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The Complicated Relationship Between Your Tree Roots and Sewer Lines

Tree roots love water. This property makes them very attracted to your underground sewer lines, which are full of rich nutrients and warm water. Unfortunately, your sewer lines do not love tree roots. The roots can be very damaging, causing clogged and damaged pipes throughout your property. This makes the relationship between tree roots and sewer lines very challenging.

When tree roots enter your Northwest Indiana sewer lines, many complications can arise. From plumbing problems to damaged yards, this issue can really wreak havoc on your property.

But, your sewer lines are underground…so how can you tell if roots have invaded your pipes? Well, we’re here to tell you exactly how to determine when you may have a root intrusion into your pipelines and what you can do about it. Let’s start by understanding how the roots get into your pipes in the first place.

How Do Roots Get Into The Pipes Anyway?

Most often, roots are attracted to cracked or damaged spots in the sewer pipes. This is because the nutrient-dense, moist, oxygen-rich waste may leak through these weak points, creating the ideal environment for tree growth.

Once the roots have entered the pipelines, the nutrient-rich environment allows the tree to rapidly grow. This can cause one small root to become many dense, tangled roots within your Northwest Indiana sewer line.

How Can You Tell If Roots Have Entered Your Sewer Lines?

Now you understand why tree roots enter your pipelines…but how can you tell from aboveground when this has happened? There are many ways to tell that you may be dealing with a pipeline root intrusion. These include:

Slow home drains

The telltale way to see that you have a blocked sewer line is that your Northwest Indiana home drains begin to move very slowly. This doesn’t always indicate a tree root intrusion specifically, as it could indicate a blockage anywhere in your pipeline system. However, when combined with other factors, this can clue you in that you may have tree roots entering into your sewer lines

Strange noises from your plumbing system

Another key factor in determining that you have a sewer line blockage is that you have strange noises coming from within your pipelines. This may surface as gurgling noises when you flush your toilet or run your shower. If there are noises other than that of running water, you may have a blocked pipe. Like the slowed draining, this may not indicate tree root intrusion alone, but other factors coupled with this one may be a good indication that trees are the root cause of your sewer line problem.

Sinkholes in your yard

When tree roots begin to grow inside of your pipelines, they can cause the pipe to fracture. This can result in massive leaks into your yard, and it can create sinkholes. These sinkholes will be direct lines to spilling sewage, meaning they will smell terrible and be a health hazard to anyone on your property. If you notice sinkholes in your Northwest Indiana yard, you may be facing a catastrophic sewer line failure.

Rapidly growing trees

Your sewer lines are packed full of everything a tree needs to grow – nutrients, oxygen, moisture. It’s truly the perfect environment for a tree root! (Besides the negative impact it has on your plumbing system, of course…) Because your pipes have large quantities of everything a tree needs to live, you may see a tree in your yard is suddenly growing and thriving more than your other trees. If this is the case, it’s possible roots may have entered your underground sewer lines.

What Can You Do About Root Intrusion In Your Pipelines?

You’ve identified there may be tree roots growing in your Northwest Indiana sewer lines. But, now what do you do? The best thing to do is to call a professional plumber. There are some techniques that homeowners can do without a plumber, but these have the potential to do more damage to your property. That’s why it’s always best to call in the professionals.

Using commercial chemicals can be hazardous. These chemicals (such as rock salt, foaming root killers, and copper sulfate) can cause:

  • Corrosion to your pipelines
  • Health hazards for any pets and residents of your home
  • Quick fixes that DO NOT last (because the pipes themselves are not repaired)

Instead of using these harsh chemicals, it is best to call a plumber. With an experienced professional handling your invaded sewer lines, you will have a more effective repair that is certain to last longer than any home remedy. Below are the benefits of calling in a plumber to handle your pipeline problems.

  • You will get someone who knows what they’re doing. With a professional team, you can rest assured that the job will be done correctly and completely. DIY is good for some home projects, but your underground sewer lines are not a time for trial-and-error. Plumbing experts will ensure the tree roots are removed from your sewer lines and do not return.
  • You won’t have excessive damage to your property or household members. Using chemical tree root removal can be hazardous. It can corrode your pipes, causing even more sewage to spill out and creating more dangerous conditions in your yard. The chemicals themselves can also be harmful to any pets and people living in your home.
  • Your broken pipes will be repaired, preventing tree root intrusion in the future. Chemical methods do not repair your pipelines, meaning the damaged areas are left exposed and can then attract more roots. By hiring professionals, your sewer lines can also be repaired, preventing any future root intrusion.

Though some people prefer DIY, tree roots in your pipelines is not the time to try to fix it yourself. Many commercial chemicals can be very harmful, and they may kill your tree roots but they certainly won’t patch your pipes. Because of this, it is best to always call in a professional for any roots in your sewer lines. Professionals are able to get the job done safely and effectively without causing unnecessary damage to your property and its inhabitants.

Can Tree Root Invasion Be Prevented?

You can’t control the roots of the trees that are already on your property, unfortunately. But, there are many things you can consider that will lessen the chance of tree root intrusion into your sewer lines in the future. Here are some of our tips to avoid this problem:

  1. Have all broken pipelines repaired promptly. When cracked and damaged sewer lines are left in place, they attract tree roots because wastes are so nutrient dense. Having the sewer lines repaired quickly will keep tree roots from being attracted to the area.
  2. Plant your landscaping away from any underground sewer lines. If you are planting new trees and shrubbery, be mindful of the location of your sewer lines. If you are not sure where they are, have a company come mark their location. Plant your greenery further from your sewer lines to discourage root intrusion.
  3. Schedule an annual sewer line inspection. Regular inspections of your Northwest Indiana sewer lines can catch any problem before they escalate. This will allow a technician to locate any weak points within the sewer lines before they begin attracting roots. Or, if roots have already entered your pipelines, the technician can find that as well before it escalates into a more complicated issue.

FreeFlow Is Your Top-Tier Sewer Line Expert!

FreeFlow Environmental of Northwest Indiana is a full-service plumbing provider. We offer solutions to repair any sewer line problem, including invasive tree roots! Our technicians are trained and experienced to handle all pipeline problems with ease. If you are concerned that tree roots may be intruding into your sewer lines, now is the time to contact FreeFlow for a camera sewer inspection followed by sewer line repair services. Contact FreeFlow now to break up that toxic relationship between your home sewer lines and your intrusive tree roots!

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