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From A.B. May
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From A.B. May

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How to Get Rid of Tree Roots in Sewer Lines

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A common problem for Kansas City homeowners is tree roots in sewer line pipes. How do you know if you have tree roots inside your pipes? Let’s review some of the red flags and risks. Finally, we’ll cover the steps plumbers from A.B. May take to rid your pipes of tree roots.

What Causes Tree Roots in Sewer Lines

Plants need organic nutrients to thrive. A tree’s thin feeder roots seek these nutrients out. To a tree, your home’s underground sewer line is full of nutrients. If your pipe has even a small leak, feeder roots will find their way in. They will eventually grow and multiply and will block access completely. If a cracked pipe is not tended to, it can result in a huge mess and possible damage to your home. Next, we will look at the signs for tree roots in sewer line pipes and how to prevent damage.

Signs You May Have Tree Roots in Sewer Lines

While we can’t easily see the roots growing underground, we can detect root movement based on signs throughout your home. If you notice any of the following, it may be because a tree root is in the sewer line pipe and creating damage.

  • Slow Emptying Drains: Are drains in your home taking a long time to completely empty? This could detect a blockage that is delaying water from efficiently passing through. Take note of which drains are delayed so the plumber can quickly assess the situation.
  • Collapsed and Blocked Pipes: If your pipes aren’t draining at all, it is due to a tree root making its way into a sewer line pipe.  
  • Bad Odors: The most obvious sign there is something wrong with your sewer line is a smell. If you detect a strong stench in your home or yard, it is likely the result of a tree root making its way into the pipe.
  • Gurgling Sounds: If there is a blockage or crack in the sewer pipe, it will make it harder for the water to exit. Typically, you will hear a gurgling noise from the drain or pipes.
  • Frequent Toilet Backups: If your toilet is consistently having problems without an explanation, there is likely an issue in the sewer line pipe.
Signs of a major breach

Similarly, a tree root may create a large crack or crush in the pipe. If this happens, call A.B. May immediately. The sooner a plumber can solve the problem, the better off you and your home will be. Keep an eye out for these signs of a cracked or crushed pipe:

  • A sudden dip in water pressure
  • Banging sounds from your pipes
  • An unexpected increase in water bills without a change in usage
  • Puddles of sewage in your yard
  • A strong stench from the yard or home
How to Get Rid of Tree Roots in Sewer Lines
  • Traditional Trenching: This is the “open cut” or “trench” method. The technicians gain access to the sewer line by a powered sewer auger with a rotating spiral head. The spiral head works like a saw and will cut the roots and give them access to the damaged portion of the pipe. This method is effective but can create a disturbance to your yard or driveway because of the heavy machinery.
  • Pipe Bursting: This method does trenchless repairs, which causes less damage than traditional trenching. The technician creates small access points to the damaged area. The technician then uses a hydraulic machine to pull a full-sized replacement pipe through the old pipe, all while breaking up the damaged portion. While this method is more expensive, it may save you money in the long run by preserving your landscaping and driveway.
  • Rock Salt: A cup of rock salt flushed down a toilet every one to two months can kill tree roots encroaching on sewer lines. However, this can kill the tree over time. Consult with A.B. May and a local arborist to ensure this is safe for your plumbing and property.
How to Prevent Plumbing problems due to tree roots

In conclusion, there are several steps you can take to be proactive and prevent tree roots from growing into your sewer drain lines.

  • Fertilize and water plants regularly so they don’t look for nutrients in the pipes.
  • Lower sewer lines and avoid planting shrubs or bushes close to it.
  • Avoid planting trees with aggressive root systems, like oaks, holly, and willows, close to the sewer line.
Call A.B. May for Help with Tree Roots in Sewer Line Pipes

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