How To Clear Tree Roots in Sewer Line And Drain Pipes

Here is how to get roots out of drain pipes and sewer lines.

Sewer lines are easy targets for invasive tree roots due to the moisture and rich nutrients contained in wastewater flowing through the pipes.

We will be looking at how to deal with roots growing into sewer lines.

Tree Roots In Sewer Line Options

When these roots find their way in, they hinder the normal functioning of sewer lines leading to general malfunction. Such a problem becomes evident from the multiple symptoms that result.

Here, our focus is on fixing this problem. We’ve discussed the different ways to clear tree roots in sewer lines. This procedure isn’t complex and can be handled in several ways, as you’ll find below.

You only need to read on to learn these essential tips.

Removing Roots from Drain Pipes

As trees grow, their roots travel way beyond their immediate vicinity in search of moisture and nutrients.

While this may sound harmless, they cause many problems for underground installations like drain pipes. This is especially true for trees with invasive roots.

When tree roots reach drainage pipes and find their way in, they rapidly spread to capture as many nutrients as possible.

This situation results in wastewater flowing much slower than it would have in the absence of tree root ingress. Finding a solution will require clearing these roots from your drain pipe.

Signs of Roots in Drain Pipes and Sewer Lines

Because drainpipes are mostly buried underground, it becomes difficult to figure out what the issue is until it worsens quickly. However, there are sure signs to look out for.

Tree roots in sewer lines bring up many symptoms that generally affect the normal functioning of a sewer line.

The severity of the problem determines what’s observed. Common symptoms caused by tree roots in sewer lines include toilet backup, slow drainage, and sewer odors.

Others include puddles in the yard, sinkholes, weak water pressure, and clogged drains. These signs will likely become evident when dealing with tree roots in the sewer line.

These signs also include the appearance of contaminated puddles, slow-running drains, awful odors, gurgling toilets, sinkholes, and sewer backup. Any or all of these signs point to the possibility of root presence in drain pipes.

Let’s have a look at each symptom.

For more details on what plays out with each of these, let’s briefly take a look.

  • Toilet Backup

Toilet backup is one unpleasant situation you’ll likely encounter when tree roots get into your sewer lines. Here, the growing roots hinder the free flow of wastewater down the sewer line.

This mostly happens when the problem is advanced. Your toilet(s) become unusable till the problem is fixed.

  • Slow Drainage

Before your sewer and drain lines get clogged, slow draining of toilets, sinks, and bathtubs are noticed. Most times, little attention is paid to this sign until it worsens.

Here, the tree roots within the pipe partially obstruct the free flow of wastewater hence the slow drainage problem.

  • Sewer Odors

Awful sewer odors are likely to be perceived around your home when the growth of tree roots in sewer lines reaches an advanced stage.

This arises from the breached drain line and wastewater, likely to escape from cracks created by tree roots.

  • Puddles in Yard

The wastewater leaking from damaged sewer lines will likely result in a puddle forming in your yard.

This has a nasty odor and will cause grasses around affected areas to be lush or greener than in surrounding regions. Here, further investigation is needed to fix the problem.

  • Sinkholes

Due to continuous leaks from damaged sewer lines due to tree root penetration will likely find sinkholes at different points within your yard.

This arises from the gradual but continuous leakage of water that enters underground passages, thus resulting in a depression at the surface.

  • Weak Water Pressure

A drop in water pressure is likely to be noticed as tree roots slowly expand within the sewer line. You may not see this symptom immediately.

It might only become evident after some time. You need help finding the cause of weak water pressure. Tree roots might breach your sewer lines.

  • Clogged Drains

This is usually the advanced stage of tree root growth in sewer lines.

Because these roots proliferate within sewer lines, they completely block the passage of wastewater. Fixing this problem will require significant intervention, including damaged pipe replacement.

Clearing Roots from Drain Pipes

You must clear roots to restore drainpipes to normal functioning and fix the cracked or damaged pipes. There are multiple ways to carry out such repairs.

Before we get into these, it’s necessary to state the importance of having a licensed professional handle the job.

Ways of clearing roots from drain pipes include digging up tree roots, mechanically cutting away roots, the use of copper sulfate, hydro-jetting, chemical extraction, and salt treatment.

Let’s find out what these processes are about.

  • Digging up Tree Roots

Before tree roots are dug up, a video examination of the drain pipe interior is necessary. This helps identify where to carry out the root clearing process.

Having identified where to start the dig-up, the area is dug, and the root is cut back. However, there’s no assurance that this will serve the long term.

That is because regrowth may have been stimulated by such action. When a professional is involved, they know what needs to be done to prevent further regrowth.

  • Mechanically Cutting Away Roots

The mechanical process of cutting tree roots from a drain pipe is pretty straightforward.

Tools such as mechanical auger will help perform this task. Like digging up tree roots, the need to cut these is to prevent future root ingress into drain pipes.

  • Use of Copper Sulfate

This is a DIY measure to kill tree roots within your drain pipes.

This is best used when the problem is at its earliest stage before much damage is done to the pipe. The problem is that it’s challenging to know when the issue is developing.

You’ll need about half a cup of this herbicide for treatment. Pour down your toilet and flush until everything disappears. This method isn’t ideal for persons with septic systems.

  • Hydro-Jetting

A skilled plumber best performs the hydro-jetting method.

Affected sections of the drain pipe are first inspected before a snake is used to rip off any roots, causing a slowdown of the drain pipe.

Next, hydro-jetting is performed to clear up the clog and free up the pipe. You may need further repairs for damaged pipes.

  • Chemical Root Extraction

Pros also deploy the chemical extraction method to remove roots from drain pipes. Treatments may be ongoing and require pouring down certain chemicals and flushing the toilet.

This reacts by killing roots and preventing future growth.

  • Salt Treatment

The salt treatment option can be done as a DIY measure of root clearing. It involves pouring down certain salts like rock salt and copper sulfate.

You may do this periodically until all roots are killed and the pipe is clear. A cracked drainpipe will have to be fixed to ensure smooth functioning.

These are different ways to clear roots from drain pipes. The job requires the help of a pro to provide far-reaching solutions.

What Dissolves Tree Roots in Sewer Lines?

Killing tree roots in sewer lines can be done in many ways.

Some of the most popular procedures include water jetting, rock salt, foaming root killers, copper sulfate, professional removal of tree roots, and prevention strategy.

Let’s discuss each of these methods.

  • Water Jetting

Water jetting is a popular technique for clearing tree roots and debris from sewer lines.

This procedure uses highly pressurized water released from a high-pressure hose with a nozzle. The nozzle is inserted into the sewer line to flush out any roots, thus freeing up your pipes.

If this procedure sounds appealing, you might want to invest in a water jetting machine. Another alternative is to hire the equipment.

A significant skill is needed to apply the water jetting procedure properly.

  • Rock Salt

Another way to clear tree roots from your sewer line is the application of rock salt.

This process works by dehydrating tree roots, thus killing them eventually. First, you’ll need to get your rock salt. About two pounds will be sufficient to get the job done.

Half-pound applications need to be made until the product is exhausted. Pour the first amount (half a pound) down the drain. This process should be repeated until the last is applied.

None should be allowed to remain in the toilet bowl. The toilet must be unused for 8 to 12 hours for rock salt to take full effect.

  • Foaming Root Killers

Foaming root killers do a terrific job of clearing your sewer lines of tree roots.

There are varying types with different application procedures. Some top foaming root killer products include Roebic Foaming Root Killer and ROOTX Intrusion Solution.

  • Copper Sulfate

You can also apply copper sulfate treatment to help clear your sewer lines of tree roots. With this product, you only need about half a cup.

This should be poured down your toilet and flushed until it disappears. Like other products discussed above, copper sulfate kills any roots within your sewer line.

  • Calling a Pro

DIY techniques for clearing tree roots might not be as effective as expected hence the need for professional treatment.

Professionals help provide comprehensive results through the adoption of many treatment options. The extent of growth and spread determines the root removal option.

  • Preventive Control

Preventive control is a more comprehensive way that saves you a lot of stress. As the name suggests, it prevents the problem from developing in the first place.

This method requires regular sewer line inspection. Here, old pipes are replaced in addition to planting slow-growing trees around your yard.

These are the different ways to get tree roots out of sewer lines. You can adapt the approaches mentioned to resolve your sewer line blockage.

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