Tree roots love pipes. That’s because they provide oxygen, nutrients, and water: these are all things that roots are constantly seeking out in order to thrive. Vapor escapes from the pipes to the surrounding soil, and roots gravitate to that moisture. The roots are smart, too: they’ll look for cracks and small holes to get into, then start growing. The crack then widens, worsening the situation.
Once the roots get inside, the roots will keep growing at an alarming rate, blocking the line as it collects waste and toilet paper. This is an expensive proposition to homeowners, who are now faced with fixing this situation to the tunes of hundreds of dollars or more.
But there are ways you can protect your plumbing system from those pesky tree roots.
Use an Auger
You can use a mechanical auger from the inside to try and remove the roots. This device has a rotating spiral head that can be snaked into your pipes, cutting the roots that are infiltrating your pipes. This is the most affordable option for homeowners, but it’s not always the most effective. It may shear the roots at first, but they will just grow back and you will have to keep doing it.
Chemicals like copper sulfate crystals can help to kill tree roots without doing damage to the actual tree. You can pick them up at most garden supply, hardware or home improvement stores. Pour about a half a cup of this into your toilet and flush. This will keep roots from getting into your pipe and surrounding soil, as they will die before they can get too far.
Use a Hydro Jetter
This is a more expensive proposition but it’s fairly effective. This is a machine that sends high pressure water into your pipes, pushing out the offending roots by sheer force. Some machines have a spiral head similar to an auger. The roots are blasted out and cut at the same time. However, like the auger suggestion above, the roots will come back and you will have to do it all over again. One idea is to use a hydro jetter first and then flush the chemical solution down the toilet for a double whammy approach.
Dig Up the Roots
This is an expensive, time consuming and very messy option but often the most effective. This should be your last resort, and only done when the pipes have been damaged beyond repair. Your plumbing professional should first do a video camera sewer inspection to see where the worst of the damage lies. This will give you a good idea of where to dig in a concentrated area. As the pipes are being replaced, tree roots can be physically removed at the same time.
Contact L&P Plumbing LLC
If your tree roots are strangling your pipes and you are suffering many clogs and blockages, contact us at 512-768-6973 for a free quote and consultation.