small leaks can turn into big problems in a short period of time.

Healthy trees mean continuously growing roots. If the roots reach your sewer line, they’re strong enough to cut through the pipe, and can grow even more rapidly thanks to the moisture from the cracked pipe.

How To Detect Invasive Tree Roots

It’s harder to detect a leak in your sewer line, as the problem is underground. There are some ways, however, to determine if you’re dealing with a possible invasive root. Be aware of these warning signs that roots may have broken through your pipe:

  • Unexpected increase in water bill
  • Pooling of water or sewage in yard
  • Area of lawn or one tree growing more rapidly than rest
  • Low water pressure
  • Lawn constantly saturated

While you may suspect you have tree roots invading your sewer line, the only sure way to tell is by calling your local professional plumber and scheduling a sewer camera inspection. By inserting a waterproof camera into your plumbing system, the plumber can see in real time if tree roots have broken through your pipeline.

Avoid DIY Tree Root Removal Methods

Many homeowners attempt to kill tree roots with rock salt. While the salt is typically successful in stopping the growth of a tree root, flushing the crystalline form into your system can create a blockage. The liquid form of rock salt is generally not powerful enough to affect the roots and will simply wash down into the sewer. The best use for liquid salt rock is to utilize it as a preventative method to stop new roots from growing into your pipes once the sewer line is clear.

A foaming chemical root killer is another DIY method to rid pipes of root growth. However, this process can take months. Once the foam is applied, it takes an extended time for the roots to die, and even longer for the dead roots to be washed through the system into the sewer. While you wait for the foaming chemical to work, any hole or crack in the line may worsen.

Hire a professional plumber to remove any tree roots from your sewer line and make proper repairs to the pipe. Once the line is clear, use liquid salt rock and routine camera inspections as part of your preventative plumbing maintenance to stop new roots from invading the line.

Ignoring the issue or trying damaging DIY pipe cleaning methods allows for extensive damage to your entire system. Extend the life of your sewer line and avoid major repair costs with annual plumbing maintenance.

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