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Do you dream of a comfortable yard filled with mature shade trees in the summer and a show of foliage in the fall? Trees are a beautiful addition to your home’s landscape. But as with many things in life, keeping trees comes with a price—in this case, occasional maintenance costs. You probably know the importance of keeping branches trimmed away from your roof. But did you also know that root growth can spell (expensive!) trouble for your home’s basement plumbing if left unchecked?\n\n
Do you dream of a comfortable yard filled with mature shade trees in the summer and
a show of foliage in the fall? Trees are a beautiful addition to your home’s landscape.
But as with many things in life, keeping trees comes with a price—in this case,
occasional maintenance costs. You probably know the importance of keeping
branches trimmed away from your roof. But did you also know that root growth can
spell (expensive!) trouble for your home’s basement plumbing if left unchecked?
Why tree roots cause problems for pipes
Plants need organic nutrients to thrive, and a tree’s thin feeder roots seek these
nutrients out. To a tree, your home’s underground sewer line is essentially a highway
of, um, fertilizer. If your pipe has even a small leak, feeder roots from nearby trees
may detect this weak spot and deliberately grow into any holes or gaps in the pipes.
These hair-like roots can run along the interior of the pipe, and eventually multiply to
the point of blocking your pipe completely. Root hairs may also grow into drain pipes
or water mains in search of a drink. This process speeds up during the winter months
if the tree does not receive the same amount of moisture it does in the summer. Root
invasion is especially common for older pipes that are made of clay or concrete and
have more cracks (and therefore more entry points).. PVC pipes tend to be more
watertight and therefore less likely to attract roots.
Signs of a root clog in a sewer or drain line
Frequent, unexplained clogs in toilets, tubs, or sinks
Frequent toilet backups
Water draining slowly from the tub or sink
Signs of a root clog in a main water line
Gradual drop in the amount of water available
Low water pressure
Gurgling or banging sounds
Signs of a major breach in your water or sewer line
At times, the tree roots may eventually crack or crush the pipe, leading to a whole new
set of problems:
Sudden drop of water available.
Sudden dip in water pressure
Sudden increase in water bills despite normal water usage
Puddles of water (or … other stuff) in your yard
An offensive odor in your yard or basement
Preventing plumbing problems due to tree roots
Of course the easiest solution would just be to not have trees in your yard—but many
homeowners would miss the beauty they provide. Here are a few things you can do to
keep your pipes thriving even in a thoroughly landscaped yard:
Be sure to fertilize and water plants regularly so they don’t get desperate for
other sources of nutrients.
When planting new trees or shrubs, find out where your sewer and water lines
are (call 811) and avoid planting around these.
Avoid planting trees with particularly aggressive root systems, such as oaks,
holly, and willows.
If your pipes are older than a decade or so, have them checked for problems
and replaced if needed.
If you notice any of the draining problems mentioned above, have
an experienced plumber diagnose the problem sooner rather than later.
Be proactive with your plumbing
If you suspect you have a problem with tree roots interfering with your plumbing
system, one of our technicians can come get a first-hand look at the problem. Using a
specialized camera that can run through your water line, we’ll be able to tell if roots
are growing inside of your pipe or otherwise distorting or blocking it. Once we know
the problem, we can recommend a solution. And if we do find an issue and need to
replace your pipes, we may not even have to dig up much of your landscaping in order
to do it, thanks to our minimally invasive trenchless drain replacement method.
Ready to be proactive with your home’s plumbing? Give Ken’s a call at (864) 242-
5511, or click below to contact us online.