How Tree Roots Cause Sewer Blockages

Trees are beautiful and can make a yard look gorgeous, but trees planted too close to water pipes can become a nightmare.

When tree roots get into the pipes, they can lead to sewer blockages, backups, and huge repair bills. As a homeowner, you’re responsible for the pipes (usually referred to as the sewer laterals) that go from your home to the city sewage system. Unfortunately, that means you have to deal with any damage done by tree roots.

The Problem with Tree Roots

Tree roots are incredibly strong, and given time, they can break through metal and PVC pipes.

In fact, they’re actually attracted to water pipes. The warm water in the pipes creates vapor and this vapor leaks out into the soil around the pipe through a loose joint or a small crack. Tree roots are attracted to the vapors, and once they reach the pipe, they break through the crack and begin absorbing the nutrient-rich waters inside.

The roots keep growing, and eventually they will completely stop up the pipe. Toilet paper, hair, dirt, and anything else put down the drain will get caught on these roots, making the blockage larger.

Eventually, the entire system will be stopped up.

Seeing the Problem Indicators

One of the first signs of a sewer blockage is a slowly draining system.

The shower or sink may start to take much longer to drain, and even after cleaning out the drains, water still sits for a few minutes. If you’ve cleared out the drain inside the house and are still having problems, it’s a good sign you’ve got a sewer blockage. If the problem goes unfound, eventually, you’ll find water backing up into your home.

This can cause terrible water damage or even lead to the pipes bursting.

On the other hand, you may notice the issues with drainage suddenly disappearing one day. After this happens, you will often find the ground around your sewer laterals has become very wet even though it hasn’t rained.

This means your sewer laterals are now draining out into your yard. The pipes have completely collapsed.

When this occurs, you’ve got a major task on your hands—the entire sewer lateral will most likely have to be dug up and replaced. This is especially true if the roots are widespread or if the pipes are very old.

Even if you don’t have to replace the entire lateral, you’ll have to dig up the area where the roots have damaged the pipes and replace that section. Either way, it’s an expensive proposition, but it’s one that you won’t be able to put off.

Getting Out from Under Water

When tree roots cause a sewer blockage and water damages your home, you’ll very likely need water damage dry out services to handle both removing the water and then drying out the floors, walls, and everything else that got wet.

This is because it can often be difficult to tell just how extensive water damage is, and without the assistance of speedy professionals, you may find out years later that water got into a wall that appeared dry on the outside. This leads to mold growing in that wall to deal with.

If you have water, and you’re not sure how it got into your home, give our water damage experts a call at Active Restoration. We’ll not only be able to figure out the issue, but help you clean up the mess the water leaves behind.

Written by Elise
on December 15, 2014