This guide is focused on foaming root killer vs. copper sulfate.

We can categorize most root killers into two; foaming root killers and copper sulfate. While both categories help kill roots in sewer lines, there are vital differences we’ll be focusing on.

Foaming Root Killer and Copper Sulfate Comparison

Tree roots sometimes affect plumbing installations or lines, which can be invasive and interrupt normal functioning.

This is especially true when such plumbing lines are cracked. Part of the intervention made by plumbers is the application of root killers. These are chemical compounds that help eliminate invading roots.

Some common root killers used in drain lines include copper sulfate, RootX foaming, K-77 root killer, etc.

About Root Killers

Whether you’re using foamy root killers or copper sulfate to get rid of roots in sewer lines, one necessary thing is the need to understand how they work.

With this knowledge, you’re able to apply these products better.

For foamy root killers to be effective, they will require a cleaning period of around two days to a week. The system threading must be specific for effective cleaning to be possible.

It takes a more extended period to eliminate roots in sewer lines using copper sulfate.

This slow action may last anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks for clearing to be complete. Both foamy root killer and copper sulfate serve the purpose of eliminating roots from drain lines.

However, these may have varying effects regarding the result and treatment duration required.

  • Foaming Root Killer

This foam-based root killer contains Dichlobenil as one of its active agents.

This is responsible for killing roots within the sewer line. Foaming root killer does well in the presence of water. This is required to create foams that fill the pipe and come in contact with roots.

The foam must make contact with these roots to destroy them effectively. Enough flow of water and this root killer is needed to have any natural effect.

  • Copper Sulfate

This inorganic product is made from copper and sulfur and kills roots, snails, bacteria, plants, and fungi. To avoid toxicity, there must be a balance between its constituent chemicals (copper and sulfur).

Unlike foaming root killers, copper sulfate doesn’t form. Nevertheless, it must make direct contact with roots to kill them.

Differences Between Foaming Root Killer and Copper Sulfate

We will use different parameters when making critical comparisons between these root killers. They include price, efficiency, safety, ingredients, and reaction.

These factors combined to give a fair idea of what product to purchase.

i. Price

Price forms a vital part of decision-making for many buyers. When shopping for a root killer, you want a reasonably-priced product that does the work it was meant for.

Foaming root killer tends to cost more compared to copper sulfate. This can be attributed to the fast action or solution it provides.

For many buyers, this wouldn’t be a deal-breaker as the value derived tends to be all that matters. Speaking of cost, foaming root killer sells for around $19 to $23, while copper sulfate sells for about $18.

Let’s proceed to the other points to highlight the differences between the two root killers.

ii. Efficiency

Efficiency is a crucial factor when shopping for root killers. In comparing foaming root killer to copper sulfate, the efficiency tends to favor foaming root killer mostly.

In other words, foaming root killer is more efficient than copper sulfate.

This is measured by the lesser time taken for foaming root killers to get the job done. While both will kill roots, foaming root killers will take less time to complete the task.

Apart from the time taken, copper sulfate tends to be more harmful to the drain line.

No homeowner wants a highly corrosive root killer that destroys their sewer lines. Based on this reality, foaming root killer is the most preferred due to its safety.

However, for a foaming root killer to be effective, it must be used as the manufacturer instructed.

iii. Safety

While eliminating roots in sewer lines, there’s a need to avoid damaging the pipes by using non-corrosive chemicals.

Foaming root killers are designed to be entirely safe for drain lines as they have no corrosive effect. However, the opposite is true for copper sulfate.

Whether your pipes are made from plastic, chrome, brass, or iron doesn’t matter. It will eventually take its toll when constantly used in large amounts.

In a nutshell, copper sulfate is corrosive and shouldn’t be used as a root killer. You’ll do well to go with the safer option (foaming root killer).

iv. Ingredients

Purchase decisions are shaped by the ingredients contained within products. For foaming root killers, dichlobenil is the main component or active ingredient.

There are other constituent ingredients as well. On the other hand, copper sulfate contains sulfuric acid and copper compounds, hence its corrosive nature.

v. Reaction

The resulting reaction from using root killers determines how effectively they fix the problem. As the name suggests, foaming root killer has a fizzy reaction when in contact with water.

This reaction allows the product to fill up the pipe, thus reaching every area within which it can come in contact with roots.

As a result, a better effect is observed as encroaching roots are killed or dried out.

On the other hand, copper sulfate doesn’t have the same foamy action as foaming root killer. It turns into heavy metal when in contact with water.

Plus, it stays at the bottom of the pipe, which makes it likely to be washed out by water before it has a chance to get the job done.

How long does it take copper sulfate to dissolve roots? You should see results in 2-15 days.

Foaming Root Killer vs. Copper Sulfate Root Killer: Summary

These are two of the most popular root killers you can find. They both work very well to kill roots fast.

Many users have sung praises for their root-killing ability while pointing out their downsides.

Pros of Foaming Root Killer

  • It works very fast
  • It is safe to use
  • It does not damage pipes or septic tanks
  • It coats the inner layers of pipes to prevent roots from growing in

Cons of Foaming Root Killer

  • It is more expensive than copper sulfate root killer

Pros of copper sulfate root killer

  • It is fast and effective
  • It works quickly
  • It is cheaper than foaming root killer

Cons of copper sulfate root killer

  • Due to its acidic nature, it erodes pipes
  • It kills septic bacteria

In modern times, more and more people are leaning towards foaming root killers to solve all their pipe congestion problems. This is for a good reason too.

It does not erode pipes and is very safe, unlike copper sulfate root killer, which can damage your pipes.

Even though the foaming root killer costs more per bottle, it will save you money in the long run since it will not damage your pipes or tanks.

Copper sulfate remains a viable option if you have plastic pipes, as most people do since some plastic pipes can resist their erosive nature.

I recommend the foaming root killer.

With the comparisons above, you can judge which of these root killers will best serve your needs.

Foaming root killers do a better job of eliminating roots in sewer lines. If in doubt, consider discussing your needs with a plumber.

There you have it! Making the right pick for your root problems is necessary to have the desired outcome. We’ve mentioned vital areas where both products differ.

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