How to Protect Your Plumbing from Tree Roots
Tree roots can create quite a problem for pipes. Roots are drawn to pipes because they contain water, oxygen, and nutrients, all the things a tree needs. The roots of a tree will seek out any hole or crack in a pipe, and expand, causing even more damage to the pipe, and your plumbing. As the root continues to grow in the pipe, it’ll collect toilet paper, waste, and whatever else is going through your pipes, creating large clogs. At some point, the clogs will completely block the line, and create a real mess that’s costly to fix.
Fortunately for homeowners, there are ways to limit the damage a tree can do to your pipe system. Here are some of the ways you can protect your pipes.
This is one of the more expensive options, as it’s a machine that sends a stream of highly-pressurized water into your pipes. The nozzle may even contain a spiral tip, which also works to dislodge clogs. The roots will be blasted out of your pipes, but, like the auger, it’s not a permanent solution. Combining the hydro jetter with chemicals may be enough to keep the roots from coming back.
Use an Auger
An auger is a plumbing device with a spinning head that works its way into pipes, clearing out debris and tree roots that may have taken up residence within the pipes. While it’s an affordable solution, it doesn’t fix the issue permanently. The roots it clears out will eventually grow back, and probably take up space in your pipes again at some point. You may have to use the auger every few years, until either the tree dies or the auger dies.
One way to remove roots without harming the tree itself is to use copper sulfate crystals. These are available at most gardening stores, and essentially are dumped into the toilet, where they’ll continue on into the plumbing line where a tree has taken up roots. The crystals are toxic, however, so make sure you take precautions if you choose to go this route. RootX is another chemical that can be used through the toilet. Both chemicals poison the pipe and surrounding soil for tree roots, killing off the roots before they reach the pipe. If you do end up calling a plumber, it’s important to let them know that you used chemicals in the line.
Dig Up The Roots
This may be your last option, as it’s labor intensive, and time consuming. It’s also usually only done if the pipes are damaged beyond repair, and need to be replaced. A professional plumber will be able to view the insides of the pipe with a camera, and show you how much damage there is. On the plus side, doing things this way will remove the roots for good.